Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Lesson - How does the Holy Ghost help me teach the gospel? - What I Did

Kay, so you may have noticed this isn't the third lesson listed under January's Sunday School schedule - it's actually the last lesson.  We were counseled in a ward meeting to try to coordinate the lessons between the Priests quorum, Laurels class, and Sunday School class.  The Priests and Laurels gave me lists of what they were teaching this month, and I had to move things around a little bit so that the kidlets weren't getting the same lesson as they were going to get in Young Women's and Priesthood.  

1.  Making Connections

I deviated a little from the norm this week, not asking the usual, "What have you learned recently from seminary/young women's/young men's/experiences with friends" route.  Instead, I just focused on the "extra" making connections question they throw in every now and then.  This week's was "When was a time you felt the Spirit in a Church class, and what did the teacher do to invite the Spirit?"

So at the beginning of class, I handed out slips of paper and pens to every kidlet.  The slips each said:

Think about a time in which you have felt the Spirit during a Church class, in seminary, or in a family home evening.  What did the teacher do to invite the Spirit?

As they were thinking, I modeled the kind of answer I wanted.  I told them about a lady who used to be a Relief Society teacher.  Her name is Jennifer.  I told them that I always felt the Spirit in her class, and I knew it was because she had studied the material for a couple of weeks before.  I knew she had been praying fervently to be able to teach what we needed to hear.  She knew all of us and was able to call on us by name.  She loved us and wanted us to learn what the Spirit wanted us to learn.  Every class was different - there wasn't a specific formula she used every time she taught.  She allowed the Spirit to take the lesson in the direction that it needed to go.  So sometimes it was her teaching and testifying alone, but sometimes an entire class was us raising our hands and asking questions and answering each others' questions and testifying to each other.  And she always let the Spirit take it to where it needed to go.

So then the kids shared some things.  One kid said that opening hymns always seem to bring the spirit to different classes.  One girl talked about how her seminary teacher does the same thing that Jennifer does - allow the Spirit to take the class where it needs to go.

2.  Opportunities to Teach

At the top of the board, I had written (before class), "Opportunities I Have to Teach the Gospel to Others."  I asked them to give me examples of times they are able to teach the gospel to others, in formal and informal settings.  Among the list they made were these answers:

informal conversations
*  giving the scripture or thought or devotional in seminary, Young Women's, Priesthood, or meetings
*  giving a talk in sacrament
*  bearing testimony
*  activities you're asked to do in church classes or seminary
*  Young Women in Excellence and New Beginnings

I also pointed out that, not only are they teaching a lot now, but they will be teaching a lot very soon, whether they're going on missions in the next year or so, or whether they go to college.  I told them about my friend Rachel, who, as a freshman at Ricks, was immediately called into the Relief Society presidency and had to teach one lesson every month.  I told them they had to get used to being in front of people and teaching people, because they were going to be put in that position a whole lot.

3.  Scripture Activity

I wrote the following four questions on the board, but it took FOREVER and I wish I had just written them out on a poster instead.  Word to the wise.

Why is it important to teach by the Spirit?
*  How does the Spirit bless us as teachers?
*  How does the Spirit bless those we teach?
*  What should we do to invite the Spirit in our teaching?

I told them to pick one of the questions.  Then I gave them each one of the following slips of paper:

Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read John 15:26 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read D&C 50:13-22 and answer the question you chose here:________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read D&C 52:9 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read D&C 52:9 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read Alma 17:3 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read 2 Ne. 33:1-2 and answer the question you chose here:__________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read D&C 42:11-17 and answer the question you chose here:________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read D&C 11:21 and answer the question you chose here:__________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

Read D&C 84:85 and answer the question you chose here:__________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________.

We were missing a couple of kids, so we had two slips left over.  I modeled what I wanted them to do by filling out the extra two.  For both, I had picked the question, Why is it important to teach by the Spirit?  I had D&C 50:13-22, and I wrote on my paper, "Because the Spirit teaches truth to people.  Because if it's by some other way, it's not of God.  Because both teacher and receiver can be edified this way."  I also had John 15:26, and my answer was, "Because the Spirit is the one that is able to reach the heart of the hearers."  

I shared my two scriptures and had the kids mark them in their scriptures.  I had them sectionalize D&C 50:13-22 and write in the margins, "It's important to teach by the Spirit."

So now that I had modeled what I wanted, I had them share their scriptures.  We all looked them up together as the student read (or, if it was long, summarized) their scripture and give us their answer to their question.

And then we ran out of time!

But I'll tell you what I was going to do for the rest of the class.

3.  Elder Oaks's Talk

I was going to divide the kids into four groups.  Each was going to take one section to read, then make a list of things they could do to teach by the Spirit.  They were going to add to their lists as the other groups present. 
Here are the four worksheets I was going to give to the four groups:

Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.

The Lord asks this question of each who has been ordained or set apart to preach the word of truth by the Spirit: “Doth he preach it [the word] by the Spirit of truth or some other way?” (D&C 50:17). In other words, applying these words to our own situation, do we teach by the Spirit, or do we teach by our own intellect?
Section 50 explains that if we teach by the Spirit, then the person we teach can receive the word by the Spirit, and both the teacher and the learner “are edified and rejoice together” (see D&C 50:21–22).
In contrast, the revelation explains, if we teach by “some other way it is not of God” (D&C 50:20).
That is a powerful teaching. If we teach in the manner the Lord has prescribed, He can send His Spirit to edify and enlighten those whom we teach. If we do not teach in His way—if we teach according to our own knowledge and according to our own intellect and if we slavishly tie ourselves to our own preparation or to someone else’s wisdom or text—our teaching “is not of God.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that principle in these words:
“If you teach the word of truth—now note, you’re saying what is true, every thing you say is accurate and right—by some other way than the Spirit, it is not of God. Now what is the other way to teach than by the Spirit? Well, obviously, it is by the power of the intellect.
“Suppose I came here tonight and delivered a great message on teaching, and I did it by the power of the intellect without any of the Spirit of God attending. Suppose that every word that I said was true, no error whatever, but it was an intellectual presentation. This revelation says: ‘If it be by some other way it is not of God’ (D&C 50:18).
“That is, God did not present the message through me because I used the power of the intellect instead of the power of the Spirit. Intellectual things—reason and logic—can do some good, and they can prepare the way, and they can get the mind ready to receive the Spirit under certain circumstances. But conversion comes and the truth sinks into the hearts of people only when it is taught by the power of the Spirit” (The Foolishness of Teaching [pamphlet, 1981], 9).
If we rely on debate techniques or sales methods or group psychology, we are preaching the gospel in some other way, and it is not of God.
We must teach the gospel by the Spirit, and we must testify to the truth. When this is done, the Holy Spirit will testify to the sincere seeker that the things that have been said are true.
Intellectual things—reason and logic—can prepare the way, and they can help us in our preparation. But if we are tied to them instead of to the Spirit of the Lord, we are not teaching the gospel in the Lord’s way.
The Lord stressed that truth when He said, “Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit” (D&C 11:12).
This is the way we must teach the gospel.



Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.


Teaching by the Spirit requires first that we keep the commandments and be clean before God so His Spirit can dwell in our personal temples. This principle is taught in many scriptures, and it is taught by all the living prophets.
We know that the Spirit of the Lord will not dwell in an unclean temple (see 1 Cor. 3:16–17). We must, therefore, cleanse ourselves by repentance, by confession when necessary, and by avoiding impure actions and thoughts.
The need to keep the commandments and be clean is also evident in the sacramental prayers we hear every week. According to the words of these prayers, when we partake of the sacrament, we witness that we are willing to take His name upon us, a very sacred and solemn thing. We also witness that we will keep His commandments and that we will always remember Him. Surely those who keep the promise to always remember the Son of God would not profane His name or use words of vulgarity or coarseness or deliberately expose themselves to surroundings or influences that are inconsistent with always remembering the Son of God.
We do all of this, the prayer pronounces, so that we “may always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77).
We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost—the medium of individual revelation—if we are in transgression or if we are angry or if we are in rebellion against God’s chosen authorities.
Similarly, the best way to have the spirit of revelation is to listen to and study words spoken under the influence of the Holy Ghost. In other words, we obtain the Spirit by reading the scriptures or reading or listening to the talks of inspired leaders.
In summary on this point, the Spirit of the Lord, which is the medium of revelation, will not dwell in an unclean temple, and if we are to have that Spirit with us, we must keep the commandments of God and keep ourselves clean in thought and deed.



Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.


As we devote ourselves to the Lord’s work, we must be involved in the hard work we call preparation.
Hyrum Smith learned this lesson in May 1829, just after the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood and almost a year before the Church was organized. The Lord gave him a revelation through his brother, the Prophet Joseph Smith. In that revelation Hyrum was told that he was not yet called to preach. And until he was called, he should keep the commandments of the Lord and prepare himself. These are the Lord’s words:
“Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
“But now hold your peace; study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men, or that which is now translating, yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation, and then shall all things be added thereto” (D&C 11:21–22).
In the revelation on priesthood given a few years later in Kirtland, Ohio, the Lord instructed the Saints further on this subject: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (D&C 84:85).
In short, the Lord’s instruction to teach by the Spirit does not relieve us in the slightest degree from the necessity of making personal preparation. Indeed, in view of the foregoing scriptures, the Lord has emphasized it.
We must study the scriptures. We must study the teachings of the living prophets. We must learn all that we can to make ourselves presentable and understandable to our children, our students, and our investigators. That includes grooming, speaking clearly, and knowing how to avoid offending people through ignorance of their culture and their personal and family circumstances. All of this and much more is part of preparation. And preparation is a prerequisite to teaching by the Spirit.


Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.


The next principle after preparation is the requirement that we desire to be led by the Spirit and so are willing to put aside all our preparation and follow the Spirit’s direction. That is a difficult principle to understand and an even more difficult one to apply.
When I have tried to teach that principle in the past, I have observed that some people use it as an excuse for not preparing. Some will say, “Since the Spirit may prompt me to cast away my prepared talk, perhaps I don’t need to prepare at all.” That approach is not “treasur[ing] up in [our] minds continually the words of life.”
We should be in constant general preparation by treasuring up in our minds the teachings of the gospel, and when invited to give a talk or to present a lesson, we should make specific preparations. Most of the time we will carry through with our preparations. But sometimes there will be an authentic impression to leave something out or to add something. We should make careful preparation, but we should not be exclusively bound to that preparation.

4.  Brother Richardson's Talk

I was going to give each kid an excerpt from Brother Richardson's talk, and then have them do a crossword puzzle to kind of get the main ideas out of it.  I knew that, by this point, they would be tired of lists and of writing sentences and would need a new way of synthesizing.

Here is the excerpt I was going to give to each of them:


An Excerpt from “Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit” by Matthew O. Richardson (Gen. Conference, October 2011)



First, the Holy Ghost teaches individuals in a very personal way. This makes it possible for us to intimately know truth for ourselves. Because of our different needs, circumstances, and progression, the Holy Ghost teaches what we must know and do so we may become what we must be. Please note that while the Holy Ghost teaches “the truth of all things,”4 He does not teach all truth all at once. The Spirit teaches truth “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.”5

Those who teach after the manner of the Spirit understand they teach people, not lessons. As such, they overcome the urge to cover everything in a manual or teach all they have learned on the subject and focus instead on those things that their family or class members need to know and do. Parents, leaders, and teachers who mirror how the Spirit teaches learn quickly that real teaching involves much more than just talking and telling. As a result, they intentionally pause to listen, carefully observe, and then discern what to do next.6 When they do this, the Holy Ghost is in a position to teach both learners and teachers what they should do and say.7

Second, the Holy Ghost teaches by inviting, prompting, encouraging, and inspiring us to act. Christ assured us that we come to the truth when we live doctrine and act accordingly.8 The Spirit leads, guides, and shows us what to do.9 He will not, however, do for us what only we can do for ourselves. You see, the Holy Ghost cannot learn for us, feel for us, or act for us because this would be contrary to the doctrine of agency. He can facilitate opportunities and invite us to learn, feel, and act.

Those who teach after this manner of the Spirit help others by inviting, encouraging, and providing them opportunities to use their agency. Parents, leaders, and teachers realize they cannot feel for, learn for, or even repent for their family, congregation, or class members. Rather than asking, “What can I do for my children, class members, or others?” they ask, “How do I invite and help those around me to learn for themselves?” Parents who mirror the workings of the Holy Ghost create homes where families learn to value rather than just learn about values. In like manner, rather than just talking about doctrines, teachers help learners understand and live gospel doctrines. The Holy Ghost is unrestrained as individuals exercise their agency appropriately.

And then here is my jpg of my crossword puzzle:

And that's all, folks!

5 comments:

Brad Jones said...

Kar, I have to teach a Sunday School class on Sunday and it happens to be the exact lesson you have outlined here! Your preparation and ideas have made it so easy for me to prepare! I hope you are ok for me to use it! Thanks for all your hard work. It is going to make me look great! Brad Jones (Camille's hubs)

Allie said...

Thanks for all the work you put into these lessons. I read, prepare and then come here to see what other ideas you might have! I love the breakdown of each segment. This is wonderful!

caycox said...

Thank you! Thank you!! My husband and I teach the 17 year olds (new calling) and it's way out of my comfort zone! Your blog helps so much!! I always come here to look for good ideas on how to not be totally boring. Lol. Thanks a million!

Alison Packer said...

I've got your blog bookmarked. You always have such great ideas and I really appreciate that you share them with us!

skay said...

Many thanks for your effort, creativity, and allowing others to see your insight in teaching the youth. Your lesson have helped me a great deal.

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