“Planning Activities—Take the Lead,” New Era, October 2015, xx
Did you know that youth your age have been called as leaders since the beginning of time? The scriptures are full of examples of the Lord trusting His sacred work to young people. He spoke to the boy Samuel (see 1 Samuel 3:11–14), and He strengthened David to accomplish mighty things while but “a youth” (1 Samuel 17:33). Mormon was only 10 when he was called upon to keep the sacred records of the Nephites, and he was 15 when asked to lead the Nephite armies (see Mormon 1:2–4; 2:1–2).
Mary, Esther, and Rebecca were all young when called by Heavenly Father to do great things. Joseph Smith was 14 when he received his call to restore the gospel once again on earth.
Just like those youth, you can do extraordinary things—and you have more potential than you might realize. Quorum presidents hold sacred priesthood keys. Both quorum presidencies and Young Women class presidencies exercise priesthood authority to fulfill the sacred duties of these callings.
As part of your calling, you have the opportunity to lead in activities under the direction of your bishop. You may need to gently and respectfully remind your advisers that it’s your responsibility to lead. Leading out might seem a bit scary, but when you take the reins and seek inspiration for the best activities, amazing things start to happen.
Here’s one example. Afton B., a Beehive president, and her presidency thought and prayed about their class members’ needs. They felt they should help them learn more about how to share the gospel, so they looked in the “missionary work” section of the Mutual activities website (lds.org/youth/activities). The activity “mini mission” caught their attention (see lds.org/go/mini10NE). They decided to go for it: live like missionaries for a week.
After inviting the deacons to join, Afton and her presidency paired people into companionships. Afton made handouts with some guidelines: go to bed and wake up earlier, study the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, and pray morning and night.
“Normally, I just read my scriptures at night, but I started reading them in the morning also,” Bryson C. said. “It really made a big difference in my day.”
The youth were “called to serve” in their ward. The presidency assigned each companionship to teach a family and set up appointments. They also created a basic lesson plan for the “missionaries” to build on.
This kind of teaching was a new experience, but they learned a lot. “We taught a family with little kids,” said Lindsey G. “We’d prepared a lesson, but we felt prompted to do something different to help the kids learn better. I guess sometimes even missionaries have prepared something and the Lord has them do something else.”
“I learned the Lord is on my side,” William W. said. “He’s there to help me.”
The Beehive presidency took the lead, listened to the Spirit, and assisted their fellow young women and young men. The success they had is what happens when quorum and class presidencies take the lead.
Carefully planned Mutual activities can be powerful and fun. They can help you form friendships as well as grow into the kind of person Heavenly Father wants you to be.
With the right planning, no activity ever has to be boring or a waste of time. Each activity can be meaningful, but it starts with seeking the Lord’s help. The following steps can help you bring the Lord into your planning process. You can also use the resources on lds.org/youth/activities.
Start by asking questions. For example, during a quorum or class meeting, you might ask each member of your quorum or class to prayerfully answer questions like the ones below.
What are you interested in? What do you like to do? What interests would you like to explore?
How can you serve? Who needs your help? What would you like to change about your community or the world? What gifts and talents do you feel God has given you to serve others?
Who do you want to become? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 20 years? What do you need to do now to prepare for your future? How can you help one another in that preparation?
In a quorum or class presidency meeting, talk about the answers that came up in class. Discuss what you learned about each person. Pray for each of them by name. Think about the people who are less active. Then try to find ways where your quorum or class can support each of them in their needs, interests, and goals.
Also, get to know less-active and nonmember youth in your area. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “Through our heartfelt kindness and service, we can make friends with those whom we serve. From these friendships come better understanding of our devotion to the gospel and a desire to learn more about us” (“Finding Joy through Loving Service,” Ensign, May 2011, 48).
The Lord knows the needs of each individual in your class or quorum. When you bring the Lord into your planning process, He will inspire you how best to bless each of them.
With the answers to the questions you’ve asked, you can plan activities accordingly to meet the interests and needs of each individual. With the Lord’s help, activity ideas can come one after another.
For example, does someone in your quorum have a concert coming up? Plan an activity to attend the event to support him. Does a girl in your class have a special skill that can help others? Plan an activity for her to teach the skill. Mutual activities can provide important but still fun teaching and learning opportunities.
If you research lds.org/youth/activities, you’ll find over 215 ideas organized by categories and subcategories. Obviously, not all of these ideas will work for you, so you’ll want to pray and counsel to find the ones that will.
As you plan, remember to consider things like safety (see safety.lds.org) and any equipment or supplies you might need. Keep in mind that others will be more likely to come if they know they are needed, so give assignments to members of the quorum or class to help carry out the activity.
Once you’ve decided, consider using the site’s planning tool to easily schedule activities on a shared calendar and communicate your plans with youth, advisers, and parents. There is also a place to share your activity ideas with other youth around the world.
The Lord called you to lead this group for a purpose. By putting care and effort—and bringing the Lord into your planning—you will be inspired and blessed. You can do it! So, what are you waiting for? Give it a shot and see what you can accomplish.