“13. Sunday School,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).
“13. Sunday School,” General Handbook.
The Sunday School helps accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. It does this by helping God’s children learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sunday School leaders, teachers, and classes:
Strengthen faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by teaching “the doctrine of the kingdom” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:77).
Support home-centered and Church-supported gospel learning and teaching.
Help members teach in the Savior’s way.
Ward Sunday School Leadership
The bishopric oversees the Sunday School. Usually the bishop assigns one of his counselors to fulfill this responsibility under his direction.
This assigned counselor meets with the Sunday School president regularly. They counsel about the needs of the Sunday School, how it is accomplishing its purpose, and the responsibilities outlined in 22.214.171.124.
Sunday School President
Calling a Sunday School President
The bishop calls and sets apart a Melchizedek Priesthood holder to be the ward Sunday School president. They discuss whether counselors should be called. If counselors are needed, and if there are enough men to serve in these positions, the Sunday School president may recommend one or two counselors. If the bishopric approves, a member of the bishopric calls them.
A member of the bishopric presents Sunday School presidency members in sacrament meeting for sustaining by ward members. A member of the bishopric also sets them apart.
In a large ward, the bishopric may call and set apart a man to be the Sunday School secretary. The Sunday School president may recommend whom to call. The secretary can help the presidency keep track of assignments or attendance if desired.
The Sunday School president has the following responsibilities. If he has counselors, they assist him.
Serve on the ward council. He serves as (1) a member of the council who helps address needs in the ward and find solutions and (2) a representative of the Sunday School (see 29.2.5).
Oversee efforts to improve gospel learning and teaching at home and at church.
Organize Sunday School classes, with the bishopric’s approval (see 13.3). Recommend to the bishopric adult members to serve as Sunday School teachers.
Support, encourage, and instruct Sunday School teachers. Help them become more effective gospel teachers by following the principles in the scriptures and Teaching in the Savior’s Way. Encourage them to study Teaching in the Savior’s Way.
Lead teacher council meetings as guided by the bishop (see Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 3).
Encourage teachers to reach out to members who do not attend classes.
Sunday School Teachers
The Sunday School president may recommend members to serve as Sunday School teachers. If the bishopric approves, a member of the bishopric calls them, presents them in sacrament meeting for sustaining by ward members, and sets them apart.
Sunday School teachers get to know class members, including those who do not attend classes. Teachers support members in their efforts to learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
To prepare to teach, Sunday School teachers use the scriptures, Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, and Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School. They follow the principles in Teaching in the Savior’s Way and chapter 17 of this handbook.
Sunday School teachers attend quarterly teacher council meetings (see 17.4).
Sunday School Classes
Sunday School classes are held on the first and third Sundays of the month. They last 50 minutes.
With the bishopric’s approval, the Sunday School president organizes classes for adults and youth. If he has counselors, they assist him.
The number of classes depends on (1) how many members are in the ward and (2) the number and size of rooms that are available. Usually, smaller classes make it easier for more people to participate actively and learn. The ward council can help the Sunday School president decide how many Sunday School classes to organize.
Young men and young women typically start attending a youth Sunday School class at the beginning of the year they turn 12. They may start attending an adult class when they turn 18.
The Sunday School president organizes as many youth classes as are needed. Youth should be assigned to classes according to their age. If there are few youth in an age-group, they may be combined in a class with a similar age-group. They stay in that same class until January of the next year.
At least two responsible adults should be present in each youth class. The adults could be two men, two women, or a married couple. To meet this requirement, classes may need to be combined.
All adults who work with youth must complete the children and youth protection training within one month of being sustained (ProtectingChildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). They repeat the training every three years thereafter.
In a small branch, the Sunday School president may be the only Sunday School leader and teacher. He teaches a Sunday School class for all youth and adults in the branch.
Sunday School Classes for Specific Groups
As needed, the Sunday School president may organize Sunday School classes for specific groups. The curriculum for these classes is Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School.
Groups that could benefit from their own Sunday School class include:
Young single adults.
Members who do not speak the ward’s primary language.
New members, returning members, and those who are learning about the Church.
Other groups as noted by the bishop.
Improving Learning and Teaching in the Ward
Ward leaders are responsible for improving learning and teaching in their organizations. This includes orienting newly called teachers (see Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 38). They can ask the ward Sunday School president for help if needed.
Teacher council meetings are held quarterly during the 50-minute class time on Sunday (see 17.4). Their purpose is to help improve learning and teaching. Teaching in the Savior’s Way is the main resource for these meetings.
The ward council oversees and schedules teacher council meetings. The Sunday School president usually leads the meetings. However, the bishopric may ask another member to lead them.
For more information, see Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 3, or teaching.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Improving Learning and Teaching in the Home
Parents are responsible for teaching the gospel to their children. They can ask the Sunday School president to help them improve as teachers.
The ward council may organize teacher council meetings for parents to help them improve gospel teaching in the home. Like other teacher council meetings, these are held during the 50-minute class time on Sunday. Teaching in the Savior’s Way is the main resource for these meetings.
Stake Sunday School Leaders
The stake president assigns one of his counselors to oversee the Sunday School in the stake. He also calls and sets apart a high councilor to be the stake Sunday School president.
The responsibilities of the stake Sunday School president are outlined in 6.7.1 and 6.7.3. If counselors are called, they assist him.
Members with Disabilities
Sunday School teachers give special care to class members who have disabilities. For information about teaching members who have disabilities, see disability.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also 38.8.27 in this handbook.
Some meetinghouses have a resource center (library) to help members learn and teach the gospel. The ward Sunday School president oversees the resource center. Wards that share a meetinghouse also share the resource center. Seminary and institute classes and family history centers share the resource center with the wards.
In meetinghouses that have a resource center, the bishopric calls a resource center specialist. The Sunday School president may recommend someone to call. Or the bishopric could ask a member of the Sunday School presidency to be the specialist. This person:
Organizes and cares for the resources.
Helps leaders, teachers, and other members obtain and use these resources.
The Sunday School president consults with the resource center specialist to determine if an annual budget is needed for the resource center. He then makes a recommendation to the bishopric.
The resource center specialist should attend sacrament meeting each week and other Sunday meetings regularly. If necessary, the bishopric may call an assistant to the specialist.
For more information, see “Resource Centers” at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.