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At first glance, Howard W. Hunter Chapter 22: Teaching the Gospel is intimidating to teach but don't let that scare you off! Teaching applies to every single person. We all teach at some point in our lives. Don't worry about people judging you on your teaching skills while sharing this lesson. The only opinion that matters is the Lord's. In the recent Face to Face with Studio C, Matt gave great advice about being a missionary. He said basically that it doesn't matter if you speak well and give beautiful presentations or if you fumble your whole way through. You are not really the teacher. The Holy Ghost is. Having the Spirit there is the most important thing.
The thing I love about the gospel is the Lord chooses who He wants to serve where. When many are first called they feel completely inadequate. They don't have formal training or they might be the youngest person in the ward, surely someone else knows more than they do. However, we all have something to learn from each other and we all have something to teach each other. You may not feel qualified but the Lord knows what you have to teach others. Take comfort in the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
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So pray like crazy but teach with confidence and the Spirit and you will be fine. I know you all are wonderful teachers- more so than you probably give yourselves credit for. The Lord chose you for a reason, go forward with faith.
- The most overlooked part of being a teacher is reaching out to those that aren't attending your class or who may be struggling. Christ always focused on the one and so should we as we teach. Print out the above cards and send them to some people in your class with notes of gratitude, love, and support. It's a simple way to make a big difference. See Section 4 for more quotes on this topic.
- Before starting, expand the focus of what teaching the gospel is by making a list on the board of the different teaching positions we all hold. You can do this a pre-lesson opener where you give people markers to write their answers on the whiteboard before class or make a list together at the beginning. Some ideas: Home/Visiting Teaching, Member Missionary Work, All Church Callings, Being a Parent, Being a Friend, Being a Sibling, Being a Child, Choir Member, Social Media User, Being You, etc.
- Pass out one card (from above) per person and challenge them to write a note to someone they teach towards the end of your lesson. OR have them write down all the ways they are teachers. Then have them write down one thing they are great at and one thing they wish to improve as a teacher (and how they will do it).
- The last paragraph right before Section 1 mentions several qualities that teachers need (thoughtful, considerate, kind, etc). Divide into groups to talk about the different attributes. Each group should report back why that attribute makes a good teacher and how we can develop it as teachers.
- Spend time getting your class into the scriptures. Depending on your ward, you may want to spend time explaining all the different parts of the scriptures- the footnotes, pronouncing guide, topical guide, etc. Give a simple challenge that gets everyone into various parts of the scripture. For example, Head to 1 Nephi 1:1 and follow footnote a. Look up the last scripture reference before "See Also." Go to footnote c, first verse. What is the last work in this verse? (answer is "glorified"). Then ask your class what they do to help others become familiar not only with the scripture stories but with the scriptures themselves.
- Give your class a few quick minutes to briefly scan each heading in the chapter and the questions at the end of the manual. Based on what they read, what questions would they ask if they were the teacher? How would they answer it? You can either have everyone write a question on piece of paper and you draw one at a time or you can have people ask the question and spend time discussing the answer.
- Draw 2 stick figures on the board. Label one "Loyalty to Teacher" and the other "Loyalty to the Scriptures and the Lord." You can do this as a pre-lesson opener where people add their own answers themselves before class or do it as a class. As you add answers to the "Loyalty to Teacher" one draw the arrows pointing to the teacher. As you add answers to the other one, draw arrows pointing outwards. Further discuss with quotes from Section 3.
- Spend a couple of minutes talking about the role of the learner. See this recent Ensign article for ideas.
- Remember to check out our Private Facebook Group for more ideas and support.
- See the video below for 4 more ideas. The journal page I refer to can be found here. Find the General Conference quotes with teaching tips here.
Questions to Ponder
- When have the scriptures helped you in your life?
- When have you found answers in the scriptures?
- How can you help others, including family, learn to love the scriptures and benefit from their power?
- How do teach from the scriptures? (For more ideas, see
- How do you help others (including family) become so familiar with the scriptures they can easily find their way around them?
- What can you learn from section 2 about teaching by the Spirit?
- When have you taught and learned by the Spirit? What can you learn from those experiences?
- What are some things you can do to help you teach by the Spirit?
- Why can you really not teach without the Spirit? (section 2)
- How can a teacher help students build loyalty to the scriptures and the gospel rather than to him/herself?
- In what ways can you help point those you teach towards Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
- How do you help others become grounded in the gospel so they remain strong "when they have to stand alone"?
- As a teacher, how do you reach out to the one?
- How can you help those you teach develop a testimony that God knows and loves them individually?
- What experiences have you had teaching one on one instead of in the classroom?
- How can you "fortify the strong and reanchor the wayward ones"?
- In what ways is example more powerful than words?
- How have you been blessed by a teacher who was a good example?
- How does the example of parents teach their children?
- What is your example teaching?
- When have you experienced a transformation? (see section 6)
- What made those good teachers in your life an effective influence?
- How can you teach the gospel with greater power? (at home, in the class, or somewhere else)
Suggested Study Schedule
Please remember these articles are to enhance your knowledge and strengthen your testimony of this principle. They are not to replace your lesson in shape or form. Most the words you teach should still be from the manual.
Remember to join our Private Facebook Group to discover more thoughts and ideas.
Watch: Feed My Sheep (about 6 minutes)
Watch: Love Those You Teach (about 5 minutes)
"Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children" by President Tad R. Callister
"Teaching with the Power and Authority of God" by Brother David M. McConkie
"Gospel Teaching" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks
"Gospel Learning and Teaching" by Brother David M. McConkie
"Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit" by Brother Matthew O. Richardson
There were additional great talks given in the October 2016 General Conference. I'm hesitant to include them here since the 4th Sundays take from these talks. However, you may want to look through it for some additional insight.