“Chapter 8: Building the Kingdom of God on Earth,” The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150 (2017)
“Chapter 8: Building the Kingdom of God on Earth,” The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual
Each member of the Church has something to offer in building the kingdom of God. The best places to do this are in our own homes, in our own wards, and in our own stakes. Help students understand that in serving the Lord it is not where we serve but how. Being actively engaged in the work of the kingdom, at any level, will bless our lives and provide growth in countless circumstances.
We help build the kingdom of God by living righteously.
Individuals and families are strengthened by activity in the Church.
We should willingly serve wherever we are.
Blessings come as we serve in the kingdom of God.
Write Kingdom of God on the board. Ask students to share what they think the kingdom of God is. Then invite a student to read aloud the introduction to chapter 8 in the student manual.
Share the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008):
“I invite every one of you, wherever you may be as members of this church, to stand on your feet and with a song in your heart move forward, living the gospel, loving the Lord, and building the kingdom. Together we shall stay the course and keep the faith, the Almighty being our strength” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stay the Course—Keep the Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 72).
Why does each member play an important part in the growth of the Church?
Ask students to suggest some attitudes and actions of individual Church members that help strengthen the Church. List students’ responses on the board. These might include:
Pray and study the scriptures daily (see Joshua 1:8).
Repent of sins (see D&C 58:42–43).
Be worthy of a temple recommend.
Listen to the prophet’s counsel (see D&C 1:38).
Serve faithfully in Church callings.
Pay a full and honest tithing (see Malachi 3:8–10).
Attend Church meetings.
Have family home evening.
Then ask the following question:
How do each of the attitudes and activities listed on the board strengthen the Church?
Invite students to consider ways we can strengthen ourselves as members of the kingdom of God.
Explain that in a talk to youth and young single adults, President Gordon B. Hinckley gave six ways to help us strengthen ourselves against the challenges we face (see “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 4). List the six ways on the board, as follows. Then ask students to share examples of or insights on the prophet’s counsel.
Ask a student to read aloud the statement by President Thomas S. Monson under the section “Individuals and families are strengthened … ” in the student manual.
How do “hot coals” relate to activity in the Church?
What can we do to be active in the Church and live up to our commitments to the Lord?
Share and discuss the following list given by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994). (You may want to make this list into a handout.)
“We must be a ‘light’ of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. …
“We must seek for opportunities to share the gospel message with others. …
“We should do all we can to help prepare our sons and grandsons to serve missions. …
“Our homes should be places of refuge, love, and harmony. …
“We should seek for the blessings and ordinances of the temple. …
“We have an obligation to do temple work for our kindred dead. …
“As families we should strive to be self-reliant. …
“Priesthood holders need to provide watchcare over quorum members and their families through organized home teaching. …
“We should participate in the programs and activities of the Church—keep the Sabbath as a holy day, attend our meetings, accept callings extended to us, and magnify those callings. …
“Every adult member should be a full-tithe payer and contribute a generous fast offering” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Strengthen Thy Stakes,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 5).
Suggest that students select and work to improve in three areas from President Benson’s list during the next few weeks. Ask them to write in their class notebooks or study journals what they plan to do to improve in each selected area. Encourage them to share their experiences during a future class.
Invite a student to recite or read Mosiah 2:17 aloud. Ask students to explain what this scripture means to them.
In the early days of the Church, the Lord asked the Saints to gather to the center places of the Church, such as Kirtland, Ohio; Jackson County, Missouri; Nauvoo, Illinois; and Utah.
In our day, where should Church members gather?
To help answer the preceding question, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by the First Presidency from a letter dated December 1, 1999, in which they reaffirmed the long-standing counsel of priesthood leaders on the importance of members building the Church in their own countries:
“As members throughout the world remain in their homelands, working to build the Church in their native countries, great blessings will come to them personally and to the Church collectively. Stakes and wards throughout the world will be strengthened, making it possible to share the blessings of the gospel with an even greater number of our Heavenly Father’s children.
“We are confident that members of the Church throughout the world will be blessed as they heed this counsel and work to strengthen their local Church units and communities” (“Counsel about Immigration,” Ensign, Mar. 2000, 79).
Why is it important to build the kingdom of God in our own country?
Invite two students to take turns reading aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Stakes of Zion are … being organized at the ends of the earth. In this connection, let us ponder these truths: A stake of Zion is a part of Zion. You cannot create a stake of Zion without creating a part of Zion. Zion is the pure in heart; we gain purity of heart by baptism and by obedience. A stake has geographical boundaries. To create a stake is like founding a City of Holiness. Every stake on earth is the gathering place for the lost sheep of Israel who live in its area.
“The gathering place for Peruvians is in the stakes of Zion in Peru, or in the places which soon will become stakes. The gathering place for Chileans is in Chile; for Bolivians it is in Bolivia; for Koreans it is in Korea; and so it goes through all the length and breadth of the earth. Scattered Israel in every nation is called to gather to the fold of Christ, to the stakes of Zion, as such are established in their nations. …
“This then is the counsel of the Brethren: Build up Zion, but build it up in the area where God has given you birth and nationality. Build it up where he has given you citizenship, family, and friends. Zion is here in South America and the Saints who comprise this part of Zion are and should be a leavening influence for good in all these nations.
“And know this: God will bless that nation which so orders its affairs as to further his work” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Come: Let Israel Build Zion,” Ensign, May 1977, 118).
What did Elder McConkie teach about Zion?
What does it mean to be a “leavening influence”?
In what ways can the Church be a leavening influence in a country?
Ask students to share experiences about Church members they know who are a leavening influence in their branch, ward, stake, or community and how they make a difference and bless others.
Invite two students to take turns reading aloud the statement by Elder Derek A. Cuthbert under the section “Blessings come as we serve …” in the student manual. Ask students to follow along and look for the blessings of service. Then invite students to share examples from their own experiences.
Invite students to think of specific areas in their life that they could change in order to live more righteously.
Ask students to name three ways they can build the Lord’s kingdom where they live and to list them in their class notebooks or study journals. Instruct them to set some specific goals that will help them succeed.