I have long held that a great elders quorum president is an unsung hero in the church.
The bishop gets lots of praise and thanks, and he deserves it, too. The Relief Society president should be recognized as one of the bishop’s greatest co-workers in his ministry, particularly to the poor, and a wise bishop takes great advantage of that resource.
A good elders quorum president may well have (if he's doing everything he should) a church workload quite similar to the bishop’s, but he gets little recognition for what he does. The elders quorum president – the only other Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the ward with keys – does all his work at the retail level. And yet, he's often seen as "one of the guys" among his own quorum and among others in the ward.
I thought about all of this yesterday as I attended my nephew’s ward for his mission farewell talk. (He was also awesome, by the way – really awesome!) In the third hour, the bishop led the combined elders quorum and high priest group in a discussion of a couple of topics of importance to him, including home teaching. Toward the end of the bishop's comments on home teaching, the elders quorum president stood briefly to remind his quorum he had just redone the home teaching assignments (he’d made the same announcement in opening exercises), and then he did the awesome thing: he bore his testimony of the inspiriation he had received in making these assignments.
I believe (and hope) this happens in the church more often than we realize, that local leaders who are doing their best to honor their covenants and magnify their callings go to the Lord for His help and guidance in the work He’s called them to do. I know I did when I was an elders quorum president and a bishop. And I watch my lovely wife do the same in her present calling in the stake Relief Society presidency. I know that many Primary teachers pray about how to reach one or another of the kids in their classes. I know that youth leaders pray to understand how to approach a particularly surly youth to help soften his heart to the possibility of spiritual influence.
We’ve all heard the occasional story of a calling made out of desperation rather than inspiration. But I believe and hope those are the exceptions. I’ve sat in plenty of corporate personnel meetings in which we’ve tried to decide who should do what job. I’m happy to say my experience in the church is very different as we prayerfully considered who to recommend or who to call.
So, kudos to that elders quorum president, and to all those local leaders who seek to magnify their callings by seeking to know God’s will for them in their service.