Relief Society Meetings…Again

Relief Society Meetings…Again

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At the risk of sounding like a nag (otherwise known as my job as a wife, mother, and woman), I revisit this daunting topic…Relief Society Meetings.

Many of us are still struggling with what to do about these meetings.  Sis. Beck, in her most recent talk on the subject, was pretty specific on what NOT to do, and we are stumped on what we CAN do.

Sis. Beck has suggested that we think differently than we have in the past.  That means we can’t use what we have done in the past as a marker, because it will stunt our creativity.  We need to think anew.

In the past, we have held our additional Relief Society Meetings once a month.  Sis. Beck says, “They are generally held monthly, but the RS presidency may recommend that the meetings be held more often or less frequently.”  So, if we throw out the idea of “once a month meetings”, what are some outside-of-the-box meeting ideas?

  • Sharing thoughts and ideas on-line (and not meeting at all)
  • Interested groups meeting weekly for a series of lessons for a short period of time
  • An ongoing group project
  • Planning, learning, and laboring toward a specific goal
  • Organized ward-wide effort working toward the Bishop’s goals

Looking at things differently, we need to start here with Sis. Beck:

“Every bishop has the responsibility for his specific ward.  Each ward Relief Society president has a calling to assist one bishop.  Each bishop and Relief Society presidency have had hands laid on their heads to receive inspiration for their particular responsibilities and not for any other ward or group of Relief Society sisters.”

Most bishops set ward goals at the beginning of the year.   As a Relief Society, we would be wise to take those goals and help ward members accomplish them.  Break them down into manageable activities, challenges, interests, etc.

Our purpose, as the Relief Society, is no longer to entertain, or fill a quota.  It is, however, to work with the Priesthood in saving souls.  If your activity does not spiritually strengthen your sister in some way, you shouldn’t be wasting her time.

When we think of service, humanitarian service is the first thing that comes to mind.  There is much more service that can be done.

  • In the home:  strengthening marriage, families, the individual, raising skill levels
  • In the neighborhood: community, civic, widows, neighbors
  • In the temple: family history, sharing temple cards, maintaining high moral standards
  • In the last days: preach and teach true doctrines, prepare for hard times and disaster
  • In the world: there are countless ways to give humanitarian service, as well as battle moral issues

If you meet together as sisters in the gospel with a purpose, socializing will happen automatically, and at a much deeper level.

“The Relief Society president should oversee the meetings, but may ask the first or second counselor or recommend a sister in the ward be called to be coordinator of the meetings.”  Don’t let this mandate scare you.  Enlist the help of the entire presidency, including the secretary and Meeting Coordinator.  Allow sisters in the ward to take on some of the responsibility.  Involve as many sisters as are willing to help.  Use all the talents, skills, and abilities that are available to you.  The president isn’t there to DO everything, she is there to “organize, teach, and inspire sisters” that all may fulfill the work of the Lord.

After pondering the bishop’s goals, decide how to set up your goal plan and timeframe.  Help your sister accomplish the goal whether it is cooking, working on her marriage, food storage, getting a temple recommend, learning better the gospel, etc.  Some goals may take two months, four, six, or an entire year.  Through consistency, mini-goals, and much encouragement, each family in the ward will be blessed as the sisters accomplish these goals, strengthening themselves and their families, and fulfilling the true purpose of the Relief Society—Saving Souls.

Encourage sisters to start neighborhood groups that don’t quite fit the purposes of Relief Society.  Sisters enjoy getting together for Book Clubs and Lunch Groups.  But recognize that these gatherings don’t support the purposes of the Relief Society.  Set your Relief Society Meetings apart for spiritual growth and relief from the world, and all its intrusions.

There are certain areas all of us need help in, and there are certain areas that only a few sisters need help in.  One meeting per month no longer fits our needs as sisters.  In order to fulfill each precious sister, we want to cater to her by helping young mothers, older widows, time-starved workers, lonely home-bounds, every single sister under our care.  Each sister’s life must be touched to fulfill her desires, her needs to serve, her responsibilities, her purpose in life.  Many of us will find that we are very much alike in some needs.  We will find that some can help others in surprising ways.  We will discover in one another buried gifts and talents.  We will discover why God loves each and every one of us.

By fulfilling our true purpose, we will understand, and be more like, our earlier sisters in the gospel.

  1. Amy Rigby
    Amy Rigby08-22-2010

    Dear sister- I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found your words after searching for some type of inspiration on how to do my new calling as the new RS meeting(midweek) coordinator (what used to be Enrichement coordinator).
    Since Sister Beck’s talk, I knew that every mtg that was held after that was not done the Lords way, not done the wawy Sister Beck instructed. Everything was about “entertaining” the sisters or Fun, Fun Fun. This is the last days and we need to take RS a little more seriously and get back to what the Relief Society stands for. Your words are exactly how I’ve been feeling and I feel Heavenly Father trusts me to do it His way and perhaps that’s why I was called.
    I know the sisters in my ward won’t take to the new “changes” I’m going to be bringing them, but like it’s been said, if we are not spiritually enriching the lives of our sisters through these mtgs then why hold them? Thank you thank you thank you! Sister Rigby

  2. jtolman
    jtolman08-23-2010

    You have your work cut out for you, but I know, with the help of the Spirit, you can do this, and find joy in the process.

    It’s an interesting dichotomy that each of us has to come to terms with:

    1) Do I want the sisters to like me and the Church? Then I have to be entertaining. But the world is my competition and I will never be as clever, all-encompassing, or fulfilling enough.

    2) Do I want to participate in the Kingdom of God by bringing the sisters unto Christ? Then I have to follow the Spirit, be Spiritual, and do Spiritual things. The world cannot compare with the Spirit. The Spirit is the most clever, all-encompassing, fulfilling being there is.

    Faced with these two choices, it’s obvious which one to follow; however, we all end up choosing the first (easier) one.

    Your sisters are good people. They will eventually recognize the value of spiritually-based activities. But remember, all things are spiritual unto the Lord. The Lord is FUN. We aren’t expected to always be serious while doing good. It just takes a little extra effort to be organized, goal-oriented, and purposeful whenever we get together. :)

  3. Erin Peterson
    Erin Peterson07-28-2012

    This is my new calling…haven’t started yet, but really appreciate your advice and instruction!!!

  4. Desiree
    Desiree09-19-2013

    I’M LOOKING FOR THE ORIGINAL TALK SISTER BECK SAID ALL THIS INFO!!!! Was it in a General RS Meeting or just a RS training meeting? please, please help!

  5. Jan
    Jan09-19-2013

    I’ve updated the post and the link is there now. She introduced the new guidelines at the Women’s Meeting in Sept. 2009. These guidelines are still in force until the new Relief Society Presidency changes them.

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