Throughout this year Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women classes have been choosing any topic from the “Come, Follow Me” manuals for youth for their Sunday meetings.
Starting in 2020, curriculum for youth will be aligned with the gospel topics found in the scripture blocks being studied at home, in seminary and in Sunday School.
While the format for “Come, Follow Me” for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women will remain the same, the role of quorum and class presidencies has been elevated, and the lesson outlines have been reduced and redesigned.
Elder Michael T. Ringwood, General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Priesthood and Family Department, emphasized the timing of this adjustment to enhance the gospel learning experience for youth.
“This slight adjustment and alignment comes at a time to reinforce with the youth the home-centered approach to gospel learning that is already aligned in Primary and Sunday School. With the alignment that will take place in seminary, Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood, we now have all members of a family studying the same scriptures each week,” Elder Ringwood said.
Elevating quorum and class presidencies
Sister Michelle Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, and Brother Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, explained some of the changes youth and their leaders will notice starting in January.
First, the outline itself has been modified slightly to give more responsibility to quorum and class presidencies and emphasis on the work of salvation.
“Youth leaders are responsible for their quorum and class meetings, not the adult leaders,” Brother Holmes said. “This meeting outline gives our quorum and class presidencies a chance to lead.”
With the quorum and class presidencies in charge, the Sunday experience for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women is designed to be different than a Sunday School or seminary class, Sister Craig said.
“When the quorums and classes meet together, it’s not just for a lesson on a gospel topic — they are having a meeting on how to do the work God has given us,” she said.
In the October general conference, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, under the direction of President Russell M. Nelson, announced organizational changes to strengthen youth as part of the Lord’s battalion to gather Israel. Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women meetings are where the youth plan how they specifically will fulfill their role in that gathering.
Read more: Ward Young Men presidencies discontinued, other organizational changes for youth announced
The best quorum meetings Brother Holmes has attended during his travels around the world accomplish three things:
First, there is an edifying gospel discussion. Second, the young men discuss who in their ward and community needs their help. And third, they organize to go and meet those needs, he observed.
This is a natural byproduct of following the meeting outline with the Spirit, Sister Craig said. The new outlines will continue to follow the pattern of “Counseling Together,” “Learning the Doctrine” and “Acting in Faith.”
“As they are involved in linking arms and hearts around the work of salvation, we hope youth have these unique experiences as quorums and classes and they feel unity and a sense of purpose and belonging — which our youth need and want,” she said.
Having experiences to learn and act on the doctrine, while getting their own errand from the Lord, “helps set the gospel deep into their hearts,” Brother Holmes said.
Aligning with the home study of ‘Come, Follow Me’
To further set the gospel deep into the hearts of the youth, doctrinal discussions in quorum and class meetings will now support what they are learning at home.
Rather than having a list of options, there will be a set outline for each meeting on a gospel principle that correlates with that week’s “Come, Follow Me — For Individuals and Families.” Lesson topics will continue to come from the nine doctrinal topics taught in seminary.
Another change is that Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood will now be taught from the same manual.
By aligning the outlines and consolidating to one manual, “Come, Follow Me” for youth will be about 30 percent of what it was previously, Brother Holmes said. The curriculum will also be published in many more languages.
“A lot of that is because it could be so simplified,” Brother Holmes said of the language expansion. “We’re excited to get these gospel resources to so many more youth.”
While youth study the Book of Mormon chronologically at home, in seminary and in Sunday School next year, the “Come, Follow Me” lessons in Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women will take a deeper dive into a doctrine taught in those scripture blocks. These gospel learning experiences will be a key part of the new Children and Youth program.
To Brother Holmes, the youth curriculum adjustments and alignment falls in line with the other changes announced to strengthen the rising generation.
“I testify that the Lord is weaving a tapestry here; He sees the end from the beginning,” Brother Holmes said. “And this piece fits in so well with what He’s done. It’s a ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’ process to bring all things together in one in Christ, as Elder Bednar has taught.
“And also, as Elder Bednar has emphasized, the simplicity that is in Christ, things are becoming so much simpler. And this is one example of that.”
Kandice Coulter, a Young Women president in Atlanta, Georgia, said she is excited for the youth curriculum alignment because it will help focus the lessons without having an “every-other-week-skip” from what is being discussed in Sunday School.
“It’s really figuring out how the scriptures apply to them,” Coulter said. “And being able to take that and say … ‘How are you using this to define your divine nature and put into practice the four areas of the new program?’”
She said she hopes the young women in her ward will see how the gospel teachings come together like “pieces in a puzzle” as they apply what they study at home, in seminary and in Young Women.
The adjusted “Come, Follow Me” outlines for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women in 2020 will be released quarterly in the Gospel Library app and on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, with the first set coming in December. Updated print manuals will be available in 2021.