Handbook 2:
Administering the Church

 

5.5 Teaching the Gospel

Effective gospel teaching helps people grow in their testimonies and their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It strengthens members in their efforts to live according to gospel principles. When God’s word is taught with spiritual power, it has a “more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than … anything else” (Alma 31:5). Priesthood and auxiliary leaders encourage effective teaching in their organizations. They remember that Church members attend meetings seeking the power, peace, and inspiration provided by the word of God.

 5.5.1

Bishop and His Counselors

The bishop and his counselors teach the gospel by the power of the Spirit and by personal example. They direct the ward council’s efforts to ensure that teaching in the ward is edifying and doctrinally correct.

 5.5.2

Ward Council

Under the direction of the bishopric, members of the ward council regularly counsel together about how to improve gospel learning and teaching in the ward. The bishop may invite the Sunday School president to lead these discussions and provide instruction.

 5.5.3

Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders strive to teach the gospel effectively. They are also responsible for efforts to improve learning and teaching in their organizations. In these efforts, they may counsel with the ward Sunday School presidency.

Recommending Members to Serve as Teachers

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders submit recommendations to the bishopric for ward members to be called to serve as teachers in their organizations. Leaders should recommend teachers who will strive to prepare lessons that will inspire class members to live according to gospel principles. In doing so, they follow the principles in 19.1.1 and 19.1.2.

Orienting Newly Called Teachers

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders meet individually with newly called teachers in their organizations, preferably before each teacher’s first lesson. In these meetings, leaders orient teachers as follows:

They help teachers begin to become acquainted with class members, if needed. They give teachers a list of the class members and encourage teachers to learn class members’ names. They also encourage teachers to build caring relationships with class members.

They help teachers understand how to use Teaching, No Greater Call. They give each teacher a copy of the book and share a brief overview of its contents.

As needed, they help teachers understand how to prepare a lesson. They give teachers the approved curriculum materials for their classes and explain how to use them. They also review the article titled “Preparing Lessons” on pages 98–99 in Teaching, No Greater Call. (For a list of approved curriculum materials and instructions on how to order them, see the current Instructions for Curriculum.)

Providing Ongoing Support for Teachers

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders develop a supportive and caring relationship with teachers. After their initial orientation meeting, leaders regularly meet with individual teachers to learn of the teachers’ needs, discuss the needs of those they teach, and review the principles outlined in this section. They encourage teachers to set goals according to the article titled “Making a Plan to Improve Your Teaching” on pages 24–27 in Teaching, No Greater Call.

Ensuring That Teaching Is Edifying and Doctrinally Correct

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders carefully observe the learning and teaching during Sunday classes and other lessons. Leaders who do not regularly attend each class, such as members of the Sunday School and Primary presidencies, arrange with teachers to attend the classes occasionally. Based on their observations, leaders counsel with teachers on how to improve the learning in the classes.

Leaders ensure that teachers use the scriptures, the teachings of latter-day prophets, and the approved curriculum materials as outlined in the current Instructions for Curriculum. They help teachers understand how to supplement the curriculum with Church magazines, particularly the general conference issues of the Ensign and Liahona.

 5.5.4

Teachers and Leaders

As teachers and leaders teach the gospel, they are guided by the following principles.

Love Those You Teach

Teachers and leaders show love and sincere concern for those they teach. They learn class members’ names. They review attendance information so they can be aware of class members who are not attending regularly. They may contact these members outside of class to encourage them in their participation.

Teach by the Spirit

Teachers and leaders seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost in preparing and teaching lessons. They seek this guidance by praying and humbly recognizing their dependence on the Lord. During lessons, they invite the Spirit by bearing testimony of the doctrines they teach.

Teach the Doctrine

Teachers and leaders use the scriptures, the teachings of latter-day prophets, and approved curriculum materials to teach and testify of the doctrines of the gospel. Approved curriculum materials for each class or quorum are listed in the current Instructions for Curriculum. As needed, teachers and leaders supplement curriculum materials with Church magazines, particularly the general conference issues of the Ensign and Liahona.

Invite Diligent Learning

Teachers and leaders encourage class members to be responsible for their own gospel learning as individuals, in their families, and during class instruction. They encourage class members to bring their own copies of the scriptures to class where possible. Teachers and leaders provide opportunities for class members to actively participate in discussions, and they invite class members to live the gospel and receive the promised blessings.

 5.5.5

Ward Sunday School President and His Counselors

Members of the ward Sunday School presidency serve as resources to help other leaders with efforts to strengthen gospel learning and teaching. They may be invited to assist leaders in orienting, instructing, and providing ongoing support for teachers.

 5.5.6

Printed and Online Resources for Learning and Teaching

To help members improve in learning and teaching the gospel, the Church provides two publications: Teaching, No Greater Call and the Teaching Guidebook. These resources are available in print and on LDS.org. Other resources are also available on LDS.org.

 5.5.7

Course on Teaching the Gospel

The bishopric and the ward council may periodically decide to hold the Teaching the Gospel course in the ward. This course can benefit current teachers and help prepare future teachers. The course is usually held during Sunday School. The lessons for the course are found on pages 186–239 of Teaching, No Greater Call. The bishopric assigns the Sunday School presidency to teach the course or calls another member to do so.

 5.5.8

Stake President and His Counselors

The stake president and his counselors teach the gospel by the power of the Spirit and by personal example. They direct efforts to ensure that teaching in the stake is edifying and doctrinally correct.