The Sunday School general presidency recently responded to the question of how members can prepare for Sunday School. From pondering scriptures to having discussions with friends and family, here are some of their tips on how to enhance the meeting each week:
Take time to pause
One way is to ponder the assigned scripture block for the coming week. Pondering seems to require a higher level of intellectual and spiritual energy than merely reading, and thus more readily invites revelation. Pondering may come in the form of pausing to meditate on a scripture, contemplating what it means and how it might apply in our lives. It may also be exercised by discussing the scriptures with friends or family or by crystallizing one’s thoughts in writing on the subject.
While pondering James 1:5, Joseph was motivated to go to the grove. Pondering brought forth the marvelous revelation on the three degrees of glory (Doctrine and Covenants 76:19) and the vision of the redemption of the dead (Doctrine and Covenants 138:1-4). Pondering has the power to increase the frequency and depth of our personal revelation. As we receive these revelatory insights, it will increase our confidence and heighten our desire to share these thoughts in class.
— Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president
Put yourself in your teacher's shoes
For me, one of the best ways to prepare to participate in a Sunday School discussion is to read the assigned scripture block early in the week and then strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ each day. By doing so, the Holy Ghost can prompt me with thoughts related to the scriptures I’ve read that I may be inclined to share the following Sunday in class. As I study, I also like to consider how I might teach the lesson. What doctrine would I emphasize? What questions would I ask? By putting myself in the teacher’s place, I become a more active and engaged learner, which enriches my personal study and enhances my preparation for the upcoming Sunday School class.
Additionally, situations at home may arise that will present opportunities to teach family members from the scriptures highlighted in the upcoming lesson. As I prepare for the Sunday School experience I am in a much better place to take advantage of these teaching moments in the home.
— Brother Devin G. Durrant, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency
Let the Spirit teach you
In addition to reading the assigned scripture block prior to Sunday School each week, every Sunday in my morning prayers, I ask Heavenly Father to teach me by the Spirit in each of my classes. I then attend class with the desire and the expectation that the Holy Ghost will teach me. I also bring with me notecards to write down what I am being taught. Rarely do I find that I am disappointed. In fact, one of the classes in which I was taught extensively by the Spirit, the teacher got up and said that he had just learned that he was to teach and, that as a result, he had not had time to prepare. Nevertheless, I learned a tremendous amount in that class. Because my heart was prepared, the Holy Ghost was able to teach me things that were not said. We can all have that experience.
— Brother Brian K. Ashton, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency