“Introduction: Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” Teaching in the Savior’s Way (2015)
“Introduction,” Teaching in the Savior’s Way
When you think about the Savior’s way of teaching, what comes to mind? Can you see Him teaching the multitudes by the sea, speaking privately with the woman at the well, or blessing a little child? As you read about Him in the scriptures, what do you notice about His way of helping others learn and grow? What does teaching in the Savior’s way mean to you?
Jesus Christ declared, “I am the way” (John 14:6). As you ponder His life and your own opportunities to teach, you will find that the way to become an effective teacher is to become more like the Savior. The Savior’s way of teaching came from who He was and the “power of the Spirit” that He carried with Him (Luke 4:14). The key to teaching as the Savior taught is to live as the Savior lived.
And how did He live?
The Savior was full of love. Whether He was encouraging a penitent sinner, tutoring His disciples, or rebuking the Pharisees, everything the Savior did was an expression of love. This love and compassion for people and their needs led Him to teach in ways that were meaningful to them. When the Savior taught, familiar, real-life experiences like fishing, childbirth, and herding sheep became spiritual lessons.
The Savior sought and obeyed His Father’s will and taught His Father’s doctrine. From His childhood Jesus was “about [His] Father’s business,” seeking to do “always those things that please him.” “My doctrine is not mine,” He said, “but his that sent me” (Luke 2:49; John 8:29; 7:16).
The Savior was completely committed to His sacred mission—to bring God’s children back to Him. So Jesus did more than just impart information; He gave His followers important responsibilities that strengthened their faith and helped them grow. He trusted them, prepared them, and sent them into all the world to teach, bless, and serve others (see Matthew 10:1, 5–8).
The Savior loved the scriptures and used them to teach and testify of His mission. He taught people to search the scriptures to find their own answers to questions. As He taught the word of God with power, people came to know for themselves that the scriptures were true (see Luke 24:32).
The Savior lived what He taught. In every setting, He was the perfect example. He taught His followers to pray by praying with them (see Luke 11:1–4). He taught them to love and serve by the way He loved and served them. He taught them how to live His gospel by the way He lived. He was always teaching—often in formal settings but just as often in homes and in personal, informal conversations (see Matthew 4:23; Mark 14:3–9).
There is so much more for you to discover about the Savior’s way of teaching. But this much is certain: power to truly teach in His way will come as you learn of Him and follow Him. The invitation to teach in the Savior’s way truly is a key part of His invitation to “come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).
You are a disciple of Jesus Christ. This means that you are a teacher, because discipleship includes teaching, blessing, and lifting others. You may, for a time, be given a formal calling to teach, but the responsibility to teach will always be with you, especially if you are a parent. At times the responsibility to teach may seem overwhelming. Perhaps you worry that you do not know enough, that you do not have enough teaching experience, or that you simply are not the “teacher type.” But your Heavenly Father, who knows you perfectly, called you to teach because of what you can offer as a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He will not forsake you.
Here are just some of the many sources of power and support that He has made available to help you teach in His way.
The power of the Holy Ghost. As you strive to live the gospel worthily, the Holy Ghost will reveal God’s will to you. He will give you thoughts, impressions, and creative ideas about how to help others learn. He will help you know which gospel principles to focus on. And He will touch the hearts of those you teach and inspire them to change. The Holy Ghost will make it possible for you to be “a teacher come from God,” because the Spirit is the real teacher, and when the Spirit is with you, you will teach with God’s power and help bring about the miracle of conversion (John 3:2; see also 2 Nephi 33:1).
The promise of your calling and setting apart. Your calling to teach comes from the Lord, not from man, and as President Thomas S. Monson has promised, “whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.”1 In addition, you have been set apart under the direction of those who hold priesthood keys; therefore, you have the right to the personal revelation you need to succeed. These blessings are yours as you seek them, remain faithful, and strive to be worthy.
The power of prayer. Your Heavenly Father is always available. You can speak to Him directly through prayer. “Ask the Father in my name,” the Savior said, “and you shall have the Holy Ghost” (D&C 18:18; see also D&C 42:14).
Your love, talents, and experiences. You can bless God’s children by drawing on the love you have for others, the gifts God has given you, and your life experiences. As you serve faithfully and seek God’s help, He will magnify you, and you will grow in your capacity to teach the gospel in the Savior’s way.
The power of the word of God. The doctrine found in the scriptures and in the words of latter-day prophets has the power to change hearts and increase faith. As you and those you teach “try the virtue of the word of God,” you will find that it has “a great tendency to lead the people to do that which [is] just” (Alma 31:5).
Loving leaders. Your priesthood and auxiliary leaders want to help you succeed. Ask for their counsel as you strive to improve as a teacher and as you ponder the needs of those you teach.
The contributions of those you teach. Each individual in your class is a rich source of testimony, insights, and experiences with living the gospel. Invite them to share with and lift each other.
Remember, God has called you, and He will qualify you. Teaching the gospel is an essential part of His great work of salvation, and “when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.”2