During months with a fifth Sunday — like October and December of this year — Primary teachers have the option to teach a special lesson to their classes about making and keeping covenants.
These covenant path lessons better prepare children for baptism and confirmation, teach them about the importance of the sacrament, and help them understand priesthood power and the blessings of the temple.
For help preparing a fifth Sunday lesson, “Preparing Children for a Lifetime on God’s Covenant Path” is a series of learning activities that can be found in the appendix of the “Come, Follow Me — For Primary” New Testament 2023 manual.
Next year, the appendix will be found in the combined manual for “Come, Follow Me.”
When Primary General President Susan H. Porter spoke about the new resources with the Church News in November 2022, she said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Primary teachers to choose from the material what would be most appropriate for their age group or what their class is preparing for.”
Sections are included on the following topics:
- Principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ
- The sacrament
- Priesthood power, authority and keys
- The temple and the plan of happiness
“These resources can help our children understand what President [Russell M.] Nelson has been teaching the adults about priesthood power through covenants — this even applies to children when they are baptized,” President Porter said.
In addition to the fifth Sunday, the lessons can also be incorporated into Primary lessons throughout the year.
Erika Paulsen in the Centerville Utah 20th Ward said the covenant path resources in the appendix have helped her teach her young class this year to prepare for baptism.
“It’s just like the missionary discussions. It’s the things put simply that they need to know to get ready for baptism and to have conversion. I think it has worked really well,” Paulsen said.
The role of the ward Primary presidency
One of the most important responsibilities of each ward or branch Primary presidency is to help parents prepare children to enter and progress along the covenant path.
The General Handbook Section 12.3.2 states in part:
“To accomplish this, the Primary president may assign a member of the presidency to help parents prepare their children to be baptized and confirmed. The Primary president may assign another presidency member to help parents with temple and priesthood preparation for their children.”
In an article for the Church News in April 2022, the Primary general presidency wrote that as Primary presidencies prayerfully ponder how to provide support for parents and their children, they cannot forget Primary teachers and ministering brothers and sisters.
“They are a valuable resource to parents and their children in preparing children for covenant making and keeping. Everything we do — including singing time, class time, Primary activities and ministering — can help children understand, make and keep sacred covenants with God.”
The role of parents
The Primary general presidency wrote last April that helping children enter, progress and stay on the covenant path is one of a parent’s most important responsibilities. It is also a key focus of how ward Primaries can support parents.
When Primary teachers, leaders and parents help children prepare for baptism and confirmation or for priesthood ordination and temple service, they are helping them prepare for more than an event.
“We are teaching them to understand priesthood power and blessings for boys and girls, and we are preparing them for a lifetime of covenant keeping, service and discipleship. This will require ongoing teaching, love and ministering, one by one,” wrote the presidency.
Parents have access to a series of discussion guides for talking about covenants in normal and natural ways in the home. “Preparing Your Children for a Lifetime on God’s Covenant Path” can be found in the appendix of the “Come, Follow Me — For Individuals and Families” New Testament 2023 manual and will be in the combined Book of Mormon manual in 2024.
President Porter said, “Our hope is that with the help of parents and Primary teachers, children will come to understand and want to live the covenants they make with their Heavenly Father when they are baptized — and look forward to walking the covenant path with the Savior throughout their lives.”