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The Spiritual Act of Sustaining New Leaders

Embrace the sacred act of sustaining new leaders within the Church. This unity in faith reflects commitment to divine guidance, respecting God-appointed transitions. Support leaders through active participation and harmonious collaboration, fostering a resilient, loving community.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this week a new apostle was called, Elder Patrick Kearon, who has replaced the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles created by the death of Elder M. Russell Ballard. While we won’t officially sustain Elder Kearon until our next conference, we can spiritually sustain him immediately as he steps into this holy calling. Sustaining new leaders is not merely a procedural formality; it’s a profound act of faith and unity. This concept finds its roots in scriptural teachings and the counsel of modern prophets.

The Bible offers foundational guidance on leadership transitions. For instance, Moses’ succession by Joshua, as described in Deuteronomy 34:9, serves as an exemplary model. Joshua, endowed with wisdom through Moses’ blessing, was not only accepted but revered by the Israelites. This passage highlights the significance of a God-ordained transfer of authority, ensuring continuity and stability within the community. Similarly, the New Testament provides insights into the apostolic practice of selecting leaders. In Acts 1:24-26, the apostles’ prayerful approach to choosing Judas’ successor underscores the early church’s commitment to divine guidance in leadership matters. These examples set a precedent for how we, as modern believers, should approach and respect the process of sustaining new leaders.

The Book of Mormon further enriches our understanding of this principle. Nephi’s example of humility and obedience, as found in 1 Nephi 2:22, demonstrates the importance of faithfully following righteous leadership. This attitude fosters a culture of respect and support for leaders, both old and new. Additionally, Alma’s seamless transition to leadership (Alma 16:13-15) exemplifies the smooth succession and the congregation’s unified support in times of change. These narratives from the Book of Mormon not only reinforce the concept of sustaining new leaders but also illustrate the blessings that follow when a community unites behind its appointed leaders.

Modern prophets and apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provide contemporary insights into this practice. President Russell M. Nelson, in a general conference address, highlighted the divinely appointed nature of Church leaders and emphasized the members’ sacred duty to sustain them (Ensign, May 2018). This teaching reaffirms the belief that leaders are called by God and that sustaining them is part of our covenant with Him. Similarly, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf discussed the crucial role of unity in sustaining leaders. In his address (LDS General Conference, April 2008), he noted that such unity is not merely organizational but a reflection of our commitment to Jesus Christ and His gospel. These teachings from current Church leaders provide a modern context for this ancient practice, reminding us of its ongoing relevance and spiritual significance.

On a personal level, sustaining new leaders involves both faith and action. It requires faith in the Lord’s wisdom and trust in His governance of the Church. This faith is manifested through active support, such as participating in church activities, attending meetings, and upholding the decisions made by leaders. Personal commitment also entails a willingness to adapt to new styles of leadership and to offer our unique skills and talents in support of the leaders’ vision. By doing so, we not only sustain our leaders but also contribute to the overall strength and unity of our church community.

As a congregation, sustaining new leaders is a collective endeavor. It involves embracing diversity within leadership, recognizing that each leader brings unique talents and perspectives that can enrich the church. Harmonious collaboration under new leadership is crucial for building a resilient and unified community. This means actively engaging in church programs, supporting initiatives introduced by new leaders, and fostering an environment of mutual respect and cooperation. Collective responsibility also entails being patient and understanding as leaders adjust to their roles, offering constructive feedback, and working together to overcome challenges.

Transition periods can sometimes give rise to concerns or uncertainties. In such instances, open and respectful communication is key. Directly addressing any issues with our local leaders, such as our bishops or stake presidents, can lead to greater understanding and resolution. Additionally, seeking guidance through prayer and scripture study can provide comfort and direction during these transitions. We should pray for the Holy Ghost to confirm to our souls this new change, and if we ask, with a sincere heart, the truth will be manifest to us. This approach ensures that concerns are handled in a spirit of love and unity, maintaining the harmony and strength of the congregation.

Finally, sustaining new leaders is an ongoing process of adaptation and learning. Being open to new ideas and approaches not only facilitates personal growth but also contributes to the vibrancy and dynamism of the church. Patience and understanding are essential, as leaders, like all of us, are human and may need time to grow into their roles. No one is perfect, and we shouldn’t spend our time identifying mortal imperfections, but those things which are clearly divine in their origin. By embracing continuous learning and adaptability, we can ensure that our support for new leaders remains robust and effective, thus strengthening our community and furthering our collective mission as followers of Christ.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sustaining new leaders is more than a formality; it’s a covenant action. It represents our collective commitment to follow Christ and the voice of His servants, which is the same. If is a commitment to uphold His teachings and work together in harmony. Through sustaining new leaders, we demonstrate our faith in the Lord’s plan and our willingness to support and uplift one another in our spiritual journey. This unity and support are what make us a covenant people, dedicated to building the kingdom of God on Earth.

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