Six Steps to Teach a General Conference Talk!
2019 is bringing a lot of changes to how our Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood classes will be taught. One of my favorite changes is that we will be studying more about what our current prophets and leaders are teaching us! But this will bring some challenges. How do you teach for 50 minutes when your only resource is a Conference talk?
The worst thing you can do is make a copy of the entire talk for each person in your class, distribute the talk, and have everyone take turns reading a paragraph! There are better ways to teach!
Here are 6 ways to help you teach from a General Conference talk:
1. Teaching in the Savior's Way
First of all, start by studying the manual, Teaching in the Savior's Way. If you can, try to attend some of these counsel meetings that should be taught in every ward/branch. I have learned a lot each time I go! Take the counsel very seriously where it teaches us to pray for guidance and help from the Holy Ghost. Having the Spirit as your companion as you prepare your talk will help you know what you are supposed to be teaching. I have prepared lessons that I thought should be taught one way, but the Spirit told me to take it a different direction. And sure enough, when I taught those lessons, there always seemed to be an obvious reason of why I was supposed to teach it the way I was directed! We don't know the hearts of each member of our class, but the Spirit does! We can rely on him for help.
2. Doctrine or Principle
Once you're given the talk that you will be teaching, read through it and decide on what is the main point of the talk. Every talk I've ever heard in General Conference has an overarching theme to it. And good news - with every theme ever taught in General Conference, there have been many others that have also taught that same theme - including scriptures and words from our Savior! You can easily search through General Conference talks by topic on LDS.org. Gather two or three other talks, along with pertinent scriptures and/or scripture stories that support the theme. These will become your study guides.
3. Gather Stories and Examples
It's always a good idea to have your own personal stories or experiences to use when teaching a specific principle. The whole lesson should definitely not be about you, but sharing your own stories will hopefully help others feel comfortable sharing their stories. Also gather stories or examples from the lives of our Savior and prophets if applicable, including those in the talk you're teaching from.
4. Gather pictures, objects, videos and/or activity ideas
If you are familiar with our lesson packets, then you will know that we like to always include some sort of object lesson or attention-getting activity to start a lesson. There are many resources available to help you come up with an object lesson if you struggle with this! Start with looking on LDS.org and search your topic along with "object lesson" in the search bar. The New Era has wonderful object lessons! Mormonshare.org has a great list, and Pinterest is always a good place to go! There are many Bible study websites that use good object lessons, too! Starting your lesson with an object lesson or other activity will help your class focus and get them excited about the topic. It will help them think a little deeper about the subject and hopefully spur up a great discussion!
I also like to use pictures and/or videos when appropriate. Every one learns differently, and I'm sure you'll have many visual learners in your class. If you want to focus on just one part of the talk you're teaching from, consider showing a clip from the talk. Or search on LDS.org for videos about your topic.
5. Teaching Methods
With the new style of teaching with Come, Follow Me, we need to learn to use a variety of teaching methods. There is a fantastic article on LDS.org by our General Sunday School 2nd Counselor, Brian K. Ashton, called "In Striving to Be a Christlike Teacher, Being a Moderator is Not Enough." If you're struggling with how to teach a lesson, there are many ideas in this article!
6. Challenge Question/Invitation
Always end your lesson with your testimony and an invitation. Think of what you'd like that invitation to be before you teach. If your lesson is on prayer, for example, you could challenge your sisters to say their prayers each morning and night for the next month without skipping any days! Then the next time you teach, invite them to share their experiences with that challenge!
I have found three other great resources that will help you prepare your lessons:
To help you prepare your lesson, we have designed this worksheet for you! Just click on the image below to download:
We hope that you find these tips and worksheet helpful! We'd love to hear from you in the comments any other ways that you prepare and teach from a Conference talk!