“When we begin to analyze ourselves and look to improve ourselves as teachers, what better model could we find? What finer study could we undertake than to analyze our ideals and goals and methods and compare them with those of Jesus Christ?” (Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently, rev. ed. , 22).
Teaching in the Savior’s Way
Reflect for a moment on what you know about the Savior. Can you see Him in your mind—with His disciples gathered around Him? Can you see Him teaching the multitudes beside the Sea of Galilee or speaking personally to the woman at the well? What do you notice about His way of teaching and leading? How did He help others learn, grow spiritually, and become converted to His gospel?
He loved them, prayed for them, and continually served them. He found opportunities to be with them and to express His love. He knew their interests, hopes, and desires and what was happening in their lives.
He knew who they were and who they could become. He found unique ways to help them learn and grow—ways meant just for them. When they struggled, He did not give up on them but continued to love them and minister to them.
He prepared Himself to teach by spending time alone in prayer and fasting. In daily, private moments, He sought His Heavenly Father’s guidance.
He used the scriptures to teach and testify about His mission. He taught people to think about scriptures for themselves and use them to find answers to their own questions. Their hearts burned within them as He taught the word of God with power and authority, and they knew for themselves that the scriptures are true.
He shared simple stories, parables, and real-life examples that made sense to them. He helped them discover gospel lessons in their own experiences and in the world around them. He spoke of fishing, of childbirth, of working in the fields. To teach about watching over each other, He told stories about rescuing lost sheep. To teach His disciples to trust Heavenly Father’s tender care, He urged them to “consider the lilies of the field.”
He asked questions that caused them to think and feel deeply. He was sincerely interested in their answers and rejoiced in their expressions of faith. He gave them opportunities to ask their own questions and share their own insights, and He responded to their questions and listened to their experiences. Because of His love, they felt safe sharing their thoughts and personal feelings.
He invited them to testify, and as they did, the Spirit touched their hearts. “Whom say ye that I am?” He asked. As Peter responded, his testimony was strengthened: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
He trusted them, prepared them, and gave them important responsibilities to teach, bless, and serve others. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” He charged them. His purpose was to help them become converted through their service to others.
He invited them to act in faith and live the truths He taught. In all His teaching, He focused on helping His followers live the gospel with all their hearts. To accomplish this, He found opportunities for them to learn through powerful experiences. When He appeared to the Nephites, He invited them to come to Him one by one, that they might see, feel, and know Him for themselves. When He sensed that they did not fully understand His message, He invited them to go home and prepare themselves to come back and learn more.
In every setting, He was their example and mentor. He taught them to pray by praying with them. He taught them to love and serve by the way He loved and served them. He taught them how to teach His gospel by the way He taught it.
Clearly, the Savior’s way of teaching is different from the world’s way.
This, then, is your sacred calling—to teach as the Savior taught. As you do, the youth will give place in their hearts for the seed of the gospel to be planted, to swell, and to grow. This will lead to conversion—the ultimate goal of your teaching. As you help youth become converted, you help them prepare to follow the Savior throughout their lives—to serve missions, receive temple ordinances, raise righteous families, and build God’s kingdom in all the world.