President Cordon and President Lund emphasize following the Savior’s example in teaching youth how to lead

PROVO, Utah — Previous youth activity programs in the Church were adult led with youth involvement. Children and Youth is different — it’s youth led with adult support.

Youth are no longer consumers but are now “the innovators and the leaders,” said Young Men General President Steven J. Lund during BYU Education Week on Friday, Aug. 20. 

Concluding the four-part class series “Understanding and Implementing the Children and Youth program,” President Lund and Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon spoke on “Shepherding the Shepherds: Helping Youth Lead.”

Using the example of the Savior’s perfect leadership, they identified several principles that can help adult leaders of youth as they build the capacity of youth quorum and class presidencies. 

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught during the 2021 Seminar for New Mission Leaders in June that missions, missionaries and missionary work prosper when they are led with high love and high expectations, all leading to greater faith in the Savior. 

The same is true for youth, President Cordon and President Lund said, showing the graphic Elder Andersen displayed during the seminar. 

Elder Neil L. Andersen teaches the importance of missionaries blending higher expectations with higher love to realize increased faith during the opening day of the 2021 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on June 24, 2021.
Elder Neil L. Andersen teaches the importance of missionaries blending higher expectations with higher love to realize increased faith during the opening day of the 2021 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on June 24, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“As we follow the example of the Savior, we better magnify our love, our expectations and our youth’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” President Cordon said. 

During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ met people where He found them and then invited them to greater faith. He offered love and extended personal invitations, specific to each individual. 

Drawing on the stories of Christ with the rich young ruler, the woman caught in adultery and the man blind from birth, President Cordon asked, “What invitations can we give to the youth and expectations so they can follow the Savior and know Him better?” She emphasized the importance of meeting youth where they are. 

Using the analogy of a rubber band, President Lund said, “Always create expectations for them that are in their capacity that will cause them to stretch.”

Seeking, recognizing and acting on revelation as youth serve in quorum and class presidencies will help them stretch. 

President Russell M. Nelson said: “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.”

Echoing President Nelson’s words, President Cordon said, “The Lord does not put an age stamp on revelation.” The youth are not too young. 

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund teach about building youth leaders through the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 20, 2021, in Provo, Utah.
Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund teach about building youth leaders through the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 20, 2021, in Provo, Utah. Credit: BYU Photo

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, “We underestimate their ability and overestimate their experience.” 

The experience part is where parents and leaders come in, President Cordon said. The youth need training. President Lund added, “Your job as youth leaders is to build relationships, be models to them of faithful gospel living and create leaders out of 11-, 12-, 14- and 16-year-olds.” 

They referenced a quote from President Henry B. Eyring, who stated, “If you … gave no training or did not watch to see that the training was enough, you failed them and the Lord.”

President Lund reminded the audience of the resources on the Children and Youth website for orienting quorum and class presidencies. 

Adding her testimony to those shared during the three previous classes, President Cordon concluded: “Truly, this is a remarkable time for these youth. And this is a remarkable time for you as parents, as grandparents, as leaders, to watch this come to fruition as they step up.

“And as they lead, and as they direct, as they petition heaven for others … they will be the mighty youth that will help us be victorious as we prepare the world for the Second Coming of our Savior.”

Read more from the Children and Youth class series at BYU Education Week: