Once you’ve started on the path of discipleship, how do you maintain your momentum? Believe it or not, part of the answer is meetings.
As Nephi and his people organized a new city in the promised land, he consecrated his younger brothers, Jacob and Joseph, to be priests and teachers (2 Nephi 5:26). Their responsibility was clear: they were to remind the people of the commitments they had made and encourage them to fulfill them (Jacob 1:19, Enos 1:22-23, Jarom 1:10-12, Mosiah 6:3).
When Alma organized the church at the waters of Mormon, he not only ordained priests but also appointed one day of the week to “gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God.” In addition to that weekly meeting, he encouraged them to assemble “as often as it was in their power” (Mosiah 18:25).
After Jesus introduced the sacrament to the multitude in Bountiful, He said, “Ye shall meet together oft” (3 Nephi 18:22). And Moroni tells us that the members of the church did just that:
The church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.
And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.Moroni 6:5-6
Why does the Lord want us to meet with other members of the church often?
One reason is because it helps us stay focused. I have found, both at work and at church, that a standing meeting on a regular schedule keeps a project on track and helps us ensure that high priority tasks get completed. Likewise, our weekly participation in church services gives us the opportunity to renew our covenants and refocus our minds on the things that matter most.
Another reason is because we have to spend time together to build relationships with one another. As Douglas D. Holmes has explained:
We are not expected to find or walk the covenant path alone. We need love and support from parents, other family members, friends, and leaders who are also walking the path.
These kinds of relationships take time. Time to be together. Time to laugh, play, learn, and serve together. Time to appreciate each other’s interests and challenges. Time to be open and honest with each other as we strive to be better together. These relationships are one of the primary purposes of gathering as families, quorums, classes, and congregations.“Deep in Our Heart,” General Conference, April 2020
And as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has pointed out, when we can’t gather as often as we’d like, we should find other ways to connect with each other:
Certainly we would watch for our families at church and, as the scripture says, would “speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.” In addition, we would make phone calls, send emails and text messages, even tap out a greeting through one of the many forms of social media available to us. To help address special needs, we might send a scriptural quote or a line from a general conference talk or a [spiritual message] drawn from the wealth of material on LDS.org. In the language of the First Presidency, we would do the best we could in the circumstances we faced with the resources available to us.“Emissaries to the Church,” General Conference, October 2016
Today, I will remember the importance of meeting “oft” with other members of the church, for my own spiritual growth as well as for theirs. I will remember that church meetings serve an important function in helping us follow the path of discipleship. During this time, when participation in church meetings is somewhat limited, I will remember Alma’s guidance to assemble “as often as [is] in [our] power,” and Elder Holland’s encouragement to be creative in the ways I reach out to others.