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Teach by the Spirit

I love to teach. My favorite Church calling was as a Sunday school teacher my freshman year at BYU. I asked for the calling and got it. I felt I was a great teacher and had much to offer my fellow peers. While I may have had good teaching skills from a professional perspective and put great time and effort in preparing my lessons, I lacked the Spirit. No matter how qualified I thought I was, it didn't matter without having the support and guidance of the Holy Ghost.

President Richardson, second counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, said in General Conference October 2011:
Those who teach after the manner of the Spirit understand they teach people, not lessons. As such, they overcome the urge to cover everything in a manual or teach all they have learned on the subject and focus instead on those things that their family or class members need to know and do. Parents, leaders, and teachers who mirror how the Spirit teaches learn quickly that real teaching involves much more than just talking and telling. As a result, they intentionally pause to listen, carefully observe, and then discern what to do next.6 When they do this, the Holy Ghost is in a position to teach both learners and teachers what they should do and say.7 
Second, the Holy Ghost teaches by inviting, prompting, encouraging, and inspiring us to act. Christ assured us that we come to the truth when we live doctrine and act accordingly.8 The Spirit leads, guides, and shows us what to do. . . .
Those who teach after this manner of the Spirit help others by inviting, encouraging, and providing them opportunities to use their agency. Parents, leaders, and teachers realize they cannot feel for, learn for, or even repent for their family, congregation, or class members. Rather than asking, “What can I do for my children, class members, or others?” they ask, “How do I invite and help those around me to learn for themselves?”
Elder Bednar has emphasized this point over and over: we are agents to act for ourselves and not to be acted upon. I was acting upon my students: although I engaged them in the lessons and invited them to follow the commandments or principles discussed, I did not encourage them to learn for themselves. I wanted to give them all the answers and show off my knowledge instead of allowing them the privilege of searching, discovering, and gaining a testimony for themselves. Those opportunities, Elder Bednar noted, are when we gain the strongest testimonies, because we reached it on our own.

That doesn't mean we don't help others in their quest for understanding. As President Richardson said, we guide them, as led by the Spirit, to where they need to go to get the answers. The best example I had of such teaching was my years in seminary. My last two teachers taught by the Spirit and taught us to search the scriptures instead of lecturing us or answering our questions right away. They gave us the skills and resources we needed to be able to understand the gospel through our own study and prayer.

I have tried to do the same on this blog. Most of my posts end with a challenge inviting you to act. I hope that you do and gain a stronger testimony and greater understanding of the gospel.

Challenge: Put aside pride and let the Spirit guide your teaching, whether in a class or at home.

For more great information on teaching, read "The Lesson Is inside the Learner" by General Sunday School President Russell T. Osguthorpe.


DAD said…
i am teaching 2 classes today-DAD
Anonymous said…
You wrote a great article on teaching.
Teaching by the Spirit makes a positive impact.

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