The Leadership Skills The Savior Taught the Nephites and Lamanites

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” — C. S. Lewis


Jesus’ long-anticipated appearance to the righteous Nephites and Lamanites introduces several leadership patterns that emphasize how we can focus our efforts more specifically on the needs of the one. Below is one example of a pattern, with five parts: 1) Testify Boldly, 2) Remember Those We Serve, 3) Love Those We Serve, 4) Remain Flexible, and 5) Seek Those Who are Missing.


Part One: Testify Boldly

In 3 Nephi 11:10–11, the Savior declares: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.” Jesus states boldly that He is, in fact, the “Light of the World,” He who has been prophesied of from the beginning. The people of Bountiful know, unequivocally, that God lives.

Leadership Lesson: Do we, in our leadership efforts and responsi- bilities, declare boldly and without apology at every opportunity that we know that God does, in fact, live, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, He whom we all look to and look for with great anticipation? Do we recognize that we are representing His name in all our service?


Part Two: Remember Those We Serve

In verse twelve of that same chapter, those present at Jesus’ appear- ance then fall “to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.” Their recollection of those many years of prophecy underscores a critical element of leadership—that the God of Heaven knows them, that he hasn’t forgotten them. They know that they are known.

Leadership Lesson: Do we, in our leadership responsibilities, remember those we serve? Do we truly get to know them and their families? Do we know what their challenges are? Do we know what brings them joy? Do we remember that they are daughters and sons of Heavenly Parents, just as we are, and do we serve them accordingly? Do we understand their capabilities and tap into their unique abilities to contribute?

Leadership in the kingdom requires we seek those who are miss- ing and that we welcome those who don’t fit an exact mold. Each one has an ability to contribute, and each one is needed.



Part Three: Love Those We Serve

Jesus then invites them to “arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14). Each person then, as noted above, has a “one by one” experience with the Savior. They learn the depth of His love for them, as unique individuals, is penetrating, consuming, and overwhelming.

Leadership Lesson: Do we, in our leadership responsibilities, truly love those we serve? Do we pray for them? Do we serve them? When they are in crisis, do we feel their pain? When they experience joy, do we share in that joy? Do we help them understand their individual uniqueness matters? Do we extend the hand of friendship when it is convenient and when it is not?

Each of us, at some point in our lives, encounters difficulty and discouragement, where we feel we are riding our own little pink bike. Some have life-long struggles with particular issues. A leader’s ability to recognize these individual needs and attend to them builds trust and confidence in the leader’s ability to serve everyone.


Part Four: Remain Flexible

At the conclusion of what must have been a long but transcendent day, the Savior is ready to ascend back to the presence of His Father. He invites all who were with him to return to their homes, and to “ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.

But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.” But the people were not ready to have Him leave. They had experienced something remarkable and didn’t want the experience to end. Jesus then “cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.” Jesus had an agenda. He had responsibilities to fulfill. But He recognized His greatest responsibility in that moment was to attend to the needs of the one. He therefore responds: “Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you” (3 Nephi 17: 3–6).

Jesus stays, and what follows is one of the most remarkable vignettes in all recorded scripture as He prays for the people, heals their sick, and blesses their children—again, one by one. Angels come and minister as the children are encircled by fire, while the multitude witnesses this event and is overcome. Jesus’ compassion is so deep and so profound, He weeps in response to the experience. Words are inadequate to describe the magnificence of this event, which, initially, was not on the schedule.


Part Five: Seek Those Who Are Missing

After Jesus beholds the multitude and determines to stay and bless them further, He asks: “Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them.” (3 Nephi 17:7). His immediate invitation to those who had experienced the marvelous events of that day is for them to go find others who were not there, but who also might need His healing influence, and to bring them to Him.

Leadership Lesson: Do we, in our leadership and ministering efforts, seek those who are missing? Do we look beyond our comfort- able circles, beyond those who naturally fit in to seek out and include those who, for whatever reason, are not always with us, those who are “afflicted in any manner”?

Are we willing to go to the desert to find the one who is lost? Are we willing to travel the rough roads, to invest in an arduous, steep climb in order to serve the one?


One by one leadership requires us to be shepherds by following the example of the Good Shepherd. President Spencer W. Kimball noted, “Jesus said several times, ‘Come, follow me.’ His was a pro- gram of ‘do what I do’ . . . He walked and worked with those he was to serve. His was not a long-distance leadership. He was not afraid of close friendships; he was not afraid that proximity to him would dis- appoint his followers. The leaven of true leadership cannot lift others unless we are with and serve those to be led.”


Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin reminded us, “This instruction [to seek after the one] applies to all who follow Him. We are commanded to seek out those who are lost. We are to be our brother’s keeper. We cannot neglect this commission given by our Savior. We must be concerned for the one.” 

This is how Jesus loves us. This is how He leads us. He sets the pattern and expects us to follow. This is how we are to love and lead those we serve.


The following was taken from the book Learning Leadership from the Scriptures currently available on