Sacrament Meeting can be one of the most spiritually fulfilling meetings in church. The talks can be fresh, exciting, and deeply moving. They can set the tone for your spiritual outlook for the rest of the week at least. Sometimes a talk is so good that you actually remember it for years later.
It can also be one of the most painful meetings at church. Talks can be rote, predictable, and profoundly boring. My least favorite are the talks that simply quote general authorities. One of my very first posts on this blog was what I thought was a crisis of rhetoric in the church.
So, what if you (the reader) were in charge of programing for your sacrament meetings? What practical advice do you have? Would you instruct the speakers on how to speak? How would you do that? What kinds of topics would you like? Are there some topics that are necessarily interesting, no matter how bad the speaker might screw it up? I want to compile a guide here for great sacrament meeting tips and topics.
One more thing: Would the topics you would suggest change if this were a singles ward with college students and nannies? The guide that I am trying to put together here doesn’t require that this be the framework, but I am especially interested in thoughts about this situation.
7 Replies to “Sacrament Meeting Suggestions”
I would love, at least once a year, for a sacrament meeting to be nothing but singing and special musical numbers.Our Bishop did something nice for Christmas this year. He stood up, bore his testimony, and then we sang Christmas songs for the remainder of the meeting, with some truly beautiful special musical numbers intermixed.
Our sacrament meeting yesterday was excellent. We had a last-minute cancellation by our speakers (long story), so the bishop decided to have a sing-and-testimony meeting. He invited members of the congregation to briefly talk about their favorite hymn, then we sang the hymn. I think we’re going to try to have a similar meeting at least 1 or 2 times a year.
We had our Ward Conference Sunday, which was on Temple Work. And the SP called several people out of the congregation to tell how long their engagement was, what goals they had as an engaged couple, and how their temple sealing had helped them meet those goals. It was interesting. I think perhaps Sacrament Meeting could be improved by having just one longer talk and several short “thoughts” (if people would keep them short and pithy.) It’s more interesting to hear several different views on the subject. I say: Never Recycle Conference Talks! They are boring enough the first time.
Thanks for these thoughts so far! They are very useful.For you scores of lazy passsers-by, I am sure that your lazy fingers can muster something to say about what would make a good sacrament meeting….
Lazy Boy reliners.Subs and Soda for sacrament.I think that the recomendation to not repeat hymns is a bad idea. We have some hymns that are very powerfull testaments to the restoration. They should be sung more often than every couple of years. For that matter, have the ward music director set hymns for a Sunday, and assign talks based off the hymns instead of the other way around. See if that works.I would like to see some more thought in the topics assigned. I think alot of the suggested topics become repetative.Perhaps a good 5th Sunday combined meeting topic would be “how to prepare and give a talk.” I don’t know how many more food storage 5th Sundays I can put up with, anyway. We have workshops for improving teaching skills, but speaking is a different skill and it’s never addressed.I also think sacrament meeting could be shortened by 10 minutes, and cut one speaker, but not much can be done about that at the local level.
I think the best way to improve sacrament meeting would be to eliminate either Sunday School or Priesthood/Relief Society. Doing so would make even dull talks seem much more manageable. My only other thought is that most sacrament meetings lack a sort of quiet moment outside of the time it takes to pass the sacrament. The quiet moments just before taking the bread and water and then just after make up my favorite part of the meeting. I would enjoy an additional moment or two of official yet personal meditation and prayer.
A basic and unavoidable element of sacrament meeting are the “speakers”. IMO, which I think is widely shared, too many of the talks are, as you’ve stated, more or less rehashing the same old stuff. Out of all the members of the church some are capable of little else, and are naturally better orators on their own. I think there’s also a larger group that could provide some variety when provided with the proper training.Since members from all three groups will inevitably be speaking it would help to provide some training/guidance for all, expecting those in the third group to really take hold of it.I’ve found it helpful to have the speaker gauge the audience and try to determine what it is they need to hear for that week. I think targeting people’s needs and then working with that in the ramifications of the topic assigned by the bishopric is often effective.got to run…