When Elder Cook announced the new changes to the Sunday meeting schedule, he did not simply mean that Sunday services will be shortened. Together with the announcement came the introduction of and encouragement to hold “home-centered, Church-supported Gospel learning.” This approach to learning the gospel is not new, but still requires a significant effort from each family member. Through simple and consistent habits, gospel learning at home can bring about unparalleled blessings. Here are five ways you and your family can effectively study the gospel at home.
Set a Schedule
An extra hour during Sundays also means families have ample time to set aside specifically for learning the gospel at home. The best way to prepare family for gospel study in the home is to set a schedule where you’re all free from commitments and ready to learn together. Setting a clear schedule can help each member of the family look forward to special times where you can gather and share insights. Once a time slot has been established, family gospel learning can be an activity that both parents and kids – whether young and old – will look forward to and prepare for.
2 Nephi 25:26 makes a powerful statement on the importance of writing down impressions. It says:
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, and we write according to the prophecies , that our children may know to what source they may look for for the remission of their sins.”
Recording impressions received during family gospel study will help both parents and kids be reminded of the feelings and powerful impressions we can receive when we sincerely study the scriptures. Encourage each family member to keep a notebook and journal where he or she can record his or her thoughts. Have a family journal as well where you can write down the feelings and the promptings that came during the activity. A great blessing of learning as a family is that everyone can have the chance to share – something that doesn’t always happen in a class discussion. Help children realize the blessings of studying the gospel early on by encouraging them to write down impressions.
Have a Family Commitment
One of the most popular scripture verses in the Book of Mormon – recorded in 1 Nephi 3:7 – was an expression of Nephi’s commitment to follow the Lord’s commandments. Because Nephi stayed true to his commitment, he was able to become a witness of how the Lord fulfills His promises. Coming up with challenges which you can commit to and act upon can help each family member be reminded of what you have learned. When each family member is blessed with the privilege of feeling the spirit through service, it will leave a mark – a mark that can help them appreciate gospel learning with the family.
Be creative with your family gospel study. Introducing activities other than reading and discussing the lesson can help break up the monotony. Come Follow Me for Families and Individuals introduces various activities for every lesson – one activity even includes inviting members to draw what they have learned. How fun is that? Even kids will be excited.
As you establish a pattern of home-centered, Church-supported gospel learning, don’t miss out on including everyone in the planning and preparation. You can ask the children to pick out hymns – and make sure those hymns are played during your study schedule to invite the spirit. Involve the older kids in the preparation for lessons. When family members are given roles, gospel learning as a family won’t feel like mom and dad’s own agenda again.
Take Time to Encourage
Studying the gospel at home is possible, but it has its own sets of challenges. Some of our family members may feel like reading the scriptures and taking a few minutes to ponder and discuss the topics discussed are just challenging. You can establish gospel learning at home by taking time to reach out, teach and encourage each family member to “feast upon the words of Christ.” If at first, kids get bored or the program doesn’t turn out the way you hope, don’t fret. Consistency is key – just continue to be creative and encouraging.
It is a wonderful opportunity to be alive in these latter days. The Lord is truly hastening His work – He needs laborers who know, laborers who love the gospel. The Lord wants to make sure families are being spiritually strengthened within the walls of their own home. Establishing gospel learning at home will not be easy but remembering these 6 tips – and being consistent – can make a big difference.