When they announced in general conference that church would be two hours instead of three starting in January, my son cheered. He’s nine and has a hard time sitting quietly through church. But I was a little disappointed because church is where I often see most of the people I love. A ward really gets to feel like a family, and that feeling of unity is often best felt when we are all gathered together. So I have been thinking of ways we can ease the anxiety over this change.
Find Time to Spend Together Outside Church
I don’t know about you, but when I was a teen and young adult, church was all about the social aspect. I had friends I adored but was too shy to reach out to on my own. Church was a time we were thrown together and could socialize. I loved those times.
But with shorter church hours, if you are feeling the loss because you don’t see your friends as often, this is a great time to arrange to meet outside the Sunday block. I have several ideas for you. They are just meant to get you thinking, but my husband laughed at some of them! So whatever you feel is best for you, go for it!
*Create a book club.
*Have a monthly family home evening where several families meet together.
*Form a Frisbee football team.
*Weekly aerobics club. I have some friends who meet three times a week and love spending time getting healthy!
*Shopping buddies is a fun way to get your errands done AND hang out with a friend.
*Form a dinner club where you each take turns hosting and sharing recipes.
*Ward game night — bring your favorite games and try something new.
*Form a Mom and tots group. It’s a great chance to gather weekly with any moms with preschoolers.
Reach Out to Minister
The new ministering program that has replaced home and visiting teaching is another great way to get to spend more time with ward members. As you get to know each other, fun ideas will come to you. Reach out to them and invite them to dinner.
You can form a game night group that gives you time to get to know each other. The beauty of ministering is that you can do it in whatever form fits you and your ministering friend’s needs. Even a regular Xbox gaming appointment might benefit you!
Remember, Family is Not Always Blood
I love the phrase, “Friends are the family you choose.” Many of us don’t have a family close by that we get to spend time with, so the church’s request that we start focusing worship at home, with the support of the ward family, can feel hollow and confusing.
But I am here to remind you that you have friends close by that can become your family. Arranging to meet with them to have scripture study or to study Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families will fill that need for family wonderfully.
Change May Be Hard, But It Brings Growth
I recently saw an interview with President Nelson and Elder Stevenson where they discussed their vision for what is to come. President Nelson pointed out that the whole gospel is not yet restored. His enthusiasm is contagious! I am including the video below. I love when President Nelson says, “If you think the Church has been fully restored, you’re just seeing the beginning. There’s much more to come. Wait till next year, and then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills, get your rest. It’s going to be exciting!”
Here is a video that shares the whole message. President Nelson is so cute when he smiles!
I am so excited for the things to come. After watching this interview, I went to my scriptures, and there in 1 Nephi 13 it’s all laid out just as President Nelson said. I am so eager to read the scriptures that are yet to be given to us.
I love the scriptures we have now. And I know that the changes the Church has been making are to prepare the hearts of the people.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni prepared the hearts of the people before they went to battle (They won spectacularly by the way)— and I see President Nelson doing the same thing! He has asked the sisters to read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2018. There are new manuals to guide our personal study and we will even have more time to study next year as the Church reduces the Sunday church block from three hours to two.
This is a wonderful time to be a member of the Church. I pray you can easily find the blessings that are coming and that you are blessed with greater friendships as you spend more time with ward members outside of church.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.