New Experience

    Answers to Common Questions

    Leaders and Specialists

    What is self-reliance?

    “Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family. As members become self-reliant, they are also better able to serve and care for others” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 6.1.1).

    Where did the self-reliance initiative come from?

    The self-reliance initiative is a First Presidency initiative. The initiative has been in place since 2014. It began outside of North America and is now available worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of people have improved their self-reliance by participating.

    What are self-reliance groups?

    Self-reliance groups combine practical skills with spiritual principles to help people help themselves. Self-reliance groups are usually small, with fewer than 12 people, and are led by a facilitator, not an expert or a teacher. Each self-reliance group focuses on one of four topics: employment, education, small business, or personal finances (check out the materials).

    What are the results?

    Self-reliance groups have immediate and long-term positive impacts both temporally and spiritually. Six months after completion of a self-reliance group, group members report the following:

    • 32% improved their ability to provide the necessities of life for themselves and their families.
    • 56% improved their ability to work directly with the Lord to solve their own problems.
    • 44% kept a budget after finishing the course.
    • 37% increased their savings.
    • 53% decreased their outstanding consumer debt.

    Want to hear their stories? Learn more.

    How do self-reliance groups form?

    Group members may be invited to participate, or they can join a group on their own. Groups often form through a devotional, but they can also form without a devotional. Groups should always form under the direction of local leaders. Group members get together to decide when and where to meet. At least one facilitator is paired with each group.

    How long do groups meet?

    Groups typically meet once a week for 12 weeks. Group meetings are usually between 90 minutes and 2 hours in length. Accelerated options are available for the Find a Better Job group.

    How do we organize a self-reliance devotional?

    Follow the My Path booklet. See page 13 for specific details.

    Who should participate?

    Many people can improve their self-reliance. Bishoprics and ward councils prayerfully consider who to invite. Ideally, people are personally invited to attend a self-reliance devotional (if offered) or directly join a self-reliance group. In addition, leaders should consider inviting those who could strengthen others with their time and talents (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:18-19). Watch this story for an example of how one family was invited.

    Can people of other faiths participate?

    Yes, of course. Be sensitive to the perspective and understanding of people from different faiths. It might help to explain some scriptures and quotes that are specific to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It may also be necessary to adjust some of the faith-based commitments.

    How many people should be in a group?

    Groups work best when there are between 5 and 12 group members. If there are more than 12 people, consider dividing the group. Groups smaller than 5 also work but might need some adaptation or support.

    What do we do if only one or two people want to join a group?

    Find out if the wards in the stake can identify other people who would benefit from or be willing to attend the course. If you happen to live near another stake, you might see if it is possible to combine groups. Another option is to invite people to join another group. You could also customize your resources to fit a very small group.

    Do the facilitators need to be experts?

    No. Self-reliance groups are designed to be facilitated, not taught by an expert. The materials provide the expertise, and the Spirit and the power of the group make up any difference. Simply follow the materials and seek the Spirit. Facilitators will receive training.

    Should facilitators receive a calling or an assignment?

    Facilitators can be called or assigned. This should be decided by local leadership.

    How should facilitators be called or assigned?

    Facilitators are typically called or assigned by local leadership. When extending the call or assignment, it is helpful if leaders can share some information about the calling. This webpage contains helpful information about being a facilitator.

    Can we have more than one facilitator in a group?

    Yes.

    Can we skip, combine, or shorten lessons?

    This is discouraged. The length and content of each group course was designed for specific outcomes and groups are encouraged to follow the material as written. However, some of the content relevancy may vary or there may be other compelling local needs. Check with the stake specialist before making changes.

    Do we have to offer all four self-reliance group courses?

    No. Local leaders should understand the needs of their members and offer the number and types of courses they feel members need and can adequately support.

    Where can I find the manuals and videos for the courses?

    The manuals and videos for self-reliance courses, devotionals, and trainings can be found on this page. These materials are also available in the Gospel Library app. Manuals can be ordered from store.lds.org or purchased from a local distribution center if available.

    How do we order materials?

    Materials can be ordered from store.lds.org or purchased from a local distribution center if available.

    How do we register a group?

    At the beginning of a group, the facilitator completes the Group Registration Report at srs.lds.org/report.

    How do we do the report at the end of a group and get certificates of completion?

    At the final group meeting, group members complete their personal assessments. The facilitator collects this information, and after the group meeting he or she completes the End of Group report at srs.lds.org/report. Completing the report also takes care of requesting certificates. A self-reliance manager will send digital copies of the certificates to the stake self-reliance specialist who will print them, get them signed, and make sure group members get their certificates.

    Is there training for leaders and specialists?

    Yes. The first step is to read and become familiar with the Leader’s Guide. You can go to this page for some helpful training and videos. In addition, there are Church employees and volunteers who can help you (see page 8 of the Leader’s Guide PDF).

    Who is part of the Stake Self-Reliance Committee, and what does the committee do?

    See pages 4 and 9 of the Leader’s Guide PDF.

    What does the stake self-reliance specialist do?

    See page 5 of the Leader’s Guide PDF.

    What is a stake self-reliance center?

    A physical or virtual place where self-reliance resources are made available to stake members. See page 9 of the Leader’s Guide PDF.

    What resources should we have in a self-reliance center?

    Those that the Stake Self-Reliance Committee determines can best meet stake needs.