16.3 Young Single Adults in Conventional Stakes and Wards
The leadership of the stake presidency is particularly important in the effort to minister to young single adults. Young single adults are highly mobile. They may be unevenly distributed across the wards in the stake, and they may be difficult to locate. Because of these challenges, opportunities for social interaction, gospel learning, and service are often most effective at the stake or multistake level.
In his regular interview with each bishop, the stake president asks for a report on the progress of young single adults in the bishop’s ward.
The stake president assigns one of his counselors to oversee the work with young single adults in the stake. The stake president also assigns a high councilor to assist in this work.
Stake leaders prayerfully consider what programs and activities will best serve the needs of the young single adults in the stake. A variety of options are listed in 16.3.5.
While most young single adults live in conventional wards (many with their parents), priesthood leaders may recommend the organization of a young single adult ward when the circumstances make this desirable (see 16.4).
Stake Young Single Adult Committee
A counselor in the stake presidency presides over the stake young single adult committee. This committee also includes the high councilor assigned to young single adults, a member of the stake Relief Society presidency, a couple called to serve as young single adult advisers, and the young single adult leaders from each ward. If wards do not have young single adult leaders, other worthy young single adults are called to serve on the committee. Normally the committee is organized separately from the stake single adult committee.
The committee meets as needed. Committee members may plan ways to give young single adults opportunities to come together for service, gospel learning, and sociality beyond their wards (see 16.3.5). As they plan young single adult activities, they maintain a focus on spiritual growth and service, not just social experiences.
The committee helps ensure that ward young single adult committees are functioning well in the wards where they are established.
To understand and address the needs of young single adults in the ward, a bishopric member interviews each young single adult at least annually. The bishopric works with the ward council to find meaningful callings for all young single adults. The bishopric may also organize a ward young single adult committee.
A counselor in the bishopric oversees the young single adults in the ward. He receives regular reports from the counselors in the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies who are assigned to work with young single adults in the ward. He may report on specific young single adults in ward council meeting.
Elders Quorum and Relief Society Counselors Assigned to Young Single Adults
The elders quorum president and Relief Society president each assign a counselor to lead out in their organization’s effort to watch over young single adults. These counselors periodically visit with young single adults to provide encouragement and help. They provide the assigned bishopric counselor with information about young single adults based on home teaching and visiting teaching contacts and their own visits. They also report to the elders quorum president or Relief Society president. The elders quorum president and Relief Society president may report on these efforts in ward council meeting.
Young Single Adult Leaders
In a ward with a sufficient number of young single adults, the bishopric may call a young single adult brother and a young single adult sister to serve as young single adult leaders. These leaders report to a counselor in the bishopric. They also serve on the ward young single adult committee if one is formed. They meet with the elders quorum presidency or Relief Society presidency regularly to ensure that home teaching and visiting teaching assignments help address the needs of young single adults. They may be assigned to serve on the stake young single adult committee.
Young Single Adult Advisers
The bishopric may call a worthy married couple as ward young single adult advisers. These advisers report to a counselor in the bishopric. They serve on the ward young single adult committee if one is formed. They may also be assigned to serve on the stake young single adult committee. They help young single adults have opportunities to gather for friendship, service, and gospel learning.
Ward Young Single Adult Committee
In a ward with a significant number of young single adults, the stake president and bishop may feel that a ward young single adult committee is needed. A counselor in the bishopric presides over the committee. Other committee members include the elders quorum and Relief Society counselors assigned to young single adults, the young single adult leaders, and the couple called to serve as young single adult advisers.
This committee meets as needed. Committee members discuss ways to help young single adults participate in service, leadership, gospel learning, and social activities. They also find and fellowship less-active young single adults.
Meetings, Classes, and Activities (Stake and Ward)
Young single adults should be offered a variety of gospel learning, service, cultural, and social activities that can take place at the ward, stake, or multistake level. These activities may include temple visits, priesthood or temple preparation seminars, missionary work, community service, choirs, cultural events, dances, and sports.
Supported by the stake young single adult committee and by ward leaders, the stake presidency establishes meetings, classes, and activities that will best meet the needs of young single adult members. They also determine whether activities should take place at the ward level, the stake level, or some combination of both.
Young single adult activities should comply with the policies and guidelines in chapter 13. Participation in these activities is limited to young single adult members, assigned Church officers, and young single adult nonmembers who are willing to abide by Church standards. A person who is separated from his or her spouse or is seeking a divorce may not participate until the divorce decree has become final according to law.
In planning young single adult activities, ward and stake leaders may consider the following options.
Finding and Inviting
Because many young single adults change residence frequently, the stake may periodically organize activities designed to find and fellowship young single adults in the stake. These activities may be done in connection with efforts of neighboring stakes. Active young single adults are the most valuable resource in such efforts, guided by ward and stake young single adult committees. Institute personnel may also assist at times.
Young Single Adult Service Committees
Young single adults should frequently be called to serve together on service committees. These committees report to a ward or stake leader assigned by the bishopric or by the ward or stake young single adult committee. Local leaders determine the nature of the committees’ service. The service often focuses on Church programs such as welfare, family history, public affairs, missionary work, activation efforts among young single adults, or support for Church facilities or projects. This service may also focus on humanitarian needs locally or elsewhere. Service committees provide opportunities to develop friendships and meet potential marriage partners. They also teach leadership and social skills.
Home Evening Groups
Priesthood leaders may organize one or more home evening groups for young single adults who do not live with their parents and do not have children in their homes. If possible, priesthood leaders appoint a young single adult priesthood holder to lead each group. In stakes with few young single adults, stake leaders may organize home evening groups that cross ward boundaries. Home evening group leaders are accountable to assigned priesthood leaders. These groups are not referred to as families.
Sunday School Classes
Wards with enough young single adults may have a separate Sunday School class for young single adults (see 12.4.2).
Weekday Gospel Study Classes
Young single adults are encouraged to enroll in institute classes. Priesthood leaders work with local institute personnel to establish classes that meet institute standards and meet the needs of young single adults. Young single adults who are not attending school may enroll in institute classes, either in institutes or in classes taught in local meetinghouses by teachers who are called by priesthood leaders. Arrangements for such classes are coordinated between priesthood leaders and institute personnel.
If institute classes are not available, local leaders may contact the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion area office for assistance. As needed, local leaders may organize other group opportunities for weekday gospel study.
Multistake and Area Activities
Multistake and area activities can give young single adults opportunities for social interaction, leadership, and service without leaving the ecclesiastical care of their bishops.
Area Seventies work with stake presidents to establish multistake committees to organize such activities. These Area Seventies work under the direction of a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency. Multistake committees should include young single adult leaders.
Multistake committees should plan activities that are varied, simple, and inexpensive and that allow for ample social interaction. These committees coordinate with young single adult wards and institutes of religion to achieve an appropriate balance of activities and to avoid duplication and scheduling conflicts.
For additional guidelines on organizing these activities, see 13.3.1.
Funding for Activities
Normally, funding for young single adult activities comes from the stake or ward budget. When multistake or area activities are held, the responsible priesthood leader ensures a fair allocation of funding among the stakes.
Funding for activities should be consistent with the policies in 13.2.8. As an exception, when large multistake or area events are held, young single adults may occasionally be asked to pay some costs themselves. However, leaders should ensure that all young single adults have the opportunity to participate without incurring unreasonable personal costs.
Centers for Young Adults
Centers for young adults are authorized in some locations to bring together opportunities for gospel learning, social activities, missionary work, and activation efforts. A center for young adults requires cooperative efforts among stake presidencies, institute personnel, and the mission president, with an agent stake presidency providing overall direction. These leaders may be assisted by an institute of religion student council and stake young single adult committees. Full-time missionaries may participate in missionary work at these centers, often assisted by a married couple who may or may not be missionaries.
Organizations for young single adults, such as an institute of religion advisory council (see Handbook 1, 11.1.3), an institute of religion student council (see Handbook 1, 11.2.2), ward and stake young single adult committees, and young single adult wards and stakes, should avoid duplication and scheduling conflicts when they make plans to use the center. In consultation with institute personnel and other leaders, stake presidents may wish to have these organizations combine for some functions.
A center for young adults may be housed in a meetinghouse, with the agent stake president overseeing the use and scheduling of the building.
Where there is an institute building, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency may request that it be used as a center for young adults. In this case, the institute director continues to serve as the building agent. In counsel with the stake president, the institute director is responsible for institute classes and other uses of the building. Other activities should not disrupt institute classes.
To request authorization to establish a center for young adults, priesthood leaders contact a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency. For more information about centers for young adults, leaders should contact the office of the administrator for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion.