- There are times in the lives of all of us when we must reach out to our bishop or his counselors for help. Perhaps we need inspired counsel and direction to help with our families or our occupations. Perhaps we seek increased understanding of the gospel or the duties of our callings. We may need temporal assistance in a time of stress. We may even reach out for discipline to assist us in getting back on the path of growth. Always we benefit from their stalwart examples. Thank heaven for faithful and inspired bishops and branch presidents and their counselors!
He discusses several responsibilities that the Bishop has in his divine calling.
- As the president of the Aaronic Priesthood, he personally oversees the programs and activities of the young men and young women in the ward.
- As the presiding high priest, the bishop gives direction to all quorums, auxiliaries, activities, and programs in the ward.
- The bishopric is also responsible for monitoring the Church service time of all ward members serving under their direction.
- The bishopric (or branch presidency) is also in charge of unit finances.
- The bishop is the judge and the shepherd who has the power of discernment and the right to revelation and inspiration for the guidance of the flock.
- A bishop needs to be a skillful delegator, or he will be crushed under the burden of his responsibilities or frustrated at seeing so many of them unfilled.
He then discusses what each of us can do as members of the ward to lighten the load that is upon the Bishop's shoulders.
- How do we help? To lighten the load of the bishopric, auxiliary presidencies and Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies and group leaders need to exercise initiative and fully function in the great responsibilities of their callings. Bishops are responsible to call; they should not be required to beg or push. All of us should accept the callings we are given and serve in all diligence.
He speaks about providing for our own temporal and spiritual needs. Although the Bishop has the ability to help, we should seek out family members first for assistance.
- Each of us should do all that we can, in the spirit of gospel self-reliance, to provide for ourselves and our families in a temporal and a spiritual way. Then, if it is necessary to reach out for help, we know we have first done all that we can. This includes helping the members of our immediate and extended families to the maximum extent possible so that the bishop is not faced with burdens that should be handled in the first instance by the individual or by the extended family.
The Bishop's time is valuable ad should not be wasted on trivial things. Others in the ward can help us, we just need to reach out to them and they will be able to help us handle many of our problems.
- Another way to help our busy bishops and their counselors is to be careful not to occupy their time with matters that others can handle. If we need an address or a phone number or help with some other routine task, we should not call a member of the bishopric. Let us reserve their time for the heavy responsibilities that are uniquely theirs. Let us call on others for the things others can handle.
Employment requirements at times will take priority to church responsibilities. We should be mindful of this and not reach out to our leaders at their places of employment.
- When contacting our local leaders is necessary, we should remember that they have employment responsibilities too. Don’t contact them at their place of work unless there is a true emergency. Let us be careful not to put our leaders’ employment in jeopardy.
Finally, he asks that each member respect the Bishop's family time. Monday nights are reserved for Family Home Evening and that includes the Bishop. We should hold our issues until another time if possible.
- We should remember that our leaders are also husbands and fathers. They are bishops or counselors for a season, but they will never be released from their family responsibilities, which are for eternity. Our leaders need time to perform their family responsibilities also, and our thoughtful consideration will help.
The Bishop of my ward is such an amazing man. I have been touched so many times by his goodness and friendship. I believe he is truly a man of God. I attended a Priesthood Leadership meeting several years back and heard Elder Brough speak about the calling of the Bishop. He committed each of us that day to always seek out what we can do to take responsibilities from the Bishop and not add to his burden. I have followed that counsel since that day and continue to always seek for ways to make the Bishop's live easier. I would encourage you to do the same.