In a recent Leading Saints podcast with popular guest, DeAnna Murphy, the Chief Organizational Development Officer at People Acuity, we were able to peek into the mind and heart of this inspired teacher and leader. Although this article will share key points, we strongly encourage you to listen to the podcast, “Teaching the Gospel Virtually”, in its entirety to discover the unique pearls of wisdom that will best benefit you and those you lead.
We’ve done a lot of adapting over the past year in the way we worship, study, teach and “show up” at Church and for others. There are many things we have grown into with our efforts in creating transformational meetings and ministering. Hopefully, we will remain on this path of connecting long after the pandemic is behind us and life has moved into a “new normal”. However, DeAnna gave us some great insights on things we can do to better teach and lead both now and in the future and gave us a simple way to remember them with her acronym, ARC: Attune, Reframe, Complete.
The Spirit Helps us Remember
First, let us consider the impact memories have on our behavior, our peace, and our feelings of love. When I remember my baptism into the Church, my temple wedding and the birth of each child, my heart swells with love and gratitude. I believe that much of the overwhelming love I felt was from Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost. So, is it possible that when we feel the Spirit, many times it is because we are remembering something that we learned and applied in our pre-earth life? Something to consider.
With that said, let us look at how often the scriptures counsel us to remember. There is some form of the word “remember” used 187 times in the Old Testament, 39 times in the New Testament, 193 times in the Book of Mormon, 47 times in the Doctrine and Covenants and 1 time in the Pearl of Great Price. Hum, I guess it must be important to remember. Does Heavenly Father believe that we are forgetful, or is there, perhaps, a deeper reason for our need to remember.
DeAnna reminded us that our spirits have been around for thousands of years and that in our pre-earth life we were blessed with many opportunities to be taught eternal truths. Thus, when they are discovered during earth life, the Spirit helps us remember their importance and value. Understanding the power of remembering helps us with the first of three principles that DeAnna shares with us on creating meaningful lessons.
Attune – Having a Shared Connection
In order for us to create authentic connections with each other in lessons, meetings or visiting one on one, we need to have shared agreements on what we are willing to bring to the table. We need to be willing to show up with what we have and not bring judgement of ourselves in what we think we may lack. We also need to agree that the “no judgement zone” includes the people we are interacting with. We need to agree to bring our gifts and insights to share and be willing to listen to understand what they bring. When teaching a lesson, we are not there to lecture, we are there to be the facilitator of a discussion that leads to connection with God and one another.
Ideally, we can facilitate the beginning of connection by breaking into groups of two and giving a question related to the lesson to get things started. For example, share with your discussion partner a time when you remember a deep sense of unity with your family, fellow saints, co-workers, or friend. Then discuss why you think there was a special unity at that time. Since both discussion partners agreed to “show up”, they are now able to make a connection with each other and begin thinking about the topic of the lesson that day.
As we gather back as a class, we can continue that connection with some thought questions that invite this type of discussion. When reading a scripture or quote we could ask:
- Notice what words jump off the page to you when you read those verses.
- What does that mean to you.
- Remember a time when you________.
Clearly, folks will work harder to discover the truths meant for them that day with these types of questions. The great thing about forming our questions this way is there are no wrong answers. We are asking them to share what they notice, what they feel or what they remember.
Reframing – To Create Connection We Need to Listen to Understand
To understand and connect to one another, and the Spirit, we also need to go to the next step of reframing. As thoughts bubble out from the students, we can naturally share some follow up questions or comments that invite deeper understand and connection with others in the class by reframing what they have shared.
- I’m loving what you are describing ________________.
- I also love that you chose the word________________ because_______________.
- I would love you to notice, too, that _______________and share a personal experience.
- What is important about that to you?
When each person sees something, they are more likely to share because connections are being created in this “no judgement zone.” When teaching virtually, invite students to share their insights in the chat.
Making these connections allow us to feel the fruits of the Spirit as we share and interact in our meeting. In Galatians 5:22 we read:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.”
As we recognize the fruits of the Spirit, be sure to invite the class to ponder on what these insights mean in their life. As we instruct and edify, our experience just looks different. DeAnna advised that:
“It’s interesting to me as I’m watching the Brethren come out into our congregations and in videos of them instructing, I’ve been struck at how skillfully they ask questions and allow us to find our way into “What do you think of that? What do you think of Christ?” The Savior asked that question: What think ye of Christ?] “What do you think about this?” or “What has been your experience with this?” It’s very powerful.”
Helping Find Their Story
When a speaker or teacher shares a personal, heartfelt story, that can touch those listening but DeAnna explained that:
“There is something that happens when a person finds their own story connected to whatever it is we are talking about…So often, as teachers, we miss an incredible experience because we want to impart wisdom, and we forget that those in front of us have been prepared for thousands of years to come to earth, and that knowledge and insight is still in their spirits. When they are invited to remember, this intelligence opens up inside of them, and it begins to flow to them and they remember…When we include questions to invite people to remember, to reflect on their own experience and the experience of those in the scriptures and draw in their experiences, something powerful happens.”
Completion – Taking Action
When we notice that we’re getting close to the end of our time together, it’s now important to move to the final step of this revelatory lesson by making some commitments to action, i.e. completion.
Now that our hearts have been touched, the Spirit has spoken individually to each person, we need to help our students take action on insights they’ve received. We could do it as a group, but it would be more effective if we got back with a partner to discuss it one on one. Here are some questions they can consider as they are deciding on what action to take:
- Imagine you are living this more fully in your life. What would it be like?
- What one thing would you do differently this month to help you get there?”
Remember, we are on the Saviors’ errand and He is with us. We can bring all our “messy” imperfect selves to gather with our fellow saints and step away more connected, inspired and with specific revelation on how we can attune our hearts more fully with our Heavenly Father and those we interact with each day.
DeAnna reminds us:
“Our job is not to impart wisdom. Our job is to connect and engage learners. These are different reasons than before. We can’t teach the way we used to and get the results Lord needs…I tell God, “I don’t know!” God answers, “Your head doesn’t, but your Spirit knows. And when you get rid of your fear, there is this light that connects that spiritual intelligence to your conscience mind. And it streams into me and it comes from Him. And remembrance is not just a great practice, it literally allows us to remember things we didn’t know we knew.”
Beth Young is the written content manager at Leading Saints. She is a convert of 43 years; served a mission in North Carolina; has been married for 32 years to her sweetheart, Bob; has five children and two grandchildren. She raised her family in Texas for 25 years where she served in various capacities in church and in her community. She loves writing, teaching and inspiring others to make changes to their physical, mental and spiritual health.