Lesson 1: The Importance of Gospel Teaching in God’s Plan

"Lesson 1: The Importance of Gospel Teaching in God’s Plan," Part G: The Teaching the Gospel Course, ()


Purpose

To help class members increase their desire to assist in the Lord’s work by teaching His gospel.

Note to the Teacher

In His loving-kindness, our Father in Heaven has provided teachers to help His children learn what they must do to receive eternal life. Each of us is a beneficiary of gospel teaching, and each of us has been commanded to teach the gospel to others. Your efforts in teaching this course are part of this great work.

The following statements by President Gordon B. Hinckley reflect a message that you should communicate to class members throughout this course:

“We must strengthen ourselves and our people to get our teachers to speak out of their hearts rather than out of their books, to communicate their love for the Lord and this precious work, and somehow it will catch fire in the hearts of those they teach” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 619–20).

“We have work to do, you and I, so very much of it. Let us roll up our sleeves and get at it, with a new commitment, putting our trust in the Lord. … We can do it, if we will be prayerful and faithful. We can do better than we have ever done before” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 117; or Ensign, May 1995, 88).

With this message as its focus, this lesson sets the tone for the entire Teaching the Gospel course.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study the scripture passages in this lesson. Seek to apply them to the purpose of the lesson.

  2. 2.

    Study the section of this book titled “The Importance of Gospel Teaching in God’s Plan”(pages 2–10).

  3. 3.

    Encourage class members to come to class with their scriptures and a notebook. If necessary, meet with a member of the bishopric to make arrangements to provide notebooks for class members.

  4. 4.

    Obtain enough copies of Teaching, No Greater Call to give to class members who have not yet received it.

Suggested Lesson Development

Welcome class members to the course. If you do not know them or if they do not know each other, invite them to briefly introduce themselves.

Ensure that each class member has a notebook to use during the lesson. Explain that the purpose of the notebooks is to record notes, impressions, plans, experiences, and progress related to the Teaching the Gospel course.

Teachers of the gospel influence the lives of many people.

Story

Share the following story told by President Thomas S. Monson:

“There was a Sunday School teacher—never to be forgotten, ever to be remembered. We met for the first time on a Sunday morning. She accompanied the Sunday School president into the classroom and was presented to us as a teacher who actually requested the opportunity to teach us. We learned that she had been a missionary and loved young people. Her name was Lucy Gertsch. She was beautiful, soft-spoken, and interested in us. She asked each class member to introduce himself or herself, and then she asked questions that gave her an understanding and an insight into the background of each boy, each girl. She told us of her childhood. … She never raised her voice. Somehow rudeness and boisterousness were incompatible with the beauty of her lessons. … She made the scriptures actually come to life. We became personally acquainted with Samuel, David, Jacob, Nephi, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our gospel scholarship grew. Our deportment improved. Our love for Lucy Gertsch knew no bounds. …

“The years have flown. … The boys and girls who learned, who laughed, who grew under the direction of that inspired teacher of truth have never forgotten her love or her lessons” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 81–82; or Ensign, May 1992, 59–60).

Testify to class members that their efforts to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ can likewise touch the lives of many people. Express your feelings about the importance of the call to teach.

Quotation

Have a class member read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

“For each of us to ‘come unto Christ,’ to keep His commandments and follow His example back to the Father, is surely the highest and holiest purpose of human existence. To help others do that as well—to teach, persuade, and prayerfully lead them to walk that path of redemption also—surely that must be the second most significant task in our lives” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 31; or Ensign, May 1998, 25).

Gospel teaching plays an essential role in Heavenly Father’s plan.

Scripture Discussion

Point out that teaching has always played an important role in God’s plan of redemption. Have class members read the scripture passages listed below. It may be helpful for you to explain the background of each passage (for example, you could explain that Doctrine and Covenants 138 contains an account of President Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the spirit world). Ask class members to share insights they gain from these passages about the role that teaching plays in Heavenly Father’s plan.

  1. a.

    Doctrine and Covenants 138:56. (We “received [our] first lessons in the world of spirits.”)

  2. b.

    Alma 12:27–32. (After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, God helped them learn of the plan of redemption. He sent angels to teach them, and He answered their prayers. He gave them commandments after they had been taught the plan of redemption.)

  3. c.

    Moses 6:57–58. (The Lord commanded Adam and Eve to teach the gospel freely to their children.)

Summarize the discussion by reading Romans 10:13–15, 17 and 2 Nephi 2:8. Bear your testimony of the role of gospel teaching in Heavenly Father’s plan.

We have many opportunities to learn the gospel and teach it to others.

Quotations

Point out that Church members teach the gospel in many different roles. Then ask five different class members to read the statements below. Note that each statement is directed to a specific group of people.

Teacher Presentation

Suggest that class members consider the different teachers described in the statements that have been read: parents, priesthood and auxiliary leaders, teachers in Church classrooms, home teachers, visiting teachers, and those who teach by example. Invite each class member to briefly tell about someone who, in one or more of these roles, has helped him or her gain a better understanding of the gospel and a greater desire to live according to its principles.

Testimony

Speak briefly about the blessings that come to us because of our many opportunities to learn and teach the gospel—in our homes, in the Church, and in our everyday associations. Express your gratitude for these opportunities. Emphasize that the Lord provides these opportunities to help us resist the evil teachings and influences that surround us. Share the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“There is hunger in the land, and a genuine thirst—a great hunger for the word of the Lord and an unsatisfied thirst for things of the Spirit. … The world is starved for spiritual food. Ours is the obligation and the opportunity to nourish the soul” (“Feed the Spirit, Nourish the Soul,” Ensign, Oct. 1998, 2).

The purpose of the Teaching the Gospel course is to help us improve as teachers.

Teacher Presentation

Read the statements by President Gordon B. Hinckley included in “Note to the Teacher” on page 189.

After reading President Hinckley’s statements, point out that the purpose of the Teaching the Gospel course is to help us teach the gospel of Jesus Christ “better than we have ever done before.”

Explain that resources for the course are the scriptures, Teaching, No Greater Call, and the “Gospel Teaching and Leadership” section of the Church Handbook of Instructions.

Give copies of Teaching, No Greater Call to class members who have not yet received it. Tell class members that this book contains materials that relate to the lessons in the course. They will benefit from reading these materials before and after each lesson.

Explain that this course builds a foundation for gospel teaching. It focuses on principles and teaching methods that apply to all age-groups and cultures. There are 12 lessons in the course. The titles of the upcoming 11 lessons show what class members can expect from the course. Have class members turn to page vi of this book to see the titles of the lessons.

Offer to help class members as they strive to apply the principles taught in the course. In addition, encourage each class member to:

  1. a.

    Study the scriptures; Teaching, No Greater Call; and the “Gospel Teaching and Leadership” section of the Church Handbook of Instructions.

  2. b.

    Bring the scriptures to class each week.

  3. c.

    Bring their notebooks to class each week.

  4. d.

    Come to class each week prepared to participate in the lessons and contribute to the learning of others in the class.

  5. e.

    Ponder and pray about opportunities to teach.

  6. f.

    Begin to develop and implement a personal plan for improving as a teacher.

Conclusion

Quotation

Invite a class member to read the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer:

“It has been said that the responsibility of Church members is divided into three main categories: to provide for the salvation of the living members of the Church, to accomplish the necessary work for our kindred dead, and to preach the gospel to all the world. All of these responsibilities require learning, and all that is learned must somehow be taught. We are among those who must teach it” (Teach Ye Diligently, rev. ed. [1991], 7).

Summary

Summarize the principles you have discussed.

Testimony

Share your testimony as prompted by the Spirit.

Assignments

Encourage class members to:

  1. 1.

    Write in their notebooks about teaching and learning opportunities that come as they participate in the course.

  2. 2.

    Seek the guidance of the Spirit (the Holy Ghost) in connection with an upcoming family home evening lesson, Church assignment, or other opportunity to teach. Remember the Lord’s words: “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith” (D&C 42:14). Write in their notebooks about their experiences with this assignment. (As part of lesson 3, some class members will be asked to report on these experiences.)

  3. 3.

    Review the principles taught in this lesson by studying the section of this book titled “The Importance of Gospel Teaching in God’s Plan”(pages 2–10).