Church Announces New Youth Curriculum for 2013
By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
The Church has announced a new curriculum titled Come, Follow Me: Learning Resources for Youth for Young Men and Young Women, and for youth Sunday School classes for 2013.
Designed to change the way teachers teach as well as the way students learn, the new curriculum, “integrates basic gospel doctrines as well as principles for teaching in the Savior’s way,” a September 12, 2012, First Presidency letter reads. “We are confident [it] will bless the youth in their efforts to become fully converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Come, Follow Me contains several new features including monthly doctrinal topics which are coordinated across Young Men, Young Women, and youth Sunday School classes; lesson outlines patterned after the Savior’s way of teaching; and a more flexible online format.
Members, leaders, and teachers are encouraged to explore the new curriculum online at lds.org/youth/learn, where they will find helpful videos that explain how to implement the new curriculum, a new guidebook titled “Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way,” and lesson outlines, along with ideas for preparing engaging learning activities. By the end of 2012, all of the lesson outlines will be available in 23 languages.
Focusing on the Doctrine
One new feature of Come, Follow Me is its organization into units that focus on doctrinal topics, such as “The Plan of Salvation,” “The Atonement,” and “Prophets and Revelation.”
Each month of the year is assigned a topic, and all Sunday School classes, Young Women classes, and Aaronic Priesthood quorums across the Church will study that topic that month.
The Young Women lessons include tie-ins to Personal Progress and the Young Women values, while the Young Men lessons focus more on priesthood duties. The Sunday School curriculum emphasizes how to teach and learn basic doctrinal principles.
“The units have been arranged . . . to help coordinate the gospel-learning experiences of the youth across the Church,” the guidebook reads.
Additionally, Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. of the Seventy said, “Come, Follow Me has been adapted to the needs of the youth by harnessing multiple methods and media which should enhance and accelerate learning and application of sacred principles and teachings.”
Teaching in the Savior’s Way
The new guidebook, “Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way,” will help youth leaders strengthen their own testimonies as well as better understand how to help youth learn the gospel.
It points out patterns in the Lord’s way of teaching—loving and knowing those He taught, preparing by fasting and prayer, using the scriptures, sharing real-life examples, asking questions, trusting those he taught, inviting people to act, and being an example.
Each lesson—called a “learning outline”—in Come, Follow Me begins with a section titled ”Prepare yourself spiritually.“ This section contains reflective questions and a list of scriptures, conference talks, and other resources about the topic. The idea is that before a teacher begins planning what to do in class, he or she takes time to study, ponder, and internalize the doctrine for himself or herself.
The second section of each lesson lists ideas leaders can consider using to help introduce the topic, while the “Learn together” section lists specific activity ideas. The learning activities are designed to help the youth search the scriptures and words of the prophets and discover for themselves the truths of the gospel. Emphasis is also given on youth sharing insights and experiences.
The final section suggests ways leaders can invite the youth to act and is intended to extend the learning experience beyond the classroom.
Another major enhancement to the youth curriculum is its increased flexibility: as an online resource, it can easily be updated, and it’s designed to allow teachers to adapt lessons to the unique needs of their youth and local circumstances.
Church leaders wanted Come, Follow Me to be a living, breathing resource—because it is Internet-based, it can regularly be updated with the latest words of the Brethren. For example, a lesson’s list of related resources could be updated following general conference to include addresses from that conference.
Printed versions of Come, Follow Me will be available at a later date, but for now all lessons are printable.
The actual lesson outlines are also more flexible now than curriculum has been in the past.
Within each unit, there are more lessons than can be taught in one month, so teachers and leaders (including quorum and class presidencies) are asked to seek inspiration to determine which outlines they should teach. Most of the material is presented as lists of optional activities instead of step-by-step descriptions of what the teacher should do.
”Come, Follow Me will help the youth, who are increasingly living in a world where the gospel and its principles are being diluted and even challenged, to more deeply internalize the gospel in their lives,“ Elder Golden concluded.