Youth Sunday School Outline: How Can I Participate Effectively in Councils in the Church?

Posted by on June 7, 2013 in authority, Changes, leadership, Sunday School Lessons, Young Women Lessons | 9 comments

Meeting room stencil graffitiI don’t normally teach youth Sunday School, but I was asked to sub for three Sundays this month. Already, the Bloggernacle has tackled the tall order to come up with 10 separate lessons on priesthood this month. That is no easy feat. Luckily, the first topic for Sunday School is really useful- we all need to learn how to work together to make the Church a better place. I had main points I wanted to hit. I didn’t use all of my outline because I could tell when the students were mentally “done” and so the last 10 minutes we played improv games. I also used some of the tips here. I started the lesson by asking each student to share something they had done that week that they had never done before.

What is the purpose of Church? Read Moroni 6:5

Discussion: How do councils help the Church fulfill its purpose?

Does change happen in the Church? Can you give examples of this?

The students mentioned the missionary age change and the new Youth Come Follow Me lessons. I agreed and added that these came about because of people in councils addressing concerns in the Church.

I really wanted to empower the students and help them feel that their concerns are important and that they can personally effect change.  So I stated that a lot of times change feels like it comes from the prophet and is revelation coming down to us, but a lot of the times, it starts small and locally.

Read some chapter headings of the Doctrine and Covenants. Almost all of them are “Someone asked the prophet a question, this revelation resulted.” Historically, I mentioned (briefly) the creation of Primary and YW. Because it was seminary graduation that day, we discussed the creation of seminary and how it was started by a stake. Because it was such a great idea, it spread. I emphasized, that in our lay ministry, local people come up with ideas that change the whole Church. And we discussed that.

In order to change things, you need to know what resources are available and if there is already a solution in place. Maybe it’s not a great solution and you can help improve it, but you need to know what’s there. I was going to do a field trip with them and walk the class to the LDS Employment Office at our stake building as well as the Family History Center, but we didn’t have time. I did mention their existence, though. We also talked about how there are people in callings specifically there to address concerns. For example, most stakes have a person in charge of facilities. I let them know who that was and if they thought something about the meetinghouse needed attention, they could tell him. We meet for church at the Oakland Temple grounds and mentioned that Temple Security is the place to go if you see something wrong with the grounds, such as a broken sprinkler. Also the usual stuff: the scoutmaster for scouting issues, the YW leaders for YW issues, etc.

If there isn’t a solution in place, or if the solution is inadequate, bring it up in councilWhat makes a meeting effective? Discuss. Reading D&C 88:122 is a good starting point. As the discussion occurred, I made sure other points were brought out:

  • Good ideas come from everywhere. In a ward council, the Primary President may have a good idea for the YM organization and her idea is worthy, even though that’s not her calling.
  • Good meetings don’t waste time. What can you do to make sure a meeting has a defined purpose? Doesn’t go off on tangents? How would you redirect a meeting to the topic?
  • Are there issues for which bringing up in a council would not be a good idea?

I liked the outline’s suggestion to do a mock ward council. I thought the topics from the outline for the ward council were kind of unimportant and used my own prompts.

  • There is a family without a car and can’t get their teenager to mutual night. What can the ward do to help them? (Ideas: have mutual night closer to their home, maybe walking distance? Set up car pools. Have someone travel with them on public transit or have a group ride bikes up to mutual together.)
  • There is a family where the parents are struggling in finding a job. Can the ward do anything to help? (Ideas: LDS Employment can help with resumes, cover letters, practicing interview process, finding jobs. Is anyone else in the ward in the same field as the parents and can act as mentor? If money is tight, can the ward help with food orders?)
  • There is a kid in Primary who recently has become very disruptive during singing and sharing time and lessons. What sorts of things could be done? (Ideas: does s/he need a friend? Can we invite him/her to weekday activities more? Should an additional teacher be called to that class? Are the lessons/sharing time not age-appropriate and expect too much of the kids?)
  • The YM leaders are concerned about bullying that is happening to one of the young men. What can be done about that?
  • The YM/YW want to do a particular mutual night activity, but it’s not in the budget.

I also asked the teens to suggest their own issues or changes they’d like in the Church, but they weren’t being very talkative.

One topic we didn’t get around to, which is really important, is what do you do if you feel like your idea wasn’t heard/considered? What if asking for the change led nowhere? There are different courses: try again soon, wait some time and try again, fix the problem yourself (if it’s possible), etc.

Did you teach this outline or are you planning on it? What are your ideas?

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9 Comments

  1. TopHat,
    This is terrific. I’ve never taught the youth, and I love this window into how to ask good questions and get them involved. It sounds like a great lesson! I love the focus on proactivity and empowerment.

  2. I’ve heard Clayton Christensen talk a lot about change starting locally — brilliant stuff! Love your overview.

    And: I wish I’d had this as a teenager.

    • Libby, me too! I don’t know if I learned about councils at all except at bishop’s youth committee- and that’s only available as an experience if you have a leadership calling like Laurel president.

      And thanks for the recommendation- I’ll have to look up the Clayton Christensen stuff.

  3. Love it!

  4. I teach Sunday School. This year I moved from 14-15 year-olds (a group of about 8-10 boys and girls) to 12-year-olds. I have four girls in my class. Usually only two attend. This lesson is the bomb! Thanks to this post, my Saturday has instantly become less stressful. God bless you.

    • No problem! I’m working on my lesson for tomorrow now and maybe I’ll post it this next week (if it goes well!) I hope your girls enjoy it!

      • P.S. Four or five times per year I invite someone else to come to class and help address a particular topic in areas where a person has expertise. I typically ask them to take 20-30 minutes or whatever time they feel comfortable taking. The kids seem to like this and it keeps things interesting. (Even though I only teach every other week.) The local missionaries have come twice in the last year, a BYU professor of ancient religion who lives in the ward and is my friend came once, a member of the bishopric came once. I invited Tamu Thomas-Smith of (Sistas in Zion http://www.sistasinzion.com ) to come today to speak about the restoration of preisthood blessings to black members. If her schedule permits, I’ll shift the lesson in that direction. Anyway, I thought I’d mention the “guest teacher” idea because it has been great fun for my classes.

  5. Top Hat this is fantastic. I love love love the mock ward council and the ideas you came up with. Really great stuff.

    • Finding this helped bring me out of my “how the heck am I going to survive June teaching Sunday School” funk. With your ideas as a starter, we had one of my favorite lessons in six years of teaching youth. This week we focused on some of your early points and how to give constructive criticism in councils while planning and after an event (a BIG problem in our ward as no one wants to be negative). Next week we are going to tackle working to find solutions to fellow ward members’ struggles. Couldn’t have done it without you!

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