The guidelines of the new Come Follow Me program, state:
“In these latter days, God has restored the priesthood and organized priesthood quorums and the Relief Society to help accomplish His work (see Moses 1:39). So each Sunday when we gather in Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, we gather to discuss and plan how we will accomplish His work. That is why these meetings need to be more than classes. They are also opportunities to counsel about the work of salvation, learn together from the teachings of Church leaders about that work, and organize to accomplish it. These changes to our Sunday meetings will help us fulfill these purposes.”
The phrase that sticks out to me is “these meetings need to be more than classes.” If you’re like me, you’ve been a little frustrated with Sunday lessons for a while. I’ve heard from others that they are not feeling edified enough after a lesson. We all fall into ruts, but with this new schedule we can take on Elder Bednar’s challenge and catch the vision.
During the 2014 Mission President’s MTC training, Elder Bednar asked “if they as individuals and as a Church will choose to keep pace with the Lord’s hastening. Or will we insist on doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are accustomed to or comfortable with?” We all have a responsibility to prepare ourselves to follow the Lord in hastening the work.
Women have a hard time on Sundays. They just do. Either we are dealing with a fussy baby, standing outside the Nursery door, being interrupted by messy diapers or stubborn children, or we are teaching or substituting in Primary. For years, I hated going to church because it was so exhausting to hide my anger and frustrations underneath my Sunday smile. More and more men are stepping in, but they aren’t always available themselves. A lot is still on a woman’s shoulders during those three hours of church. How can women receive that spiritual edification on Sundays?
If we are going to step up and stay up with the hastening of the work, we need to re-prioritize and do something different than we have been doing. The idea behind Come Follow Me can help us do that. And it is our responsibility to catch the vision of it. Elder Bednar gave three principles during that training meeting that hallmark this new Come Follow Me program:
- Prepare to Learn
- Interact to Edify
- Invite to Act
Prepare to Learn
How do we prepare to learn? Relief Society presidents need to make available a lesson schedule and invite the sisters to come to class prepared for discussion.
We’ve attempted this in the past while studying the prophets. If it hasn’t worked as well as you’d like, try different things to work toward a better result. One suggestion on the Come Follow Me page is to sit in a circle. This puts everyone on the front row and instantly into an active position.
Interact to Edify
We are a lay church and not all of us are professional teachers. Besides that, we range in understanding of the gospel. But one very defined aspect of this new program is that teachers are now to become facilitators. They aren’t expected to know everything or take over the lesson with their thoughts, their ideas, or their set course.
As facilitators, the teacher is to urge discussion and allow for the lesson to wander amongst the experiences of the classroom. The only thing the teacher has to worry about is that dialogue stays focused on gospel edification so that the spirit can flood the room.
Invite to Act
When the spirit teaches, He always motivates. When we are full of the spirit, we always want to testify, seek, act and improve. As we prepare to be edified, we can challenge ourselves. As we prepare to facilitate, we can strive to bring the spirit into the lesson to motivate us all to action.
Catch the Vision
With this new schedule the church has introduced, I feel this is a wake-up call to “Catch the Vision.” I love that phrase. Too many of us like to do what’s comfortable, easy, or reliable. Few of us like to try something new and untried. But personal revelation is all about catching the vision. As I have studied the early sisters of the church, Relief Society thrived on those sisters who caught the vision and listened to that inspiration that motivated them to action.
I believe this program is inspired. We have LDS Library on our devices, that allows us to read our new manuals–General Conference talks every six months–highlight the points that touch us, and even write notes to ourselves when we receive that unique inspiration.
Until next General Conference, the fourth-week discussion will be on the Sabbath. This period of study can give us an in-depth understanding of this sacred day as we seek to be edified by the Holy Ghost. In my personal study of the Sabbath, I have found mind-blowing connections between the Sabbath and the temple. Each of us has the responsibility to share what we learn, through our own experiences and study. I, personally, am eager to listen to what others have learned along their journey of scripture study.
If we want to catch the vision of this new schedule of classes, we need to let the spirit carry us. Our Relief Society lessons must be flooded with the spirit to allow inspiration and power to flow from sister to sister. And not just sisters who are able to sit in Relief Society class, but those sisters serving in the Primary and Young Women’s. How do we share the spirit with them? New ideas generated and tried can help us reach all of our beloved sisters so that they also will have the opportunity to be filled by the only reservoir that matters–the Holy Ghost.
How can Relief Society presidents catch the vision? They need to listen carefully to the training. The church gives us the basics, but it also encourages us to seek inspiration in our callings. A good Relief Society president is going to experiment until she hits on what works in her ward. Tradition, rote teaching, and passiveness will not do anymore. We must all keep up with the hastening of the Lord’s work.
For those who think attending class is all they can do each Sunday, the new challenge for them is to prepare themselves to receive the spirit. By coming to class prepared, we allow the spirit to come faster. After all, we only have 40 minutes. If our personal objective is to feel the spirit, what are we willing to do to make that happen?
If there are too many thoughts shared in class and it’s hard to end the discussion, would it be out of place for someone in the class to offer her home as a place to gather during the week to continue that conversation? Relief Society presidents need to be open to this, and other ideas. If it benefits even just a few sisters, it’s worth it. It’s wise to have a member of the presidency there to just keep things on the up and up, but sisters need to have this kind of freedom to gather, talk about spiritual things, and feel the spirit as often as possible.
Living in the last days, we are bombarded with way too many things. This new schedule, and the ideas surrounding it allow sisters to offer service to one another in unique ways, not seen since the early days of the church.
Receiving the spirit in each sister’s life is the Number 1 objective. How will you and your Relief Society hasten the work in order to catch the vision of the Come Follow Me program?