“9: The Teaching Part of Home Teaching,” Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching (1999), 145–46
“9,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 145–46
If you are a home teacher, you are a teacher of the gospel. In addition to looking after the welfare of the families to whom you and your companion are assigned, you bring a gospel message at least once each month. The scriptures teach that home teachers are to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ” (D&C 20:59).
In order to teach the families assigned to you, you need to prepare yourself spiritually and learn to apply the principles of gospel teaching discussed in this book. You should also strive continually to improve your teaching (see “Making a Plan to Improve Your Teaching,” pages 24–27).
In your assignment as a home teacher, you have a special need for such preparation and continuing improvement. A knowledge of the basic principles of gospel teaching will help you teach messages in a way that will help all the individuals you teach, whether they are less-active members who are not accustomed to participating in gospel discussions or active, experienced Church members.
Remember that different people require different teaching approaches. You may need to present a message to a family in which there are children of many different ages. You may be assigned to fellowship new converts. Or you may have the opportunity to visit elderly members or single members.
One set of home teachers who thought carefully about their lesson appeared for their visit carrying fishing poles. Their pockets were stuffed with fishing lures. The family members wanted to know why, but the home teachers would not tell them before the time for their message. They had no trouble drawing the children around them and getting their attention. Then one of the home teachers demonstrated how a fisherman lures a fish into being caught. He explained that little fish are often more easily fooled than older and more experienced fish. He compared the fishing lures to Satan’s temptations and taught the family that Satan uses cunning ways to try to catch us and take away our freedom. It was a memorable lesson for the family.
As a home teacher, you have special opportunities to show love for those you teach. As President Ezra Taft Benson taught, you should “do the little things, the small things that mean so much to a family. For example, know the names of all the family members. Be aware of birthdays, blessings, baptisms, and marriages. On occasion, write an appropriate note of commendation or make a phone call congratulating a member of the family on a special achievement or accomplishment” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 61; or Ensign, May 1987, 50). You can help the family in time of need, support children and youth in their activities, and make certain that family needs are communicated to priesthood leaders.
As you select a message to share, remember the following instruction: “Home teachers usually present the First Presidency’s message that is printed in the Ensign and the Church’s International Magazines. Additional messages may come from the bishop or other local leaders. The head of the household also may request that home teachers give a special message. Home teaching messages should be based on the scriptures and the teachings of the latter-day prophets” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders , 169).
Prepare each home teaching message as carefully as you would prepare a lesson for a Church class. The following suggestions may help you:
Review the lesson. Counsel with your companion about what each of you will contribute to the presentation.
If you present the First Presidency message or another topic for which a formal lesson plan is not provided, follow the suggestions found in “Creating Lessons from Conference Talks and Other Resources,” pages 100–101.
Adapt the message and the teaching methods to the background, age, and interests of the individual family members you teach. Make the lesson interesting and applicable to each family member.
Ensure that the message will be brief enough to hold the interest of all present.
Remember that the head of the home should preside and conduct when you visit. Also keep in mind the following suggestions:
Pray and read the scriptures together whenever possible. Use the scriptures at every appropriate opportunity. Bring them for each visit. Use them to answer questions or give counsel.
Follow the promptings of the Spirit as you teach.
Avoid lengthy conversations that are not interesting or helpful to all present. Be sensitive to the time constraints of the families you visit.
Find ways to have each family member participate in the lessons. Show keen interest in each individual.
Testify of the truths you teach. Share examples of how to apply those truths in everyday life.