“What Should I Focus On?” My Calling as a Young Women Adviser or Specialist (2020).
“What Should I Focus On?” My Calling as a Young Women Adviser or Specialist.
“Leaders encourage members to engage in God’s work by becoming ‘true followers of … Jesus Christ’ (Moroni 7:48)” (General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4.1). Your focus is to help each young woman in your ward increase her faith, strengthen her conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and prepare to receive future ordinances and make and keep sacred covenants.
In President Russell M. Nelson’s first address as President of the Church, he counseled: “Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere. … The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power in a house of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God―that of eternal life” (“As We Go Forward Together,” Ensign, Apr. 2018, 7).
You are a disciple of Jesus Christ. Discipleship includes loving, teaching, leading, and serving others. President Henry B. Eyring taught: “You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands” (“Rise to Your Call,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2002, 76).
The following leadership principles will help you and the Young Women class presidency you work with as you seek to bless the young women you serve:
Minister to others.
Teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Administer the organization.
For more information, see General Handbook, 4.2.
Every lesson and activity is an opportunity for young women to learn the truths of the gospel and how to apply those truths to their daily lives. Help create a setting where the Spirit can teach. Help the young women recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and invite them to act on what they hear and feel.
Study the lessons in Come Follow Me—For Aaronic Priesthood Quorums and Young Women Classes.
Prayerfully prepare and teach the lessons the class presidency invites you to teach (see “Assist with Sunday Young Women Meetings” below).
Instruct and mentor young women who are invited to teach a lesson or a portion of a lesson. Help them gain confidence in their ability to teach by the Spirit.
Participate in teacher council meetings. In these meetings, teachers discuss the principles in Teaching in the Savior’s Way. All Young Women advisers and specialists should attend these meetings (see Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 3).
As you come to know and love the young women you are called to serve, you can help them progress toward lifelong conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Prayerfully counsel together with the Young Women presidency and with your class presidency to decide who needs your time and attention. As you reach out to those you are inspired to serve, you will find that your love for each young woman increases. As you pray for the gift of charity, your heart will be filled with love for the Savior and for others (see Moroni 7:46–48).
Elder Dale G. Renlund taught: “In the Church, to effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. … Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with ‘the pure love of Christ’ [Moroni 7:47]” (“Through God’s Eyes,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 94).
You can come to know and love the young women you serve by:
Praying for each young woman.
Getting to know each young woman’s interests, strengths, and challenges.
Giving special attention to the needs of new members or less-active members.
Showing love to each young woman in ways that are suited to her needs.
Under the direction of the Young Women presidency, counseling with each young woman’s parents to learn ways you can help their daughter increase in faith and find joy in living the gospel of Jesus Christ (see General Handbook, 11.2).
Being willing to share your personal experiences and testimony of the gospel to help guide the young women along the covenant path.
One of your most important responsibilities as a Young Women adviser or specialist is to guide and support the young women serving in the class presidency. Young Women class presidencies are called of God and have been set apart by those who hold priesthood authority; because of this, they serve with priesthood power. You have the opportunity to shepherd these young women as they learn to seek and act upon revelation as leaders, to counsel together as a presidency, and to minister to those they have been called to serve. You will mentor them as they learn to act under the direction of the bishopric and participate as members of the ward youth council.
The call to serve in a class presidency is the first calling that many young women receive. Some class leaders, especially those who are new to the Young Women program, may need a lot of help from you. They may need to begin by sharing responsibility with an adult leader or by having responsibility for just a portion of an activity or lesson. As young women gain experience, they will gain confidence and skill as leaders and will be able to take on more responsibility.
A brief leadership training should be a part of each class presidency meeting (see “Quorum and Class Presidency Resources”), but the most valuable training will come as the young women work with you and see you lead in the Savior’s way. Remember that as you guide the class presidency, you are preparing the future leaders of homes, communities, and the Church—it is a glorious work.
Class presidencies have the primary responsibility to plan Sunday Young Women meetings as outlined in Come, Follow Me—For Aaronic Priesthood Quorums and Young Women Classes (see “Assist with Sunday Young Women Meetings” below). They also have the primary responsibility to plan and implement service and activities (see “Assist with Young Women Programs, Events, and Activities” below). To do this effectively, class presidencies will need to identify the needs of class members. Encourage them to prayerfully ponder questions such as the following:
What would help the young women in our ward better understand and live the gospel?
How can we help them feel the love of the Lord and discover the blessings of following Him?
What interests and goals do the young women have? What skills do they need to learn for the future?
How can we bless each young woman in a way that builds and supports her family as well?
What can we do to build unity among the young women?
How can we reach out to those who do not attend regularly?
As the class presidency prays for and gets to know the young women they serve, they will be better prepared to plan Sunday meetings and Young Women service and activities. Understanding class members’ needs will guide their ministering efforts as a presidency, and they will discover the joy of representing the Savior and caring for others as He would.
For more information about helping Young Women class presidencies, see Leading in the Savior’s Way: Leadership Lessons for Young Women Class Presidencies and other training resources on YoungWomen.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
You can help the young women in your class presidency develop as leaders by meeting with them regularly. A member of the Young Women presidency also attends these meetings, and you work under her direction. In these meetings you should communicate clear and loving expectations for the young women, help the young women understand their callings, teach them how to lead, and express your trust in their ability to lead.
Class presidency meetings should be conducted by the class president, with guidance from a member of the Young Women presidency as needed. The Young Women presidency member assigned to your class may ask you to help the class president prepare agendas for the meetings (see Sample Presidency Meeting Agenda). In these meetings, the class presidency may:
Receive leadership training from a member of the Young Women presidency (see “Quorum and Class Presidency Resources”). The Young Women presidency member over your class may sometimes assign you to present this training.
Discuss ways to get to know the class members and minister to them with genuine friendship and simple service.
Counsel together about upcoming Sunday Young Women meetings, considering who will conduct each meeting, who should teach each lesson, and which items need to be discussed in the “Counsel Together” segment of the meeting (see “Assist with Sunday Young Women Meetings” below).
Plan service and activities that will bless and strengthen the young women and bring unity to the class (see “Assist with Young Women Programs, Events, and Activities” below).
Discuss how they, as class leaders, can help the young women feel and recognize the Spirit, feel Heavenly Father’s love, and learn gospel principles.
Identify ways they can demonstrate the joy of living the gospel and following the Savior in all areas of their lives.
Consider items to discuss in ward youth council meetings (see General Handbook, 29.2.9). Also review counsel and assignments from previous ward youth council meetings. Discuss how they are following the counsel and fulfilling the assignments.
Participate in ward Young Women presidency meetings as invited by the Young Women presidency. In these meetings, counsel with the Young Women presidency about how you can minister to the young women and support the class presidencies.
Sunday Young Women meetings are sacred opportunities for young women to increase in knowledge and testimony of our Savior. A member of the class presidency conducts each meeting, leads the young women in reciting the Young Women theme (see General Handbook, 11.1.2), and leads the “Counsel Together” discussion that begins each lesson. A member of the Young Women presidency, a Young Women adviser, or an invited young woman teaches the lesson. Young women may also be invited to teach a portion of a lesson. When young women are invited to teach, Young Women leaders or their parents help them prepare. (See General Handbook, 11.6.)
Lessons in Young Women classes follow the outlines in Come, Follow Me—For Aaronic Priesthood Quorums and Young Women Classes. Young women learn doctrine from the scriptures and general conference messages, discuss how the doctrine applies to their lives, and counsel together about how they can act on what they are learning.
Seek to create a safe environment that invites the Spirit for young women. When adults are teaching young women in Church settings, at least two responsible adults should be present. Follow Church policies and guidelines on preventing and responding to abuse, as outlined in “Preventing and Responding to Abuse.”
For more information on Sunday meetings, see “Using Come, Follow Me—For Aaronic Priesthood Quorums and Young Women Classes” on the Come, Follow Me website (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
“Activities strengthen [young women] by giving them a sense of belonging and mutual support. Activities should help [young women] feel connected to others their age, to their leaders, and to their families. Activities should also help [young women] see how living the gospel brings ‘the joy of the saints’ (Enos 1:3)” (General Handbook, 20.1).
Class presidencies have the primary responsibility to plan and implement activities and events. You and other Young Women leaders prepare, guide, and support class presidencies so they may succeed. Remember that less-experienced presidencies will need more support. Encourage class presidencies to involve other young women in planning so all can contribute and gain experience.
Youth and adult leaders plan service and activities following the guidelines in General Handbook, 11.8.1, and “Service and Activities” at YoungWomen.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. See also the annual First Presidency safety letter and the Church’s Safety and Health website (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Young women activities are held on a regularly scheduled day or evening other than Sunday or Monday. Help class presidencies plan activities that:
Help strengthen young women’s faith in Jesus Christ and help them progress along the covenant path.
Provide a variety of opportunities for the young women to serve others and develop spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually (see Luke 2:52).
Encourage the young women to develop genuine friendships with each other outside of Sunday meetings.
Help the young women find ways to apply gospel principles in their lives.
Teach skills that will help the young women bless their families now and in the future.
Allow the young women to have fun!
For more information about Young Women activities, see General Handbook, 11.8.1, and “Service and Activities” at YoungWomen.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
The Children and Youth personal development program is a home-centered program to help youth improve spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially. Young Women leaders can support young women and their families in this program by encouraging young women as they set and work toward their goals. Young Women leaders can also encourage class presidencies to plan Sunday meetings and weekday activities that will help the young women grow in these areas and reach their goals. (For more information, see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.)
Standards events: These events emphasize moral values and eternal goals. They help youth understand and commit to living gospel standards. For more information, see General Handbook, 11.8.5, and True to the Faith.
Bishopric youth discussions: The bishopric plans and carries out bishopric youth discussions, which may be held with all the youth or with a certain age-group, and which can address specific needs as determined by the bishopric. For more information, see General Handbook, 11.8.2.
Young Women camp: Camp gives young women a unique spiritual experience away from worldly influences. See General Handbook, 11.8.6, and the Young Women Camp Guide for more information.
For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conference: This is a multistake youth activity held every other year for young women and young men ages 14 through 18. It is held under the direction of the Area Presidency, and Area Seventies oversee the planning and implementation of the events. Stake and ward leaders help youth register and arrange transportation. For more information, see the Church’s FSY website (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Youth conference: Young women and young men ages 14 through 18 may participate together in a ward or stake youth conference in years when an FSY conference is not held in their area. For more information, see General Handbook, 20.4, and the Church’s youth conference website (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Beginning in January of the year they turn age 14, young women may be assigned by the Relief Society presidency to serve as companions to Relief Society sisters in ministering to the needs of women in the ward. Encourage and support young women in these assignments. Help the young women find opportunities through lessons and activities to prepare for this important work.