The Savior Jesus Christ was the perfect teacher. He loved those He taught. He taught by the Spirit. He taught doctrine. And He invited diligent learning. The goal of every gospel teacher — whether formally called or not — is to teach in His way, the Sunday School general presidency said.
As many wards and branches are resuming the two-hour, in-person Sunday meeting schedule, the Sunday School general presidency wants to remind Latter-day Saints of the blessing of teacher council meetings centered on principles in “Teaching in the Savior’s Way.”
“These meetings are important because teaching is important,” said Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace. “The Savior was the great teacher, and that’s what He did. And that’s what we do as Latter-day Saints. We teach one another, we testify and we build and strengthen each other. …
“Teaching the Lord’s doctrine and His gospel is a sacred responsibility, and we want to do it the best we can.”
What is a teacher council meeting?
Wards and branches are encouraged to hold teacher council meetings quarterly during the 50-minute class time on Sunday. In these meetings, teachers counsel together about principles of Christlike teaching and how to improve gospel learning in the classroom and at home.
“The purpose is to be able to teach the Lord’s gospel effectively to build faith and conversion in Jesus Christ and conversion to His gospel,” President Pace explained.
Meetings for priesthood, Relief Society and Young Women teachers can be held on a first or third Sunday, while meetings for Sunday School teachers can be held on a second or fourth Sunday (See General Handbook section 17.4). The Primary presidency can counsel with a member of the bishopric to determine how to strengthen teaching in the Primary.
Teacher council meetings generally follow a four-part format, as outlined in the resource “Teaching in the Savior’s Way”:
- Share and counsel together about recent teaching experiences and challenges related to teaching.
- Learn together a principle in “Teaching in the Savior’s Way.”
- Practice the principle discussed and invite teachers to record and act upon impressions about how to apply it in their teaching.
- Prepare for the topic to be discussed in the next meeting.
How to make teacher council meetings more effective
Brother Milton Camargo, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, emphasized the important role of the ward council in teacher council meetings. The ward council oversees and schedules these meetings, which are usually led by the Sunday School president.
Ward organization leaders may observe classes and counsel together to identify the needs of their teachers, Brother Camargo explained. “Based on those needs, the ward council may select a topic from ‘Teaching in the Savior’s Way’ to use as the topic of the next teacher council meeting.”
For the three months following the teacher council meetings, he said, organization leaders can “promote, coach and reinforce that topic with the teachers in their respective organizations.”
“Teaching in the Savior’s Way” includes four main topics:
- Love those you teach.
- Teach by the Spirit.
- Teach the doctrine.
- Invite diligent learning.
Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, pointed out that each of these four topics contains subsections, questions to ponder and scriptural examples that can serve as outlines for principles discussed in teaching council meetings.
As teacher council meetings focus on the principles in “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” Brother Newman said, “this really will transform the way people teach in the Church.”
President Pace encouraged members to not get caught up in trying to make a teacher council meeting perfect. Simply holding a meeting is a great place to start, he said. “That simple effort on our part lifts us and edifies us and inspires us. … The Lord requires the heart and a willing mind, and we’ve shown that as we’ve walked in and try to participate.”
Teacher council meetings for parents
A recent update to General Handbook section 17.4 “Teacher Council Meetings” states the ward council may organize teacher council meetings for parents to help them improve gospel teaching in the home. Like other teacher council meetings, these are held during the 50-minute class time on Sunday.
The Sunday School general presidency suggested using the “Come, Follow Me” manual’s Introductory Materials — specifically the ideas for improving personal and family scripture study — for discussions in teacher council meetings for parents.
For more information about teacher council meetings, go to the “Teaching in the Savior’s Way” section of the Gospel Library app, which includes:
- A digital version of the “Teaching in the Savior’s Way” manual.
- Teaching videos.
- Learning and teaching helps.
- Frequently asked questions.