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

    As part of our commitment to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9), we reach out to Latter-day Saint friends and neighbors who are not coming to church. We can help them by making sure they feel our genuine love and concern by sharing our testimonies through our words and actions and by including them in our activities.

    Prepare yourself spiritually

    What scriptures and talks will help the young women learn how to help their less-active friends?

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

    Luke 22:32; John 21:15–17; 1 Peter 5:2–4 (The Lord commands us to strengthen each other)

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

    S. Mark Palmer, “Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 114–16

    Mervyn B. Arnold, “To the Rescue: We Can Do It,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 53–55

    Brent H. Nielson, “Waiting for the Prodigal,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 101–3

    Video: “Help Others Come Back to Church,” “The Faith of Youth: The Ennis Family,” “Reach Out with Love,” “Face to Face with President Eyring and Elder Holland: How can I help my family members who are less-active?”

    Share experiences

    At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

    Introduce the doctrine

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

    • Show one of the videos suggested in this outline and ask the young women to share their thoughts about helping others come back to church.
    • Write the title of the lesson on the board. Invite the young women to write on a piece of paper one way they can help less-active friends return to church. Collect the papers and pass them out to different young women. Invite them to share the ideas from the papers. Ask the young women to be thinking during the lesson of someone they know who is not active in the Church and to look for ways they can help that person.

    Learn together

    Each of the activities below will help the young women understand how to help their less-active friends return to church. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

    • Show the young women a picture of a shepherd and a sheep, such as the picture Jesus Carrying a Lost Lamb (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 64). Ask the young women to listen for words or phrases that describe the love Jesus Christ has for His sheep as they sing or read “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd” (Hymns, no. 221). To help the young women find ways they can help the Savior gather those who are lost, you could ask them to review the four lessons Elder S. Mark Palmer shared at the end of his talk “Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him.” How can these lessons help us as we reach out to our less-active family members and friends? What other principles can the young women think of that will help?
    • Ask the young women to think of a time when they lost something very valuable. What did they do to try to find it? Assign each young woman one of the three parables in Luke 15. Ask her to retell the parable in her own words and share a phrase from the parable that summarizes what the Savior was teaching in the parable. What do the young women learn from the actions of the shepherd, the woman, and the father in these parables? How can they follow these examples as they try to help those who are “lost” from the Church? Ask the young women to share any experiences of friends or family members who have returned after being less active, if they feel comfortable doing so.
    • In advance, invite a young woman to read Elder Mervyn B. Arnold’s talk “To the Rescue: We Can Do It.” Ask her to come prepared to share one or two stories from the talk that impressed her. Invite the young women to discuss how the stories might apply to them as a class. Whom do they know who has not been attending church? How can they work together as a class to help that person draw nearer to the Savior? You could also invite the young women to look for the four main principles in Elder Arnold’s talk. Do they know people who exemplify these principles? What can they do to be like these people?
    • Share the story of Elder Brent H. Nielson’s sister from his talk “Waiting for the Prodigal” or share an experience you have had helping a less-active friend or family member return to church. Invite the young women to read Alma 31:34–35 and D&C 18:10–16. What do these scriptures teach about how Heavenly Father feels about His children? Help the young women make a list of less-active young women in the ward, and discuss as a class the great worth each of them has and things they can do to invite those young women to return.
    • Show the video “Help Others Come Back to Church.” Invite the young women to look for principles Elder Bednar teaches that will help them be more effective as they invite their less-active friends to return to church. Why is family history work a good way to invite less-active friends to participate in church? What other activities could accomplish what Elder Bednar is describing?

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

    Live what we are learning

    Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

    • Complete Good Works value experience 7 in Personal Progress.
    • Pray for inspiration on how to help a friend or family member return to church and invite that person to come to church or a Mutual activity.
    • Follow through with any plans they made today to reach out to a less-active class member.