Mac’s Message #6: View Your Calling as a Long-Term Commitment

 

Mac McIntire

Mac McIntire

 

Perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses in the Aaronic Priesthood program is the assumption (or desire) by some Young Men adult leaders that their calling is only temporary. A man who believes he will only be in his position a short time typically does not commit to run the Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting programs as designed. He also fails to become proficiently trained in his position, and he avoids getting to know the boys sufficiently enough to become a major influence in their lives.

You should not equate a call as an adviser in the Aaronic Priesthood or as a Scout Leader with the thought of limited service. The Spirit will not work with you if you are negative or approach your calling with the wrong motivation. There is no better calling in the Church than that of a Young Men leader. Repeatedly the prophets have counseled bishops to call the best brethren in a ward as Young Men leaders. Hopefully you are committed to serve where the Lord has called you to serve.

Former Young Men General President Charles W. Dahlquist referred to Elder Vaughn Featherstone’s well-known statement that to become effective, Young Men leaders need four things: testimony, training, tenure, and time. Regarding tenure in your Aaronic Priesthood position, Brother Dahlquist spelled it T-E-N-Y-E-A-R. That’s how long he said it takes before you can truly magnify your calling and embrace the mantle of a Scout and priesthood leader. Imagine the influence you could have in creating wonderful future missionaries, fathers, husbands, and priesthood leaders if you planned on serving faithfully in your position for ten years.

I hope you view your calling as a long-term commitment. When you approach your calling with that perspective it makes sense to obtain as much Scouting training as possible, particularly Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, and Wood Badge training. When you have a long-term view you’re more inclined to learn everything you can about the Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood programs. It motivates you to search the scriptures that deal with the priesthood, to immerse yourself in personally fulfilling your Duty to God, and to thoroughly study the handbook for Scout, Varsity, or Venturing leaders. When you are a dedicated leader you willingly purchase the Scout uniform because you will wear it for many years to come.

I testify that your boys will become committed to the Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting programs to the extent they believe you are committed to these programs.

 Take a Moment to Reflect

  • How strongly are you committed to the Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting programs?
  • Is there tangible proof of your commitment, such as you wearing a Scout uniform and acquiring the necessary manuals for your priesthood and Scouting responsibilities?
  • Are you truly magnifying your calling in the Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting programs?
  • If you knew you had ten more years before you’d be released from your Young Men or Scouting calling, what would you do differently?

 

Turn Your Reflection Into Action

  • What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?

 

“And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the [young men] upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.”(Jacob 1:19).

-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program.  He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The opinions and viewpoints expressed in this blog are the sole reflection of the author. 

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  1. I agree with the 10year comment. I served for 11years in the YM program. It took 8-10years to really see the big picture.

  2. Brenden Taylor says:

    And when the release does come, do not for a moment think there is no longer a need for you in Scouting, especially after you have invested time getting trained and retrained, and have developed a testimony of Scouting. If you have grown to love the program as so many do, there is still a place for you in it. In LDS units you need to be called to be Scoutmaster and Cubmaster, but you can continue to volunteer in many other positions without waiting for a calling to it: assistant scoutmaster, assistant den leader, committee member, merit badge counselor, or even on the district committee at large, among others.

    1. Mac says:

      Great point Brenden. When I was released as a Scoutmaster I then became involved in a district position so I could continue in Scouting. I also served for eight years on the staff of our district Mountain Man Rendezvous and at the National Jamboree. It was in these positions that I had association with Scout leaders from all walks of life and different religious affiliations. By serving in Scouting positions outside one’s ward or stake, one gains a greater understanding and appreciation of the value of Scouting and its impact on our communities.

  3. Robert Mortensen says:

    Another fantastic post Bro. Mac!

  4. Mac says:

    I hope everyone who is reading these blog messages is encouraging members of their stake presidencies, bishoprics, stake and ward Young Men presidencies, and other adult Scouting leaders to subscribe to the LDS-BSA Relationships blog and newsletter. Currently there are only 86 people who are receiving these messages regularly. We need to get the word out to those who need these messages the most.

    In my interactions with other LDS Scouting leaders I personally invite them to subscribe to this blog. I hope you will do the same.

    Thanks so much for your participation in this forum. I learn so much from your comments.

  5. Randy Sorensen says:

    Thanks Mac.
    I was wondering if you (or anyone out there) would comment on the role of a bishop and or stake president and how they can effect tenure. They seem to me to be pivotal in the calling and releasing of YM leaders. Also how does inspiration from the Lord fit into this?

    1. Mac says:

      I will let other people respond to your question before I give my opinion, however I will tell you of one of my experiences.

      After I gained a testimony of Scouting (shared in Message #1), I was called as the Scoutmaster of my ward. We ran the program as designed by the BSA. Because we had a quality Scouting program I had 24 boys in my unit, twelve of whom were not members of the Church.

      Two years later our ward boundaries were changed and I was automatically released because I now lived in a different ward. Because the Scoutmaster who replaced me did not run “his” Scouting program the same way I had, the twelve non-member boys dropped out within just a few months. It wasn’t long before the ineffective traditions of past Scouting programs (see Message #5) crept in and the rest of the boys also lost interest in Scouting.

      Sadly the ever-evolving and fluid structure of Church boundaries and Church callings can greatly impact the Scouting program in the Church. This is a great challenge to the Young Men program where the average tenure of a Young Men leader is less than one year.

      I look forward to hearing the comments and suggestions of others regarding Randy’s question.

    2. Mac says:

      Since no one else has replied to your question, I guess I will give you my opinion.

      I would hope bishops would follow the counsel to call the best priesthood brethren in the ward as Young Men leaders, including the Scouting unit leaders. I would hope they would petition the Lord to leave these brethren in their callings for many years. Having said that, as was in my case, things do come up (such as boundary changes or new bishoprics) where new callings and releases are necessary.

      Again, In my opinion, what is needed is for stake presidencies and bishoprics to catch the vision of Scouting in the LDS Church. I believe a strong testimony of Scouting will make stake and ward leaders more hesitant to release faithful Young Men leaders who are magnifying their calling in the YM program and having a righteous influence on the lives of Aaronic Priesthood boys.

  6. John Solomon says:

    I agree with this article wholeheartedly. Regarding 10-year tenure. Absolutely….AS LONG AS the Scouter is onboard with the program. Leaving someone in an Aaronic Priesthood adult support position who continually and completely refuses to engage in the program is torturous and damaging to the youth and their families. Those folks needs to be politely excused from those callings and found a calling that they can progress in.

  7. Scott Fortner says:

    I will be leading a class on the importance of Scout leader training next week in our stake Scout huddle and I will be using references from your blog. Thanks so much!

    1. Mac says:

      That’s great to hear Scott. That’s exactly why these blog messages are being written. And perfect timing! This coming Monday’s blog, Message #7, is on the need to become a trained scout leader. Hopefully there will be some reference material in that blog also you can use. Good luck in your presentation!

  8. Ray Gotsch says:

    I agree that people should take a long term commitment to scouting. But in LDS units we don’t have any control over how long we serve. Our ward has done a pretty good job of keeping the Boy Scout leaders for a long time, but Cubs is a different story. I am the 10th Cubmaster we have had in the last 14 years. Right now I’m worried because our Bishop was just called into the Stake Presidency which means we will be getting a new Bishop soon. Once the new Bishop is called, I want to approach him and explain the importance leaving people in Cub positions for a long time, but I don’t know if that would be appropriate.

    1. Mac says:

      Ray, I’m sure your new bishop would be happy to receive your input on the Cub Scout program in your ward and the need to leave Cub leaders in place. It has been my experience that many priesthood leaders know even less about the Cub Scout program than they do about the Scout, Varsity, and Venturing programs. If you approach your bishop with the proper spirit and through inspiration, I’m sure you will have a meaningful discussion that will help the bishop understand your position. You might also want to show him this blog message and encourage him to subscribe to the LDS-BSA Relationships blog and newsletter.

      I hope others will also respond to your question and give you their opinions.

      1. James Francisco says:

        Mac, My experience has been just the opposite. Bishops
        do not want to hear the thoughts of experienced BSA
        volunteers living in their ward. When the ward that I
        now live in was created, I offered to help the new ward
        charter representative designate get the ward scouting units set up and chartered. The bishop called me in to his
        office and directed me to not only butt out, but not offer advice to any ward scouting leader at any time. Over one
        and a half years later, the ward still does not have adult
        leaders trained or properly registered.

        1. Mac says:

          Wow! How amazingly horrible! Makes one wonder. It’s so sad to hear stories like this. It shows how far we have to go to get Scouting going in the Church the way the Lord wants it, rather than the way a particular bishop may want it.

          1. James, your comment makes me sad, but in some cases it does happen. At times I have seen committee members who are not totally on board with the published guidelines try to do it “their own way”. Most all fail. There is a reason for published guidelines with the national council as well as our church. The published guidelines are tried and true. Many seasoned adult leaders leave the scouting program because they feel they are no longer needed. The older I get the more I value the lessons learned from my elder scout leaders. I am very fortunate to live and serve in a stake/troop that is 2nd to none. For many, that is not the case. Please keep your chin up and consider serving in ypur District. One of the most fulfilling callings in my life has been to serve on the Eagle Scout Board of Review committee.

  9. Mac says:

    Clearly bishops have a right to receive inspiration and call brethren to any calling at any time, but there must be some way we can encourage bishops to leave an adult YM leader in place without hindering the revelatory process. Obviously changes will occur naturally that cause callings and releases — such as ward boundary changes. But I wish there was some way to hang a “do not disturb” sign around the necks of good Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood.

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