“First-Sunday Council Meetings,” Ensign, May 2018
On the first Sunday of each month, elders quorum and Relief Society meetings do not include a lesson taught by a teacher. Instead, elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies lead council meetings. In these first-Sunday council meetings, each elders quorum and Relief Society counsels together about local responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges; learns from each other’s insights and experiences; and plans ways to act on impressions received from the Spirit. These discussions should draw upon relevant scriptures and the teachings of living prophets.
Not all council meetings will be the same. Here are some guidelines to help presidencies lead a successful council.
Identify local needs, opportunities, and challenges.
Prayerfully select a topic to discuss.
Invite quorum members or Relief Society sisters to come prepared to share their thoughts and experiences.
Prepare a lesson.
Come with a specific solution or action plan in mind.
Invite members to share experiences they had acting on impressions and plans from previous meetings.
Introduce the meeting topic and encourage members to counsel together about it, seeking solutions and guidance from the scriptures, the words of the prophets, and the Holy Ghost.
Plan to act on what was discussed. This may include group plans or plans that individuals make on their own.
Dominate the conversation.
Try to convince others of your ideas.
Discuss sensitive or confidential issues.
Teach a lesson.
Pressure anyone to participate.
Follow up on plans and assignments made during the council meeting.
Find ways to include those who could not attend the meeting because of callings or other reasons. Let them know about plans that were made.
Give members opportunities to share experiences in future meetings.
Ideas for council meeting discussion topics may come from presidency meetings, ward council meetings, the area plan, impressions leaders receive as they minister to members, and promptings from the Holy Ghost. The topics below are suggestions only. Leaders may be aware of other needs that they feel inspired to address.
What can we do to minister to those around us? (see Mosiah 23:18).
How can we prioritize our different responsibilities?
How will we share the gospel with our friends and neighbors? (see Alma 17).
How can we protect ourselves and our families from inappropriate media and pornography?
What will we do to mentor and strengthen our children and the youth in our ward?
How can we be more involved in family history work and temple worship?
How can we invite the Lord’s help as we seek answers to our gospel questions and pursue a deeper understanding of the gospel?
How can we strengthen our testimonies of the Lord and His gospel and help our families be spiritually self-reliant?