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How can I help my less-active friends return to church?

Part of our duty as priesthood holders is to reach out to quorum members and friends who are not coming to church. President Monson has frequently urged us to “go to the rescue” (“To the Rescue,” Ensign, May 2001, 48, or Liahona, July 2001, 57). We can help our less-active friends by making sure they feel our genuine love and concern, sharing our testimonies through words and actions, and including them in our activities.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and other resources. What do you feel inspired to share with the young men?

Luke 15 (Parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and prodigal son)

Alma 31:34–35; D&C 18:10, 14–16 (The worth of souls is great)

D&C 20:46–47, 53–55 (Aaronic Priesthood duties)

Thomas S. Monson, “See Others as They May Become,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 68–71

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Come, Join with Us,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Henry B. Eyring, “Man Down!Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 63–66

Videos: “No One Else Can Do It—Rescuing Cole”“We Are Brothers”“Help Others Come Back to Church”

Let the young men lead

A member of the quorum presidency (or an assistant to the bishop in the priests quorum) conducts the quorum meeting. He leads the young men in counseling together about quorum business, teaches them their priesthood duties (from the scriptures and the Duty to God book), encourages them to share their experiences fulfilling their duty to God, and invites an adviser or other quorum member to teach a gospel lesson. He could prepare by filling out a quorum meeting agenda during a presidency meeting.

Begin the learning experience

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to review last week’s lesson and introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Ask the young men to report on what they did to fulfill any assignments they received during last week’s lesson.
  • Show one of the videos suggested in this outline, or share an experience you have had helping a less-active friend or family member return to church. Invite the young men to read Alma 31:34–35 and D&C 18:10, 14–16. What do these scriptures and these experiences teach about how Heavenly Father feels about His children?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the quorum members learn how they can help strengthen their less-active friends. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your quorum:

  • Ask the young men to think of a time when they lost something very valuable. What did they do to try to find it? Assign each quorum member to read one of the three parables in Luke 15. Ask him to retell the parable in his own words and share a phrase from the parable that summarizes what the Savior was teaching. What do the young men learn from the actions of the shepherd, the woman, and the father in these parables? How can the young men follow their examples as they try to help those who are “lost” from their quorum? Ask the young men to share any experiences of friends or family members who have returned to church after being less active.
  • Invite the young men to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:10–13, and ask them to share ways they would complete this sentence: “The worth of souls is great because …” Ask the young men to search Doctrine and Covenants 20:46–47, 53–55, and ask them to list on the board words or phrases that describe their priesthood duties. Which of these words describe ways we can help quorum members who are less active? Invite the quorum president to lead a discussion about things the young men can do to reach out to a less-active quorum member.
  • Invite the young men to read the story about soldiers protecting wounded comrades in President Henry B. Eyring’s talk “Man Down!” What do the actions and attitudes of these soldiers teach us about how we should approach our responsibility to less-active quorum members? Invite the young men to read the rest of the talk, thinking about someone they know who may need to be “rescued.” What do they learn from President Eyring’s counsel that could help them reach out to the person they are thinking of?
  • Write on the board some reasons people give for not coming to church, such as “I have doubts about the Church’s teachings,” “I don’t fit in with people in the Church,” “I don’t think I could live up to the Church’s standards,” “I know a member of the Church who is a hypocrite,” and so on. Invite the young men look for President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s responses to these concerns in his talk “Come, Join with Us.” Give the young men an opportunity to role-play how they would respond if a friend expressed one of these concerns.
  • Invite each young man to read one of the stories in President Thomas S. Monson’s talk “See Others as They May Become,” and ask him to share what the story teaches him about how to help our less-active friends return to church. Invite the quorum to discuss ways they can apply President Monson’s counsel.

Ask the young men to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to help strengthen their less-active friends? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Invite to act

The young man who is conducting concludes the meeting. He could:

  • Counsel with the quorum about specific ways to invite less-active members to church and Mutual.
  • Challenge the young men to reach out to a less-active member and report back next week.