Help Youth Find Depths of Truths in Sunday Lessons
By Sister Neill F. Marriott, Young Women general presidency
- Teachers of youth are amply supplied with true principles to teach in the 2014 curriculum.
- Lessons studied previously contain layers of truth to be explored.
- Many resources for teachers are offered on youth.lds.org and LDS.org.
“Let us lower our buckets in 2014 and draw up wonderfully new ideas for our youth classes, gratefully acknowledging that we have waters to swim in—a river of truth so deep that it cannot be passed over.” —Sister Neill F. Marriott of the Young Women general presidency
“A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, ’Water, water; we die of thirst!’ The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, ‘Cast down your bucket where you are.’ A second time the signal, ‘Water, water; send us water!’ ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, ‘Cast down your bucket where you are.’ And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, ‘Cast down your bucket where you are.’ The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River” (“Booker T. Washington Delivers the 1895 Atlanta Compromise Speech,” historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/).
Like the thirsty sailors, some leaders and teachers of youth see nothing available for their needs, considering that the Come, Follow Me curriculum is the same for 2014 as it was for 2013. Some feel they sufficiently covered the lessons last year and are concerned that they must teach the same principles again. Just as the sailors were surrounded by the fresh water they needed, so teachers of youth are amply supplied with true principles to teach in the 2014 curriculum.
The depth of the truths in this curriculum will never be reached!
In Ezekiel 47:3–5 we read of a heavenly messenger measuring the waters and bringing Ezekiel through the waters that issued from under the door of the temple in Jerusalem. These waters came from the pure truth of the temple. They nourished and healed the land.
“And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.
“Again he … brought me through the waters; and the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
“Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.”
Perhaps during the first year of this inspired youth curriculum we “waded” in the waters of eternal truths as we encouraged active learning in class. Surely this river of doctrine will prove deeper than our ankle-deep experience of 2013. Year after year we can be brought to this river, discovering with the youth that truly we have an unending supply of “waters to swim in” as we study eternal doctrine.
Lowering our bucket into the life-giving waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ can be likened to reaching for scriptures in new and varied ways. The Church is offering a constant stream of teaching aids to encourage and broaden understanding and the sharing of truth.
As a youth leader, you are probably looking for ways to highlight and enrich your lessons and activities in 2014. The youth curriculum lessons do look similar because they repeat the topics that were studied previously, but these lessons contain layers of truth still waiting to be plumbed. The depth of the doctrine included could take a lifetime of study and still not be depleted. Youth leaders will find they are surrounded with refreshingly new teaching ideas on www.youth.lds.org as they look for and recognize the wealth of resources for their classes.
For example, a quick click on the Church youth website brings you to a treasure trove of videos, graphics, and insights highlighting and exploring the 2014 Mutual theme—“Come unto Christ.” Four new videos depict Jesus Christ and His effect on those who come to Him. Hear, see, and experience the testimonies shared by youth in New York City as they explain their feelings about the Savior. The music video introducing the theme’s scripture, Moroni 10:32, draws the viewer into the everyday challenges youth face.
Many resources for teachers are offered online. As the Church website says, “Come, Follow Me has recently been updated with the latest talks from general conference as well as the newest media produced by the Church.”
We are also told, “The new youth activities website contains over 160 activity ideas and offers tips for planning effective activities based on the needs of the youth. Many of the lesson outlines in Come, Follow Me include links to activity ideas that can help reinforce what youth learn on Sunday.”
And the website also points out, “A new toolbar has been added to the top of certain pages in the Come, Follow Me website. This toolbar allows you to download materials (including videos and PDFs), provide feedback, and share content.”
Even with all that the Church’s online resources offer, we are still only “ankle deep” in the eternal doctrine of Jesus Christ. Let us lower our buckets in 2014 and draw up wonderfully new ideas for our youth classes, gratefully acknowledging that we have waters to swim in—a river of truth so deep that it cannot be passed over.
Online Resources for Teaching Youth
“‘Come, Follow Me’ Changing Gospel Teaching and Learning,” by Russell T. Osguthorpe, Sunday School general president
New Era: Support for Each Sunday Lesson (articles, downloadable quotes, and posters for each monthly topic featured on the New Era home page)
Media Library: Youth Curriculum Videos (collection of videos by monthly topic)