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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Plan now for General Conference Reminders

General Conference is coming up in a few weeks! If you've ever forgotten it was Conference Weekend, you know there is nothing worse than showing up for church on time at your regular Ward building and seeing an empty parking lot!

For long-time members, General Conference isn't anything unusual, but for investigators and recent converts, General Conference is a new concept. While we may all know where to go (and when) the first weekend of April and October (or at least how to look it up), new members may not have a clue.

Here are some ideas to help you make sure that everyone you're working with has the opportunity to watch General Conference (and NOT show up for Church at the regular place/time):

#1- Announce (and explain) General Conference in Gospel Essentials Sunday School class for at least 2 weeks prior to Conference. Even if you explain it once, not everyone may be paying attention and there may be some people missing from class the first time. Be sure to emphasize that there will not be any regular Church meetings on Conference Sunday - the Conference broadcasts will replace regular Church meetings on this Sunday.

#2- Provide a handout* (sample shown below) that has a basic explanation of General Conference and the dates/times/viewing options appropriate for your area. Hand these out in Sunday School and before/after Sacrament meeting during the 2 weeks before Conference, so you can catch as many people as possible. I usually make extras of these handouts and give them to our full-time missionaries so they have something to give to investigators who may be interested in attending.

#3- If you send out a new member newsletter, include the explanation of General Conference and the dates/times/viewing options for your area, etc. Again, be sure to emphasize that there will not be any regular Church meetings on Conference Sunday - the Conference broadcasts will replace the regular Church meetings on this Sunday. Yes, its repeating yourself, but this is often misunderstood by new members.

#4- Consider asking Ward leaders (if appropriate) to announce General Conference times/viewing options (in Relief Society, Priesthood, etc). Some Wards do this, others do not.

#5- Reminder phone calls (or emails) - as a last minute reminder, it doesn't hurt to give a quick call or email on Friday to remind investigators/new members that its Conference weekend.

#6- If possible, consider inviting some investigators or new members to your home to view Conference with your family (or to attend Conference with you at a Church building providing the broadcast)

You don't have to use all of these methods, of course, but I feel like the more reminders, the better. This may seem like overkill, but I'd rather repeat myself 4 times than have someone tell me later that they showed up for Church and nobody was there and/or they missed General Conference because they didn't know about it.

*My handouts usually look something like this (times and viewing options will vary by region, this is just shown for example):

General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
October 1st and 2nd

General Conference is held twice a year and is broadcast from Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City to members all over the world. Speakers will include the Prophet (President of the Church), members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other Church Leaders. Since each of the 4 sessions of the Conference will feature different speakers and different topics, Church members watch all 4 sessions.

Saturday the 1st- morning session 9:00-11:00am
and afternoon session 1:00-3:00pm
Sunday the 2nd- morning session 9:00-11:00am
and afternoon session 1:00-3:00pm

AT HOME: If you get BYU-Channel or local access Channel __, you can view all 4 Conference broadcasts at home on your tv.

AT CHURCH: All 4 Conference broadcasts are shown on a large movie screen in the chapel at the Stake Center (located at _________). Sunday-clothing is appropriate if you attend in the chapel.

ONLINE: All 4 Conference broadcasts can be viewed at the Church's official website,

Please mark your calenders - there are no regular Church meetings this weekend - instead, everyone will be attending Conference broadcasts (either at home or at the Stake Center Building)

See you at Conference!

New member social success!

(This post was created months ago, but never posted for some reason...)

We had a great 'dessert social' for some of our new members tonight. It was held at the Bishop's home and it went really well. We have about 17 adults who were baptized in the last few years, and of those 17 the Bishop selected 9 (plus their spouses & kids, if applicable) to invite to this social. We were somewhat limited on space because it was held in a home, which was the reason for the limit on attendees, but we hope to have more "socials" like this in the future. It was a great way for newer members to socialize (with each other, the Bishop, and the ward-missionaries) outside of Church.