Sunday School teachers are among those most impacted by the upcoming changes to the Sunday meeting schedule and may be feeling a bit overwhelmed on how to implement the Church’s new “Come, Follow Me” curriculum. With only two classes a month and a focus on what members have been studying at home, utilizing those precious fifty minutes is going to take both rearranging and revelation.
We took an in-depth look at the curriculum and instructions to create 10 tips on how Sunday School teachers can use “Come, Follow Me” for amazing, spirit-filled classes.
ONE. Read Through the Entire Month of Lessons
Before a new month arrives, read through all of the lesson plans available for the month. The manual is available here. Don’t worry! Each lesson plan is only a page or two long. You can read through the four lessons for each month in a reasonable amount of time. By understanding all of the material available to discuss, you can start the process of receiving direction and inspiration on what your students need and what the Lord would have you teach.
Once you have a better feeling for what part of the lesson you want to use, you can go back and study those principles and scriptures in-depth.
TWO. Read Through “Teaching in the Savior’s Way”
“Teaching the Savior’s Way” is the Church’s primary resource for gospel teachers. The manual, video resources, and worldwide broadcast are available here. It’s a fairly hefty manual with multiple sections, including how to love those you teach, how to teach by the spirit, and more. Take some time reviewing the sections and making goals on how to implement the suggestions in your teaching.
THREE. Understand the Schedule
Instead of four classes a month, Sunday School will now only have two classes a month on the first and third Sundays. Yet, you’ll still find four lessons in the manual. It’s important to understand how the schedule works so you can understand your options. There are two different ways you can approach your teaching schedule:
- Teach solely from one of two lessons. For example, on the first Sunday, you would teach either the first lesson of the month or the second.
- Teach principles from two of the lessons. For example, on the third Sunday, you would teach from both the third and fourth lessons of the month.
The first two lessons should always be associated with the first Sunday and the last two lessons with the third Sunday. This will prevent teachers from covering the same material and, more importantly, keep you on track with what members will be studying at home.
FOUR. Communicate With Students
Work with your ward leaders, such as your Bishopric or Sunday School presidency, to let members know which lessons you’ll be focusing on in Sunday School ahead of time. If you choose to focus on a certain section of the manual, let members know! You can send out an email or share it on social media. This will help members who want to study for class do so.
Preparation is key to communication. Knowing what you plan to teach ahead of time will give members time to study on the weeks you do not have Sunday School. It is important at the end of each meeting, whether it is Sunday School or Priesthood or Relief Society, to tell members what lesson should be studied in the next week.
FIVE. Invite Sharing
If you’ve looked at the manual, you’ll notice each lesson begins with an “invite sharing” section. One of the emphasized goals of this new curriculum is to allow members to share and discuss what they’ve been studying at home. Always start a lesson inviting others to talk about their reading and impressions.
Create a list of different questions you can ask, such as:
- What did you learn in your individual study this week?
- What scriptures stood out to you in your individual study?
- What principles are you most excited to talk about from the lesson?
See which questions get the most response. Come prepared to answer your own question as well.
SIX. Invite Questions
Questions are powerful. As you invite sharing, also ask for questions people may have had about what they read. Encourage members to write down questions they can have addressed in your class during their own study time. Always honor people’s questions and do not make them feel silly. Invite other class members to answer questions before you do.
SEVEN. Be Prepared, But Don’t Rush
With only fifty minutes, it will likely be impossible to cover all the material you’d like. Be prepared to cover everything, but don’t rush. If you only get through one principle or point of doctrine, that’s ok.
If there is something you feel strongly about covering, don’t wait to address it just because it’s not at the start of the lesson. Always begin with what you feel most prompted to cover and go back if there is time.
EIGHT. Rarely, If Ever, Stop Comments
Unless comments are no longer directed by the spirit or becoming speculation, try to never stop the discussion. If people have comments, let them speak. If you feel you’re getting off topic, try to ask a question to the class to steer them back while still allowing them to talk.
NINE. End With Testimony
Always end a lesson with your testimony. More important than covering all the material, coming up with a cute slideshow, or performing an amazing activity, is your testimony of Jesus Christ. No matter how little or how much you were able to cover, talk about how the principles lead back to Christ and your experience with them.
TEN. Study Yourself
The best teacher is one who loves to be a student. Make sure you are dedicating time to your own individual study of the lessons. This will help you stay connected to the spirit and give you a deeper connection to the things you will be teaching. You will also be able to invite your students to study on their own with more power and authority.
Are you a Sunday School teacher preparing for the new curriculum? What has been the most helpful for you? Let us know in the comments.