“Chapter 3: Study and Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2023)
“Study and Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Preach My Gospel
The lessons in this chapter contain the essential doctrine, principles, and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These lessons are what the living prophets and apostles have instructed you to learn and teach. They are provided here so you can help others clearly understand the doctrine of Christ.
The first section in this chapter is the baptismal invitation. The rest of the chapter consists of the following four lessons:
Study the scriptures and treasure up the doctrine in each lesson. As you do, the Spirit will bear witness of the truths you study. He will help you know what to say and do to help others receive a witness of the truth. (See Doctrine and Covenants 84:85.)
People will come to know the Savior more fully as they do what He has invited them to do. Extend invitations in each lesson, and help people keep their commitments. As people keep commitments, they begin to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and prepare to make covenants with God.
Teach all the lessons before and after baptism. Full-time missionaries take the lead in teaching the lessons both times. Ward missionaries or other members participate when possible. See chapters 10 and 13 for information about including members in teaching.
As you prepare to teach, review the information for each person in the Preach My Gospel app. Make a lesson plan based on the person’s needs. Consider what he or she should know and feel during your teaching visit. The Spirit will magnify your efforts as you take time to prepare and plan.
Here are some questions for you and your companion to prayerfully consider as you prepare to teach.
What invitation will we extend to help the person build faith in Christ and make progress? Invitations are how you help people repent and experience “the power of the Redeemer” (Helaman 5:11). Consider the person’s progress, situation, and needs. Then include one or more invitations in your lesson plan.
What doctrine and principles will help the person keep the commitment we have invited him or her to make? Prayerfully determine what doctrine and principles will help people understand why keeping their commitment is important for them and to the Lord.
How will we help the person learn the doctrine? To prepare to teach the doctrine, organize and summarize what you will teach using lessons 1–4. Identify questions, scriptures, examples, and appropriate media that will help the person understand what you teach. See chapter 10 for information about how to improve your teaching.
What blessings has God promised for accepting and keeping commitments? As you study the doctrine, identify God’s promised blessings. As you teach, promise blessings and bear testimony of them.
Which members could participate? In the weekly coordination meeting, determine which members could help you teach and support the person. Before the lesson, discuss their participation. See chapter 10.
What can we do to help people keep their commitments after we leave? Follow up by making a brief daily contact to help people keep their commitments. Look for ways to include members in helping those you teach keep their commitments. This contact could include reading a chapter from the Book of Mormon or other scriptures. If someone is not keeping a previous commitment, it may be better to help with that before extending another one. See chapter 11.
How can we better help them next time? After every teaching situation, evaluate the experience of the people you are teaching. Is their faith in Christ growing? Are they feeling the Spirit? Are they repenting and making and keeping commitments? Are they praying, studying the Book of Mormon, and attending church? Make plans to help them.
Speaking to all elders and sisters, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated:
“Our purpose is to teach the message of the restored gospel in such a way as to allow the Spirit to direct both the missionaries and those being taught. It is essential to learn the concepts of the [lessons], but these should not be taught by rote presentation. The missionary should feel free to use his own words as prompted by the Spirit. He should not give a memorized recitation, but speak from the heart in his own terms. He may depart from the order of the lessons, giving that which he is inspired to do, according to the interest and needs of the [person]. Speaking out of his own conviction and in his own words, he should bear testimony of the truth of his teachings.”
You have the flexibility to teach the lessons in whatever way helps people fully prepare for baptism and confirmation. Which lesson you teach, when you teach it, and how much time you give to it are best determined by the needs of the person you are teaching and the guidance of the Spirit. For example, when teaching people who do not have a Christian background, you might begin by helping them develop a greater connection with Heavenly Father and an understanding of His plan (see “Teaching People Who Do Not Have a Christian Background” in chapter 10).
Let the Spirit guide you in what invitations to extend and when to extend them. The right invitation at the right time can prompt people to do things that will build their faith. These actions can lead to a mighty change of heart (see Mosiah 5:2; Alma 5:12–14).
Teach lessons that are simple, clear, and brief. Typically, a teaching visit should not be longer than 30 minutes, and you can teach a person in as few as 5 minutes.
You will usually need multiple meetings to teach the principles in one lesson. People will often better understand your message if you teach short lessons, teach frequently, and teach small portions of material.