2018 Curriculum for adults in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes the addition of Come, Follow Me.
With the addition of Come, Follow Me comes the news of the the end of Teachings of the Presidents of the Church. What does that mean for our Podcast, Third Hour of Power? Let’s talk more about the changes for the 2018 curriculum and how it differs from the current lesson styles.
The Current Lesson Format
In the LDS Church adult curriculum during the third hour of church is divided into three classes. The Relief Society is a class for the women. The men are split into the other two classes. The Elders Quorum is designed for younger men or those who are newly ordained to the priesthood. The High Priest Group is typically comprised of older men and those who have served in certain leadership callings.
All three classes study from the same curriculum, but teachers present the lessons in a way that meets the needs for that group. For nearly twenty years the format has been the same.
- The First Sundays of the month are taught by a member of the presidency or group leadership. The topic is typically selected by that groups leadership based on local need.
- For the Second and Third Sundays, everyone on the Church is taught using the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church Manual. We will complete manuals dedicated to all of our latter-day Prophets this year culminating with Gordon B. Hinckley.
- Forth Sundays are set aside to study Teachings for Our Times utilizing recent addresses during General Conference. The talks are selected by local leadership.
- When there is a Fifth Sunday the Bishopric selects a topic they feel like the congregation needs to hear.
Lesson Format for 2018
A posting from the Church’s website announced, “The Church has announced changes for Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society Sunday meetings in 2018 that affect not only what materials adults will study but also how they use the time they meet together to accomplish the Lord’s work.” The new monthly schedule will be:
- First Sundays being used as an opportunity for classes to counsel together about their local needs. This can be why we have seen such a push for folding counsels in church and in the home.
- Second and Third Sundays are ending the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church after a 19 year run and doubling down on Teachings for our Times.
- Forth Sundays will include lessons what follow the style of the youth curriculum with a Come, Follow Me manual for Melchizedek Priesthood holders and the Relief Society.
- Fifth Sundays will remain mostly the same with topic and lessons being directed by the local Bishopric.
New Tools and New Style of Teaching
I actually found a leak of the new curriculum a few days ago and was discussing it with my Elders Quorum President. He was surprised with the new format for First Sundays being a counsel, rather than a class. If love the new emphasis because this how we have been lead to teach from the Teaching in the Savior’s Way training site. Gone are the days where the leader gets up and talks at you in an attempt to convince men to do their Home Teaching. We sit in counsel and solve problems together; whether it be Home Teaching, a family in need, or how to give blessings to your children before a new school year. My fear is that this will follow the model of some wards where the Teacher Counsel Meeting is just another Sunday School class taught by the Sunday School President.
Teaching from recent General Conference address is also getting a revamp. I dreaded teaching these lessons at first. I felt like I was giving a talk that was just giving a lesser version of an amazing talk. It took me a while to learn how to turn General Conference talks into a lesson. To help with this lesson resource Elder LeGrand R. Richards offers that, “An eight-page insert in the general conference issues of the Liahona and Ensign magazines will include teaching tools for helping members search, analyze, and apply general conference messages…”
In addition to teaching tools for General Conference lessons, the insert will include, “a mechanism for topics of particular interest to apostles and prophets—such as the recent emphasis on the Sabbath day—to be discussed in fourth-Sunday meetings.”
What Does the Shift to Come, Follow Me Mean for Third Hour of Power?
Honestly, we don’t know yet. Third Hour of Power is a podcast we host twice a month. It is dedicated to helping you get more from your Teachings of the Presidents of the Church lessons. It worked because we were all studying the same content on the same schedule. (though some might be a week or two behind) I am watching fervently for more clarity on the lesson materials. I hope by the November Ensign we have a clear understanding of the schedule format.
Maybe this means we stop doing the podcast, maybe it can keep going with Come, Follow Me lessons. Regardless of the changes; our mission remains the same: To help you find more joy in your journey.
So let us know, how can we help you get more from your Third Hour lesson?