I've said it before, the new Church Handbook of Instructions is GENIUS! Now it's time to make a simple list of essential changes to programs to aid you in your leadership training events.
Standing activities committees have been eliminated. Activities are instead planned by the ward council and then assignments are delegated to members/quorums/auxiliaries. If a meeting is for just one group (like Young Women or Primary) the leaders of that group carry out the activity after discussion with the ward council and description of a need.
In short, the LDS approach to activity planning has completely changed. Instead of a requirement to do x number of meetings per year, leaders now determine a need through discussion in ward council and THEN plan an activity to fill that need. If you're doing it right, activity bloat can be eliminated in your area.
"A member of a class presidency conducts" Sunday Opening Exercises, not just the Laurel president.
"Young women who will reach age 12 in the coming year are also invited to attend [New Beginnings] with their parents." "Class presidencies plan the [New Beginnings] program under the direction of the Young Women presidency. ... A member of the Laurel class presidency may conduct."
Standards Night, New Beginnings, and Young Women in Excellence are "usually" held during Mutual. They "may" be held at the Stake level.
Standards Nights "may be held on a class, ward, multiward, or stake level ... may include any combination of Young Women age-groups[,] mothers, fathers, mothers and fathers together, and young men." Standards nights can be held any time during the year on an as-needed basis. Standards nights are held at least annually.
Bishop's Youth Discussions
Bishop's Youth Discussions are "held occasionally" during "Mutual, on Sunday during the time for quorum meetings and Young Women classes, or at another time that does not put undue burden on families."
Fundraising instructions have been clarified: "If the ward budget does not have sufficient funds to pay for an annual Young Women camp or similar activity, leaders may ask participants to pay for part or all of it. If funds from participants are not sufficient, the bishop may authorize one group fund-raising activity each year that complies with the guidelines in 13.6.8."
Young Women Secretaries
The Young Women secretary uses the Personal Progress Tracking Sheet to track personal progress. She also helps prepare an annual budget.
Personal Progress Leaders
Please note, Personal Progress leaders and specialists are NOT mentioned in the handbook. That isn't a standard position in YW leadership. YW presidents, counselors, advisers, and secretaries track and encourage the Personal Progress program.
Young Women Advisers
This role has changed a lot: "They help the Young Women presidency and class presidencies plan and carry out activities, including Mutual. They may teach Sunday lessons. They also may help teach leadership skills to class presidencies. They may help record the progress of individual young women in the Personal Progress program."
Young Women Presidency
"They often teach lessons in Sunday classes, though they may share this responsibility with Young Women advisers."
Stake Young Women
"Youth should be included as much as possible in planning and carrying out activities such as youth conferences, dances, devotionals, and multistake events."
"The stake presidency may assign stake members to serve temporarily as Young Women specialists, helping plan and carry out stake activities or programs. Specialists may be assigned for such activities as Young Women camp, stake and multistake events, and sports. They serve under the direction of the stake Young Women presidency."
(There are no more permanent YW sports positions.)
Stake YW leaders "plan and conduct one stake auxiliary leadership meeting each year. If local circumstances and travel time do not place undue burdens on leaders, the stake presidency may authorize a second meeting each year. Each organization schedules its own meeting unless the stake presidency decides to combine all meetings into the same time and place."
Transitioning to Relief Society
(I've never served in a Primary leadership position and do not know the program well. If you know of more changes, please comment below or email me.)
Sunday Primary Meetings
The new schedule is outlined in Section 11.4 of the Handbook.
"Children in the nursery stay in their nursery class for the entire time, as outlined in the nursery manual, Behold Your Little Ones. The other children attend two sessions. In one session, children meet together for 50 minutes for sharing time. In the other session, they divide into smaller classes for 40-minute lessons taught by their Primary teachers.
"The children and teachers who attend sharing time and classes have a 10-minute break between the two sessions. During this break, they prepare for the next session. Children may use the restroom or get a drink of water. Teachers supervise the children throughout the break."
Sample Primary Sunday Schedule
9:00 AM - Sacrament Meeting
10:20 AM - Junior Primary goes to CTR & Sunbeam classes; Senior Primary goes to Sharing Time (including talks/prayers/scripture/music time/lesson)
11:00 AM - Junior Primary has 10-minute break
11:10 AM - Senior Primary has 10-minute break; Junior Primary begins Sharing Time (including talks/prayers/scripture/music time/lesson)
11:20 AM - Senior Primary goes to classes (Valiant 8-11, etc)
12:00 PM - Dismiss.
Quarterly Primary Activities
"Activity days are held no more than twice each month."
The duties of counselors are no longer separated into Education and Enrichment. Counselors are now known as first and second counselors only.
All members of the presidency work to plan Sunday meetings and other meetings. They share responsibilities as outlined in section 9.2.2
One counselor is assigned to oversee efforts with young, single Relief Society sisters.
Conducting Relief Society Meetings
"A member of the Relief Society presidency conducts Sunday meetings. Each meeting begins with a welcome by a member of the presidency, a hymn, a prayer, and brief announcements about opportunities to serve, upcoming events, illnesses, and other appropriate information. Maximum time is reserved for a gospel lesson. The meeting closes with a hymn and a prayer."
(Note, the secretary is not a member of the RS presidency. She does not conduct meetings or teach lessons.)
5-minute Music Period
Eliminated. No mention is made of this in the handbook, but the statement "[m]aximum time is reserved for a gospel lesson" is the new directive.
Teaching on the First Sunday
"A member of the ward Relief Society presidency teaches on the first Sunday. ... Time may be given for sisters to share their testimonies [during the first Sunday Relief Society lesson]."
(Note, the secretary is not a member of the RS presidency. She does not conduct meetings or teach lessons.)
Additional Relief Society Meetings
Additional Relief Society Meetings "are usually held at a time other than on Sunday or on Monday evening. They are generally held monthly, but the Relief Society presidency may recommend that they be held more often or less often. Efforts should be made to meet at least quarterly."
"To supplement the instruction in Sunday meetings, Relief Society sisters may participate in additional meetings. These may include service, classes, projects, conferences, and workshops. In these meetings, sisters learn and accomplish the charitable and practical responsibilities of the Relief Society. They learn and practice skills that will help them increase their faith and personal righteousness, strengthen their families and make their homes centers of spiritual strength, and help those in need. They learn and apply principles of provident living and spiritual and temporal self-reliance. They also increase in sisterhood and unity as they teach one another and serve together. ... Sisters should not be made to feel that attendance at these meetings is mandatory."
"Although the Relief Society president oversees the meetings, she does not need to attend all of them. However, at least one member of the Relief Society presidency should be in attendance at every meeting."
In other words, meetings are planned by the Relief Society president and her counselors. They may carry out the meetings themselves or delegate assignments to others. A member of the RS presidency attends each meeting.
Group Visiting Teaching
Visiting Teaching Reporting
"The Relief Society president gives the bishop a monthly visiting teaching report. Each report includes a list of those who were not contacted."
"In addition, presidency members meet with visiting teachers regularly to discuss sisters’ spiritual and temporal welfare and to make plans to help those in need."
Visiting Teaching Interviews
See above. (The annual interview requirement has been eliminated in favor of "regular" discussions. I would not say this has to be an in-person meeting myself, but perhaps more clarification will come at the next training meeting. ~Jenny)
Annual Visiting Teaching Conferences/Workshops
Adapting Visiting Teaching to Local Needs
"In a ward with limited resources, leaders may adapt visiting teaching to ensure that sisters with the greatest needs always receive a monthly visit."
"With approval from the bishop, Melchizedek Priesthood leaders and Relief Society leaders may temporarily assign only home teachers or only visiting teachers to certain families. In some cases, leaders may assign home teachers to visit a family one month and assign visiting teachers to visit Relief Society members in that family the next month."
"With approval from the mission president, leaders may consider asking full-time sister missionaries to help with visiting teaching on a limited basis. The mission president communicates this approval to the stake president, who informs bishops. When such approval is given, full-time missionaries are assigned primarily to visit new members, part-member families, and less-active members."
"The Relief Society presidency assigns visiting teachers to each young single adult sister. If a young single adult sister lives with her parents, the Relief Society presidency determines whether she should have her own visiting teachers or if her mother’s visiting teachers should visit her as well."
Literacy is now a part of Welfare and Compassionate Service instead of its own section. "Each ward implements literacy efforts according to its needs and resources."
Section 9.7 is completely new and gives some practical advice on helping younger women receive the blessings of Relief Society. A corresponding section for helping YW transition to Relief Society does NOT exist in the Young Women section of the Handbook. I take that to mean that the primary responsibility for working with transitioning women falls on the Relief Society.
Among other things, "The Relief Society president may visit Young Women classes and present a preview of Relief Society. Young Women and Relief Society sisters may occasionally plan a Relief Society meeting or activity together. When authorized by the stake president and when space permits, Young Women and Relief Society opening exercises may be combined one Sunday each month. ... Young Relief Society sisters may be asked to assist individual young women who need support in completing Personal Progress and remaining active in the Church. ... If sufficient numbers of young single adult sisters reside in a ward, the bishop may authorize the organization of a separate Relief Society class for Sunday lessons and occasional activities."
Stake Relief Society Meetings
The two meeting per year requirement has been lifted: "Under the direction of the stake presidency, they may plan and carry out one or two stake Relief Society meetings each year for all Relief Society sisters in the stake. These meetings may include service, classes, projects, conferences, and workshops. One of them may be held in conjunction with the general Relief Society meeting. The stake Relief Society presidency may form committees to help as needed."
A Note to All Secretaries
The new handbook clarifies the role of secretary as an assistant to a presidency. A secretary is not a member of a presidency -- never has been. Secretaries are vital assistants to the presidency. She helps them with clerical duties and other assignments as needed or outlined in the Church Handbook of Instructions.
Secretaries do not teach or conduct lessons. The exception for this is when a stake secretary trains ward or branch secretaries, or when a ward/branch secretary trains class secretaries.
Remember, whenever a meeting requires the attendance of a presidency, the secretary is not included unless specifically mentioned.
Quarterly Teacher Improvement Meetings
I can't help much here -- if you can help with some of these changes, please, please, please comment below!!!!
Did I miss something?
Please post what I've missed below, and I'll add your information to the main article. Together we'll build a great training resource for leaders!
- Activity Day Leaders
- Bishop/Branch Presidency
- Activities Directors
- Camp/Youth Conference Director
- Family History Specialists
- Emergency Preparedness Specialist
- Employment Specialists
- Melchizedek Priesthood Leaders
- Missionaries (ward/stake)
- Literacy Specialist
- Music Director/Leader
- Primary Presidency
- Relief Society Presidency
- Scout Leaders
- Secretary - all
- Sunday School Presidency
- Teacher (adults)
- Teacher (youth/children)
- Visiting Teaching Leader
- Young Men Presidency
- Young Women Leaders