Teaching the Priesthood
Teaching the Priesthood
by Jordan Green
Your quorum doesn’t expect you to decorate the table with doilies, spread out your scrapbooks, or pass around chocolates in a basket. But they may just benefit from a gospel discussion with some preparation and a few insights on your part. ￼
Here are a few tips to help you plan a successful lesson, one captivating enough to keep old Brother Stevens from nodding off.
Gather Your Materials
In addition to the Spencer W. Kimball manual, be sure to have your scriptures handy. Maybe you received the helpful guide, Teaching No Greater Call, when you received your calling. This is a wonderful resource to help you develop more effective teaching methods. Grab that along with the current Ensign, and spread everything out on the kitchen table. You’re feeling productive already, right? Remember, when it comes to teaching the gospel, the best sources are always the scriptures, the words of the living prophets, and the Church manuals. Be wary of straying from these sources for material.
Make an Outline
It’s time for the game plan. An outline will help you focus on the main points of the lesson without allowing for too many tangents (e.g., your top thirty mission highlights). You need an introduction that will catch the quorum’s attention (interesting story, evocative questions, applicable story, visual aid), the main points indicated in the manual with supporting ideas (stories from President Kimball’s life, quotes, scriptures), and a conclusion that reinforces the overall point of the lesson and challenges members to apply what they have learned. Resist the temptation to cram too much material into your lesson than can reasonably be covered. Instead, focus on a few main ideas and leave room for a good discussion.
Consider Your Quorum
Some time before Sunday, take a few minutes to go over your outline. Are there some places where you can apply the lesson to your quorum specifically? For example, if the lesson is on temple work, maybe you could suggest a quorum trip to the local temple. In this way, the elders will feel individually influenced by your lesson. Now, go ahead and get on your knees. Pray for understanding of the needs of your brethren and for the Spirit to accompany them—and you—as you deliver the message.
Teach by the Spirit
Remember, the Spirit of the Lord is the true teacher—you are his instrument. For your quorum to be receptive, you must first let them know that you love them and that you want to teach them. Instead of worrying about hunting down some obscure fact for your lesson, worry about where the members of your quorum are spiritually and emotionally and tailor your lesson accordingly. This requires preparing your lesson well in advance and having time to ponder about the points you should make. However, avoid planning your lesson down to the last sentence. In other words, leave some room for inspiration. If you find yourself running out of time, choose your most important points, but don’t rush. An unhurried atmosphere is essential if you are to have the Spirit present during your lesson. Finally, always conclude with your testimony.
Let’s Talk About It
A sure way to get your quorum involved is to hold a discussion about the topic. Open up the topic to them. Ask thought-provoking questions, such as:
· How does this scripture apply to you personally?
· What does it mean to be a “disciple”?
· Have you ever experienced a miracle?
· Why does Heavenly Father give us commandments?
Even a question as simple as “What do you think?” can transform a would-be lecture into an enlightening discussion. And unless you’re a gospel scholar, you may have some questions about the doctrines as well. Use these as a gauge to determine questions others might have. It’s possible that someone in the quorum may be able to help you understand a principle better too.
Evaluate Your Performance
How did it go? At what point were you most comfortable and eloquent? When could you have used a visual aid or application story? How did the elders react? Going through these questions in your mind after each lesson is an easy way to take note of your progress and see where improvements can be made. You’re well on your way to becoming an excellent priesthood instructor.
Additional Teaching Resources
· Ask your elders quorum leader for some teaching suggestions.
· Preach My Gospel, although oriented toward missionaries, contains fundamental truths and clear explanations of certain principles.
· The lds.org website has a section specifically catered toward helping teachers prepare their lessons. Go to lds.org to try it out.
· Check out the Teaching Guidebook. It has ideas for teachers to improve their lessons.
· The February 2007 Worldwide Leadership Training was dedicated to teaching and learning in the Church. Go to lds.org and click on “Gospel Library.” Then click on “Recent Addresses.”