In January 2018, Sunday meetings for Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and Relief Societies will change. These changes involve the materials we use—the Teachings of Presidents of the Church series will be replaced with a greater emphasis on learning from general conference messages, counseling together, and studying special topics selected by our general leaders.
But the most meaningful change has to do with how we use these materials to accomplish the true purposes of our Sunday meetings.
The Purposes of Our Meetings
God has organized His covenant sons and daughters into priesthood quorums and Relief Societies to help accomplish His work. Something powerful happens when we gather under the direction of those holding priesthood keys. So while gospel instruction is important, Sunday priesthood and Relief Society meetings are more than classes. They are also working meetings where we learn together from general conference messages, counsel about the work of salvation, and organize to accomplish the work. The changes coming in 2018 will help us fulfill these purposes.
Questions and Answers
The new materials may look like a curriculum, but they are also a catalyst for Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and Relief Societies to increase their participation in God’s work and in meeting local needs. This change provides a forum for identifying, counseling about, and meeting those needs.
Starting in November 2017, general conference issues of the Liahona and Ensign will include materials to be used in Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society Sunday meetings. Two monthly meetings will focus on conference messages, and leaders and teachers will be given ideas for helping members discuss and apply those messages. First Sundays will be council meetings, in which members counsel together about local responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges in doing the Lord's work. Fourth Sundays will focus on studying a topic selected by the General Authorities and General Auxiliary Presidencies of the Church.
A council meeting is not a lesson. Rather, it is a chance for each quorum, group, or Relief Society to seek revelation about the responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges they face in doing the work of the Lord. During council meetings, all are invited to contribute to the discussion led by a presidency member or group leader. These meetings should lead to action, as guided by the Spirit, including individual and group plans to do something outside of the meeting to accomplish the Lord’s work.
Possible topics for first-Sunday council meetings include how to improve communication with family members; increase unity in a quorum, group, or Relief Society; serve in the community; and mentor youth in the ward or branch. More suggestions will be included in the November 2017 general conference issues of the Liahona and Ensign. In Sunday meetings held later in the month, the quorum, group, or Relief Society will follow up on their impressions and actions.
Although the topics and materials of Come, Follow Me—For Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society Meetings are different from those of Come, Follow Me for youth, the teaching and learning approach is the same. For more information about gospel learning and teaching, see Teaching in the Savior’s Way at teaching.lds.org.
Your experience will be richer if you read the general conference messages and bring them to your Sunday meetings. You can access the messages digitally at conference.lds.org and on the Gospel Library app or by subscribing to the Liahona or Ensign (see store.lds.org).
General conference messages are available in many languages at conference.lds.org and on the Gospel Library app, and curriculum materials will be available at ComeFollowMe.lds.org. If your language doesn’t receive the new curriculum materials either online or in a magazine, see Instructions for Curriculum, 2018 for additional information.
You will begin to study the October 2017 general conference messages in January 2018. After that, your local leaders will decide when to begin using messages from the next conference—likely in May and November of each year.
Your local leaders counsel together about which conference messages will best meet the needs of your quorum, group, or Relief Society. A high priests group, elders quorum, and Relief Society in the same ward or branch might study different messages in order to meet different needs.