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How can I participate effectively in councils in the Church?

The Lord’s Church is governed through councils. Under the direction of priesthood leadership, leaders counsel together for the benefit of individuals, families, and the Church. Effective councils invite full expression from all council members, who seek to be united and guided by the Holy Ghost to build the kingdom of God. Learning how revelation is received in councils can help us participate effectively in council meetings, including presidency meetings, bishopric youth committee meetings, and family councils.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Use the resources below to understand for yourself the principles of effective councils in the Church. Then consider how the activities in the rest of this outline can help you plan ways to engage the youth in learning. Your own experiences participating in councils will also help you teach effectively.

Matthew 18:20 (The Lord will be in the midst of those gathered together in His name)

Moroni 6:4–5 (Church members meet together oft to discuss the welfare of souls)

D&C 38:27 (We are commanded to be unified)

D&C 88:122 (Edification occurs when all have the opportunity to speak and listen)

Henry B. Eyring, “Learning in the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 62–65

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Acting on the Truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” worldwide leadership training meeting, Feb. 2012

Video: “Participate in Councils,” Leadership Training Library

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between things they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help you:

  • Ask the youth to share an experience in which they learned something about the gospel in a meaningful way. They could include experiences from church, seminary, family home evening, personal scripture study, or everyday life.
  • Invite the youth to share their experiences participating in council settings in the Church, such as class and quorum presidencies or bishopric youth committee meetings. What did they do to prepare for the meeting? What did they do to participate? How did the council help accomplish the Lord’s work?

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the youth understand principles of effective councils in the Church. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class. Allow time for the youth to participate in the sample council experience at the end of this section. 

  • Write on the board the scripture references suggested in this outline. Ask each class member to select a scripture to study and then think about why the Lord uses councils to accomplish His work. Why would it be less effective if one person made all of the decisions without counseling with others? How can the youth apply these principles in their relationships with their families? 
  • Divide President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “Acting on the Truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” into sections, and give each youth a section to read. Ask the youth to write a question about participating in councils that could be answered by their section. Invite them to trade their questions and their sections of the talk with another class member and look for answers to each other’s questions. What do they learn from President Uchtdorf that they can apply as they participate in family and Church councils?
  • Show the video “Participate in Councils.” Invite the youth to look for key elements of a successful council and write them down (some examples may include following the Spirit, listening to one another, and making and receiving assignments). Invite them to share experiences in which they have seen these principles applied in a council or in other settings.
  • Invite some of the youth to read President Henry B. Eyring’s experience as a youth in his priests quorum (in his talk “Learning in the Priesthood”), and invite the others to read his 20 years later as a bishop (in the same talk). Ask them to retell the stories to each other. What do they learn from these stories about councils? What makes councils such an effective way to do the Lord’s work? What are some opportunities the youth have to counsel together?

The following activity gives the youth an opportunity to experience participating in a council. This will deepen their understanding and prepare them to apply what they learned outside of class.

  • After completing one of the above activities, invite the youth to apply the principles they learned by role-playing participating in a council. Assign each class member a role to play, and ask them to choose a topic that they could counsel together about, such as how to help the members of the ward understand the importance of reverence or modesty.

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to participate effectively in councils in the Church? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Invite the youth to apply what they learned and practiced today as they participate in councils (related to their callings, their family, or their seminary leadership roles). At the beginning of the next class, invite a few of them to share their experiences.