One of the biggest challenges to the changes coming the Church curriculum is going to be being consistent in our gospel studies at home. Whether we will be studying the Come, Follow Me manual alone or with our families, there always seem to be things that try to get in our way of regular study. This would be a great lesson to focus on solutions, encouragement, and to put into place support systems.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suggests the following while leading this discussion:
“Elder David A. Bednar compared consistent family scripture study and other righteous habits to small brushstrokes that make up a beautiful painting. To help members understand what Elder Bednar taught, perhaps you could display a painting in which the artist’s brushstrokes are visible. Members could then read Elder Bednar’s analogy, found in “More Diligent and Concerned at Home” (Ensign or Liahona,Nov. 2009, 19–20), and discuss how the brushstrokes in this painting are like scripture study. What has helped us overcome the obstacles to consistent gospel study, whether we are studying as individuals or with our families? What did President Russell M. Nelson promise to those who “diligently work to remodel [their homes] into a center of gospel learning”? (see “Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,”Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018). Provide time for members to ponder and share what they are inspired to do because of what they learned today.”
”More Diligent and Concerned at Home” by Elder David A. Bednar
“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints” by President Russell M. Nelson (Short but look at the promises made!!)
“Following the Pioneers” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks
“Stay on the Path” by Sister Rosemary M. Wixom
“Endure and Be Lifted Up” by President Russell M. Nelson (he even does an object lesson- watch the video around 3 minutes)
Deseret Bookshelf PLUS Recommendations
Remember, as a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS member, you can access these eBooks or audio books anytime. Find out more about Deseret Bookshelf PLUS.
“The Continuous Conversion” by Brad Wilcox
“When Thou Art Converted: Continuing Our Search for Happiness” by President M. Russell Ballard
Questions to Ponder
What are some the stumbling blocks that keep us from being consistent in our gospel study?
What are some habits we can start developing now to help us be consistent in our gospel study with the new curriculum for 2019?
In what ways have you seen the power of doing small and simple things in your life?
What are some small things that we might remove from our homes in order to make room for the small and simple things that matter?
How might we want to begin to remodel our homes so it’s a place where gospel study may flourish?
How does your home currently invite gospel study?
What things help you and your family remain consistent in gospel study?
How has your gospel study already made a difference in your life? What do you hope this new emphasis of study will mean for you and your family?
What things might help when we feel frustrated in our efforts to be consistent?
What can we do to be consistent in gospel study even when those around us may seem to be against it?
What brushstrokes did you add to your canvas this week?
What helps you continue on even when you feel like your efforts don’t make a difference?
Who can help you when you are struggling with your personal or family gospel study?
If you accepted President Nelson’s challenge to the women to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, how has that challenge blessed your life and helped you be consistent in your study?
These are my ideas. My hope is reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class.
Consistency reminds me of enduring to the end. One way we are able to endure to the end is because we faithfully study the gospel of Jesus Christ daily. You can also compare this to practicing an instrument or other skill daily. We can’t become experts or even claim that skill if we don’t practice regularly.
A sister in my mother’s ward shared a story about her watermelon plants. She took great care of her plants, watering them a little bit every day as required. Then she went out of town. Upon her return, the plants were obviously struggling from not being watered enough so she put the hose on them and flooded them all day. When she went out the next morning, all the watermelon had burst! It was too much water all at once; they couldn’t handle it. Discuss how our consistent smaller study on a daily basis can do much more for us then an immediate flood. You may want to discuss how General Conference weekend is always wonderful but it is a struggle at the end because we are already so full. That’s why it’s important to go back and study the talks in smaller doses again. Daily scripture study has a greater impact on us than a one week cram session.
Ask your class to tell you all their stumbling blocks, excuses they hear from their family and friends, and everything that might get in the way of our consistent gospel study. Write what answers you can on the board to give a general idea but don’t obsess about getting everything on there. Then go through and solve or dismiss those problems! Ask for people to share their solutions to that problem. Show how a daily habit might also combat these problems.
President Nelson mentioned how we may need to remodel our homes. What are some things that we might want to do to fix our homes and be prepared for a more home centered church experience? You may want to use a blueprint of a house for a visual or draw a rough outline of a house on the board then write around it the answers you hear. If someone suggests a principle more than concrete answer, be sure to follow up on it so others might have ideas of how they can implement that change in their homes. Also remember to highlight the good that is already in our homes.
Instead of using a blueprint to discuss changes we can make now in our homes, turn to the scripture in D&C 88:119 using my poster above. Cut the poster into strips and tape up each part as your class discusses how to make their homes into houses of God or use the strips to easily divide into groups.
Ask a couple of people ahead of time to share their experience with striving to have consistent family home evening, scripture study, prayer, or other worthwhile practice. Have them share maybe some of their doubts and frustrations along the way then ultimately, the blessings they received because they didn’t give up. You may want to then ask others what they remember about their experiences in these matters while growing up as well.
Consider discussing what single men and women or empty nesters might do as they strive to be consistent in their gospel study. Remind them that meeting together to study the gospel is encouraged (See Elder Quentin L. Cook’s talk).
Do a similar object lesson to Elder Bednar’s painting. Count up the number of times we should have attended church this year, the number of times we should have studied the scriptures and said family prayers. You can even add the number of family nights we should have had this year. Then use that number to create your own piece of art. It can still be simple but use that many lines, dots, or strokes. Ask someone if they can remember what they learned at FHE last month or during sacrament meeting 5 weeks ago. Chances are they won’t remember what specifically. Then show them your artwork. Even though we don’t remember all the particulars, each time mattered. Each time made a difference… even if you walked the halls of the church with a small child, it made an impact. Even if we weren’t perfect in the amount of times we did something, each time we did do it, it counted for something.
Go back through President Nelson’s and Elder Cook’s talks from this past General Conference when they introduced the changes to the curriculum in 2019. What were some of the promises given? Read them out loud at the end of your lesson.
Remember that joke young elementary students love to tell? “Mom, I can count to 100! Want to hear? 1, 2, skip a few, 99, 100.” Sometimes it can totally feel like we are just counting numbers if we look at the smaller picture of what we are doing. If we remember the WHY of what we are doing and keep close the Spirit, things will always be better.