Who, Me? Teach?

“And now we’ll turn the time over to [fill in your name] for our lesson.” If you were to hear these words in church next Sunday, would you feel fearful or confident?

Sooner or later every member of the Church becomes a teacher. It might happen in Primary, in Relief Society or a priesthood quorum, in visiting or home teaching, or in family home evening. For many people who are new in the Church, the role of teacher may not be familiar. Even those who have taught many times may wonder how they can be more confident and effective in touching lives for good.

Here are some simple ideas that can help each of us fulfill our teaching assignments:

  1. 1.

    Prayer is an important teaching tool. Begin each phase of your lesson preparation by praying humbly for the guidance of the Spirit. Rely on the Lord’s promise to all teachers: “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith” (D&C 42:14).

  2. 2.

    Almost every lesson has more material in the manual than you will be able to cover in class. Read the lesson, and prayerfully choose one or two main principles that you feel are best for your class.

  3. 3.

    Prayerfully study the scriptures related to your lesson, and draw examples and principles from them. The word of God can have a “more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than … anything else” (Alma 31:5).

  4. 4.

    Take comfort in the fact that you do not need to know everything about the lesson to be an effective teacher. Plan some simple questions that will allow your class members to share their experiences and insights. These can be the most moving and memorable parts of your lesson.

  5. 5.

    As a teacher, you are called to learn as well. Gospel teaching “calls for your diligent efforts to increase your understanding and improve your skills, knowing that the Lord will magnify you as you teach in the way He has commanded.” 1

For more teaching ideas, see Teaching, No Greater Call.

Leadership Ideas

When you are serving in a presidency, be sure to attend when teachers and others called to serve in your organization are set apart. Then set a time when you can meet to:

  1. 1.

    Explain the responsibilities of the new calling.

  2. 2.

    Pass on lesson manuals or leadership materials.

  3. 3.

    Offer support and further training.

  4. 4.

    Express your appreciation for and faith in the newly called member.

If I Were Going to Teach

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“I would read through and begin praying about that lesson the Sunday before. That gives me a full week to pray, to seek inspiration, to think, to read and watch for real-life applications that will give vitality to my message. You won’t finalize the lesson that early, but you will be surprised to find how many things come to you during the week, how much God gives you—things that you will feel to use when you do finalize your preparation.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Teaching and Learning in the Church” (worldwide leadership training meeting, Feb. 10, 2007), Liahona, June 2007, 58; Ensign, June 2007, 90.

Right: photo illustration by Steve Bunderson

Show References

    Note

  1.   1.

    Teaching, No Greater Call (1999), 4.