Leaders and Specialists
“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 , 6.1.1).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Facilitators can be called or assigned. This should be decided by local leadership.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Those that the Stake Self-Reliance Committee determines can best meet stake needs.