Tag Archive: lessons

Sunday Lessons = Boost Testimony Of Christ

Downloaded from: http://ldsywideasandactivities.blogspot.com/2014/04/sunday-lessons-boost-testimony-of-christ.html One of my readers has suggested that I write about teaching lessons for girls of all different backgrounds. I was intrigued by this idea – I wondered what she meant. Like, less-active girls? Part-member families?….I’ve thought about it a lot. If your ward is like mine, you’ve got a wide range of backgrounds in your young women organization. When you boil it down, I feel that no matter…
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Sunday Lessons = Boost Testimony of Christ

Sunday Lessons = Boost Testimony of Christ

One of my readers has suggested that I write about teaching lessons for girls of all different backgrounds. I was intrigued by this idea – I wondered what she meant. Like, less-active girls? Part-member families?….I’ve thought about it a lot. 

If your ward is like mine, you’ve got a wide range of backgrounds in your young women organization. When you boil it down, I feel that no matter what the background or circumstance, all of the young women need the same thing. They need a testimony of Jesus Christ and his gospel. This is what prompts them to keep the standards, repent, study the scriptures, pray, want to attend lessons and activities, be missionaries, etc. I feel that this is the root of a lot of the struggles our young women are facing, regardless of their background and family situation. 

If they don’t have a testimony of Jesus Christ and his restored Church, why would they want to do any of the things we’re trying to teach them to do?

I made a list of some of the different situations/backgrounds that our young women might have. This includes young women who may show up on any given Sunday, who may not necessarily be on your attendance sheet. I’m sure there are many more scenarios, but these are the ones I’m familiar with (not necessarily about girls in my particular ward):
  • Part-member family (one or more parent is a non-member)
  • Less-active (not attending class and/or activities as much as she should be, may have a calling but usually does not do it)
  • Inactive (not active in the church in any way – not attending church/activities)
  • Non-member (not a member of the church, perhaps visiting with a friend or relative)
  • Unbaptized member (active in the church, but unable to be baptized for some reason)
  • Investigator (meeting with the full-time missionaries to learn more/prepare for baptism)
  • Recently Re-activated (used to be inactive, has recently become active or less-active and may not have a large gospel knowledge background)
  • New Convert (baptized after age 8, did not grow up in the church, possibly never attended Primary)
  • Disgruntled (upset about church policy and/or gospel doctrine and/or leadership decisions)
  • “Over it” (thinks she is too mature, too cool, too whatever to listen or participate)
  • Forced to attend class/activities (don’t want to be there, but parents make attendance non-optional)
  • Paid to attend class/activities (don’t want to be there, but parents bribe them to attend)
  • No testimony
  • Weak testimony
  • Not sure if she has a testimony or not
  • Thinks the standards are ‘old fashioned’/rules should be bent to fit her preferences
  • Has no intention of keeping the standards, but lies about it so her parents don’t find out
  • No home support (parents may be inactive or non-member, but do not provide support like rides, help with personal progress, etc)
  • Speaks a different language
  • Special needs (physical)
  • Special needs (mental or developmental)
  • Special needs (emotional)
  • Special needs (abuse victim)
  • New Beehives (less familiar with the program, may be unsure of higher level concepts in lessons)
  • “Hermoine Granger” (totally “gets” it, bears testimony at every opportunity, raised hand to answer every question, volunteers for everything, may be labeled a “goody-goody”)
You’ll probably recognize most of these situations in your own ward. Of course, these situations I’ve listed might not apply to everyone and many girls will fall under multiple categories. Its usually not helpful to label people, because we are all complex individuals, but it is important to be aware of the situations our young women are dealing with so that we can be of the most help to them.

We may place a lot of focus on helping the girls who need the extra support or are struggling, but even the girls who already have a testimony (or the beginnings of one) will need to be strengthened to keep their testimony going through all they have to face in their teenage lives. Many times the “goody-goody” is the outcast, even among her fellow youth in the church. 

Just like adults, every single one of the girls I’ve worked with could use some testimony-strengthening. Specifically their testimony of Christ- who is the center of everything we believe and do.

How do we do this?

My personal “mantras” for teaching any Sunday lesson:
  1. No matter what the assigned topic, Jesus Christ is the topic.
  2. Prepare/teach a lesson as if it were the last one they are going to hear (because sometimes it is).
Let me elaborate.
I am a convert to the church (the only member on my side of the family) and a returned missionary. So I think (and hope) that I’m pretty missionary minded. When I prepare a talk or a lesson, I recognize that there will probably be at least one investigator or non-member visitor in the congregation that day. I plan for that. I try to think about what I would say if one of my own family members were there. Would I “phone it in” with my preparations and just ‘wing it’ or read a Conference talk word for word if I knew that they would be there? I would try harder to have the spirit and teach from the heart, and bear an honest testimony thats for sure. 

But what do we bear testimony of? And what if our topic is something potentially awkward to a visitor or less-active member, like tithing? 

I would never want a visitor or investigator to come to church for the first time and hear a talk that I gave and go home thinking, “My pastor was right – they aren’t Christian. The speakers spent the whole time talking about home teaching, and didn’t even mention Christ”
Even if I am assigned the topic “Tithing,” I still consider Jesus Christ to be the primary focus of that talk….Why do we pay tithing? (to show obedience to Christ, to become more like Christ, to teach us sacrifice like he has sacrificed for us, etc). You don’t have to talk about Christ the entire time, but if Christ is the head of our Church and the center of our lives, should be at the core of all we do and teach.
I use this exact same concept for young women Sunday class lessons.
2 Nephi 25:26 “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins”
Are we teaching, preaching, and testifying of Christ, every chance we get? Do we talk about him every single Sunday? If we want the young women to understand that they can look to him, we need to make his name and teachings a presence in our lessons. The girls need this – no matter what background or situation they come from. The investigator, the disgruntled young woman, the girl who is only sitting there because her parents are “making” her, the Hermoine Granger – every one of them. Some girls (many) are not getting this at home. Even if they are, its not something you can reinforce too much.
In our ward, we don’t have advisors, so the presidency members teach the Sunday lessons. I’ve had experienced some situations when I’m teaching a lesson and I know that it is likely to be one of the last lessons one of the girls will hear (or maybe even the last). As the girls grow older, they want to make their own decisions and create their own identity. They start to question why they have to keep all of these ‘rules’ and begin to realize that its getting harder and harder for their parents to force them to come to church. 
I think to myself- what can I say, what can I do to help this girl? What will she remember about this lesson? Will she say that she’s not accountable because she was never taught the correct principles? Will she say that she didn’t know whether I had a testimony or not? Even if she doesn’t have one – I need her to know that I DO.

Several years ago we had a teenage girl join the church. One Sunday, her mother (a Catholic) unexpectedly attended church with her and she was invited to YW class. I was teaching all of the girls that particular day, and the lesson was about a very sensitive topic that I knew was a point of concern for her. I only had 1 hour notice that the mother would be attending class with us. I was panicking a little. Not because I didn’t know what to say, but because I had already geared the lesson toward active girls who are familiar with the concept, so I needed to make some changes to my plan. I tried to think of how to explain the concepts to everyone – but especially to the mother of this recent convert. I tried to explain the doctrine and my feelings about them. I bore my testimony. I tried to say everything I would want someone to say if my own parents had been present.

This is how we should approach teaching the young women every time…. not just special occasions or with special visitors – every time. Because they need it and because it might be the last time they bother to show up. I don’t mean to sound negative, but its not uncommon for young women who used to be active to suddenly refuse to participate in young women. Their reasons may vary from “its dumb” to “I just don’t believe in the doctrine.” As a leader who cares for and stressed out over how to help the young women in our ward, it hurts.

I feel that focusing on Christ and bearing our honest testimony are two of the most important things we can do to help these girls.
I am totally on board with the “Come Follow Me” youth curriculum, so please don’t misunderstand. Our emphasis has gone from preparing an old-fashioned “speech” lesson to trying to create an interactive experience for the youth to develop their own testimony through discussion, experiencing teaching, etc. Although I try very hard to follow that model and it has been very successful, I always try to keep the focus on Christ and still always try to end with my heartfelt testimony. I never want anyone to leave the class without knowing that I know.

Come Unto Christ 2014 Youth Theme Wall-Hanging

Downloaded from: http://ldsywideasandactivities.blogspot.com/2014/01/come-unto-christ-2014-youth-theme-wall.html For our 2014 Youth Theme Introduction Activity (a joint/all-girls activity for our ward young women this year), we are doing 2 things: Playing YW (Family) Feud and making take-home wall hangings that go along with the theme. This post will describe the WALL-HANGING- I will have a separate post with the information about the Come Unto Christ themed Family Feud game (see the ‘youth theme’ label on…
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Yw (Family) Feud – Come Unto Christ 2014 Youth Theme

Downloaded from: http://ldsywideasandactivities.blogspot.com/2014/01/yw-family-feud-come-unto-christ-2014.html For our 2014 Youth Theme Introduction Activity (a joint/all-girls activity for our ward young women this year), we are doing 2 things: Playing YW (Family) Feud and making take-home wall hangings that go along with the theme. This post will describe the Family Feud game- I will have a separate post with the information about the wall-hanging soon (see the ‘youth theme’ label on the right side).YW…
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Lesson 30/Manual 1

So many fun things to do with this lesson. I got some great ideas from Sugardoodle, some of my favorites are: 
First was this great handout idea about doing all you “can”. 
She made a label and attached it to a soup can. I would take it one step further and make that can into a treat can. I’ve done these cans before as a Visiting teaching treat for my ladies. 
here is the can I made
Lesson 30/Manual 1
and here’s where I learned to do them.
What you do is cut off the bottom of the can and empty and clean it out then refill it with treats and reseal the bottom back on. Be sure to use pop top cans and for the lesson I would find the small cans, like lunch snack size. 
The label from Sugardoodle read:
Do all the GOOD you can
By all the MEANS you can
In all the WAYS you can
To all the PEOPLE you can
At all the TIMES you can
For as LONG as you can

Helping comes in CANS not in CAN’TS
May your cupboard be filled with CANS!!

* Updated 7/26/12~ I’ve created a can label that should fit the small fruit cans. If it’s too big just trim to fit, too small and you can back it with a solid paper first. 
Lesson 30/Manual 1
you can download it here
* update~ I’ve added a new label because the white writing is too hard to see when you print them out. 
I also found a great little story about service from This ‘n’ That
The story goes: 
One day a man said to God, “God, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.

God showed the man two doors. Inside the first one, in the middle of the room, was a large round table with a large pot of stew. It smelled delicious and made the man’s mouth water, but the people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. God said, “You have seen Hell.”

Behind the second door, the room appeared exactly the same. There was the large round table with the large pot of wonderful stew that made the man’s mouth water. The people had the same long-handled spoons, but they were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The man said, “I don’t understand.”

God smiled. “It is simple,” He said, “Love only requires one skill. These people learned early to feed one another. Those who are hungry are greedy people, and they think only of themselves.

It would be cute to attach this little parable to a cute wooden spoon. I found some ideas for decorating a wooden spoon. 

                                                   Tape off the handle and paint stripes
Lesson 30/Manual 1
Just dip the handles in bright colors. 
Lesson 30/Manual 1

you could also use some ribbon and twirl it around the handle. This is a spoon I made for a Christmas treat and you could see that you could attach the story and maybe a little treat. 
Lesson 30/Manual 1
A great object lesson on how we give our service, is it with a grudge or with a smile?

Lesson 30/Manual 1

Display nice cake. Ask who would like a piece. Sometimes no one will take a piece as they smell a rat! I’ll then cut a nice piece for one of the leaders – given on the china with a nice napkin and fork. They usually tell me how tasty it is and then the girls all want a piece. I then slash a hunk of cake off ;and toss it in the paper napkin squishing it a bit and handing it over without a smile. The object is how it’s how we serve not what we serve. The cake is the same cake but tasted so much better when served in a kind thoughtful, manner.

I’ve actually seen this done and it leaves a big impact. 

There was also this great idea of leaving a calling card after you’ve done an act of service.
I’ve made up a card you can print out and give a few to the girls to leave behind after they’ve done a good deed. 
Lesson 30/Manual 1
you can download this card here

I also have found some great sites with ideas for service. 

This one has 52 great ideas. I would print out the list and give it to the girls with the sneaky service calling cards. 
Lesson 30/Manual 1
This one was more geared toward Christmas time but you could adapt some of her ideas
Lesson 30/Manual 1
I always like to break up the lesson a bit with a video so they can hear someone else testify to what it is I’m trying to teach. This is a great video by Pres. Monson that I would use. 

Definitely read the additional resources on the side bar of the lesson, so many good talks to take from. 
Hope I was helpful and please don’t feel you need to do it all just take what works for you. 
Have a wonderful lesson!
*if you have trouble downloading my printables please email me at the email address on my sidebar and I would be happy to get them to you directly. : )

Lesson 30/Manual 1

We are moving to http://NoBoringLessons.com/ where you can find Come Follow Me Lesson ideas for the new 2019 curriculum Dismiss