President Russell M. Nelson: To our wonderful leaders and teachers of children and youth, we need to let the young people lead. Particularly those who have been called and set apart to serve in class and quorum presidencies. Priesthood authority will have been delegated to them. They will learn how to receive inspiration in leading their class or quorum.
President Bonnie H. Cordon: As you know, President Nelson says, “Let the young people lead.” Leaders, we hope that you will mentor, guide, and support the youth as they do this.
Female: My role is definitely, as a Young Women president, to allow them the opportunity to lead out. We’re basically there to support them on the back end and let them grow and flourish in the way that they need.
President Jean B. Bingham: Primary, Young Women, and Young Men leaders and teachers, your support is vital. Some youth and children may not have the direct support of parents and families. They’ll need the extra care and attention from their Church leaders that you can provide.
President Cordon: Leaders, every parent loves their child and wants what is best for them. Talk to them and ask them about their hopes and dreams for their child and how you can help.
Male: When they begin to see the trust their leaders have for them, they will be willing to do more and be able to show that Heavenly Father loves them and cares for them.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong: Parents and youth, and youth leaders, please help our youth; please connect them with heaven. Help and encourage them to follow and keep those things which they should do. Encourage and help them, but let them lead.
President Cordon: We are so grateful for the opportunity to speak to you adult youth leaders today. This includes ward Young Women presidencies, bishoprics, advisers, and specialists, as well as stake leaders. Can you feel the sense of urgency surrounding this work? Every time I hear the prophet and Apostles speak about the rising generation, I get a sense of optimism and enthusiasm. Take, for instance, these words from President Nelson: “My beloved younger brothers and sisters, you are among the best the Lord has ever sent to this world. You have the capacity to be smarter and wiser and have more impact on the world than any previous generation.”1
Now he did not say that our youth are “smarter and wiser” and have more impact than the previous generation. But they have the capacity to be so. So how do we help them reach their potential? How do we strengthen their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? That’s the sacred call we have as their adult leaders and advisers.
President Steven J. Lund: So much has been entrusted to the youngest leaders of the Church—the class and quorum presidencies. They aren’t just the future leaders of the Church; they are leaders now! Our prophets and apostles know they can do it. The Savior knows that they can do it. And we know they can do it—because they have you to mentor them, to guide them.
And so we want to begin by discussing your responsibility to support class and quorum presidencies. We’ll save most of the specifics about the Children and Youth program for our discussion with those presidencies, and we hope that you’ll listen in when that time comes. But your task is not to help the program succeed. Your task is actually to help these young leaders succeed. If they succeed, then the program succeeds, and you will succeed too.
President Cordon: As adult leaders, you help the youth focus on the Savior. And one of the ways you do this is by mentoring and preparing the quorum and class presidencies. Have you ever thought of these young leaders as a resource to help the youth—their peers—come unto Christ? They are capable and eager to engage in this work. They are called and set apart to lead by revelation. The Lord trusts them, and so can we.
President Lund: In other words, we need to let the presidencies lead, even if it might seem easier to you to plan and make the decisions, or even carry things out on your own.
President Cordon: Sometimes it might seem easier to just ask the quorum and class presidencies to bring the refreshments while you handle the logistics. But that’s not what the Lord called these young leaders to do. We often have adult-led programs with youth involvement. With this cultural shift, we hope we have a youth-led program with much adult support. Now’s the perfect time to let them learn—when they are surrounded by parents and leaders who can help them succeed. Every skill they learn will bless them and will bless the work now, and the Lord’s kingdom for years to come.
President Lund: So maybe instead of saying “let the youth lead,” we might say “teach the youth to lead.” We don’t take over for them—they are the leaders in a quorum or class—but we also don’t disengage and leave them helpless and unprepared. Remember that these youth may not have had many opportunities to lead in the past. Make it your priority to teach the youth how to lead and to be there to support and help and guide them.
President Cordon: Let’s watch a short video that illustrates what we have been talking about.
Male: We recognized in these young deacons the potential spoken of by President Nelson. But we also recognize that they had zero experience; they’d never led. And so we set out to teach them how to lead and really elevate them in a few key places or situations—namely, the presidency meeting, quorum meeting, and kind of planning and carrying out activities. [00:42:18]
We’d just pull them aside beforehand, and we’d say, “Hey, we’re not in charge here. You hold the keys, and this is your quorum. And we are behind you 100 percent. If you have any questions during the meeting, look to us; we’ll support you, but we’re not going to make decisions for you. And by the way, this is how you might want to consider conducting a meeting. Here are some things to consider.”
You know, we pointed them to some of the resources that are available, whether they’re sample agendas for a presidency meeting, or in Come, Follow Me, the “Counsel Together” section. And it took us a few months and, like I said, some bumps and bruises along the way, but a few months in we were just cheerleaders. We were there to give them a little guidance. Keep them on track, but for the most part, they were planning activities; they were doing it all. They were owning this quorum experience that they’d been called and set apart to do. And we’ve obviously got a lot to learn, but it’s been fun to see these boys succeed.
President Lund: They just need a little guidance and opportunities. Here are a few things you can do right now to help the presidencies in your quorum or class:
President Cordon: First, help them understand that our Savior Jesus Christ is the center of all we do. As a disciple of Christ, we can help those we serve draw closer to Him and strengthen their faith and progress along the path to eternal life. Help them to never lose sight of this purpose.
Next, invite them to get to know the people they serve in their class and their quorum—to pray for them, minister to them, teach them to seek and trust revelation from the Spirit as they counsel together, and support them as they act on those promptings.
Prepare them to conduct and lead out in presidency meetings, Sunday lessons, and activities. Meet with them beforehand and teach them how. There are resources on the Children and Youth website that can help you teach them how to lead out, including leadership lessons, a sample agenda, and planning documents.
President Lund: It is also helpful to give them regular reminders about upcoming responsibilities, encourage delegation, and offer assistance. A simple phone call or text message can go a long way. Help them have successful experiences as leaders.
And finally, praise them for the good things they do. Be specific! This will help them feel valued and encourage them to keep trying.
President Cordon: It’s so inspiring to watch our youth embrace the opportunity to lead. I recently heard about a class presidency member who referred to the young women in her class as “my girls.” She recognized her responsibility as a leader and loved and cared for them.
President Lund: I just love that. I heard a similar story about a young quorum leader who drove past a young man in his quorum who was walking down the street. He remembered what they had been talking about in their presidency meetings in his quorum, and he decided that he would stop and talk to him instead of just letting him walk by. It turned out, he said, to be an important conversation. Such little things like that can happen when we help young people feel the spirit of their callings.
President Cordon: As you fulfill this important role of mentoring quorum and class presidencies, we hope you see the Children and Youth program as a helpful tool. We will give you a couple of quick ideas for helping youth engage, but we will share more specifics about the program when we address the quorum and class presidencies.
President Lund: As a reminder, this program is the combination of gospel learning, service and activities, and personal development.
Gospel learning includes instruction and Sunday meetings. It encourages the youth to make teaching assignments during their presidency meetings. Often, lessons will be taught by an adult leader and a youth together, but this will depend on the needs of the class or quorum and the capacity of the youth to teach. And don’t forget to encourage seminary!
President Cordon: Service and activities can give youth a sense of belonging with fellow followers of Jesus Christ and provide opportunities to learn skills, feel the Spirit, and have fun. Teach presidencies how to plan and implement activities based on the needs of the youth. Encourage them to consider activities and service in the four areas we learn about in Luke 2:52. This will help them accomplish the great work taught by our prophet.
There are activity planning resources available on the Children and Youth website under Quorum and Class Presidency Resources. When they are holding and planning their meetings, be a resource to assist and provide guidance, but let the presidency make the decisions.
President Lund: And personal development is an invitation for youth to grow as the Savior did—spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially. Reach out and counsel with parents about their children’s needs and ways you might offer support. This a good way to get to know them and show your love.
While it is not your job to track goals—and a few goals may be too personal to share—you should be a constant cheerleader and support. Ask them what goals they have that you might be able to help them with. You can make a real difference in their lives as they build confidence by achieving new, meaningful goals. It may be helpful if you share with them one of your goals that you are personally working on.
President Cordon: I love that idea. Just remember that the lessons, the activities, and the goals are not the objective. They are the tools to help us all reach our real objective: to build faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and become more like Him. The quorum and class presidencies, with your support and mentoring, will be successful servants in the Lord’s work.
President Lund: We are grateful for you adult leaders and all your efforts to support and love the youth of the Church! All of these efforts are part of one great work: to help the youth bind themselves to the Savior and keep progressing along the covenant path.
Now it is time to speak to quorum and class presidencies. We hope that you, as their leaders and advisers, will remain with us for this part of the broadcast. Let’s start with a video.