Some of our best ideas for making the new Come, Follow Me scripture study program work — even if you have a herd of rowdy kids. Spoiler alert: keep it simple. (And short!)
I shared on my Instagram today about Come, Follow Me — the new scripture study program at my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). It's brand new for 2019 so everyone is kind of feeling the growing pains of figuring out how to make it happen -- but so far we really like it.
The thing I love most about the Come, Follow Me is that it makes it easy to teach my kids about important stuff. Our new study guide has a simple outline for each week, highlighting a couple key points from a chapter or two in the New Testament. It takes a little more regular prep on my part, but so far our family has had some really good, genuine discussions about Jesus Christ and they're happening more & more often. Some of it's gotta be sinking in, right?!
The hardest part at our house so far is just getting our boys to sit down. :) My boys are 8, 5 and 2 so they're a little wild -- but we really want to make this a new tradition in our house, and we've discovered some tricks that make it a lot easier. This is *not* necessarily how YOUR family should do it, but I think it's fun to see what other people do and it usually gives me some fresh ideas.
The most important thing I hope you take from all this is that praying, for your family & about your family, will give you the BEST ideas -- so try that first! Then, if you need more ideas, maybe these will help.
Get YOUR prep time. I lead most of our Come, Follow Me lessons so I usually read over the week's study guide & chapters during my personal scripture study time. I try to pray first to figure out what topics are most important to our family, and for any extra inspiration in how to teach it, and then I pick out a couple verses and write a few notes. This outline becomes our agenda for the week.
Set a consistent time. If I don’t, it will probably never happen. :) This year we have church from 9 - 11 am, so we're up and out the door early and then home for lunch and play time. In the afternoon, when my toddler takes a nap, the rest of us sit down at our dining room table for a mini lesson. We're talking 10 minutes MAX because my boys can't handle much more than that, yet. Then, during the week, we have a less formal scripture time 2-3 nights where we just read a few verses and talk about it. I'd love to eventually read scriptures every day but for now, this is the best we can do.
Get the wiggles out. This one is HUGE for us because....boys. We usually do a fun active thing before we sit down for our Sunday lesson -- like run a couple laps around our house, or do jumping jacks & push ups, or do a quick relay race. Sometimes I incorporate movement into our lesson. And we don't make them sit perfectly still -- if they want to move around, that's ok.
Supplies. Everything is more exciting with new supplies, right?! I got everyone in our family their own mini notebook just for Come, Follow Me, and we always draw or write something in them as part of the lesson (my boys LOVE to draw). I also set up a bulletin board, and every week we pick a different scripture to add to the board. Everyone has paper scriptures, but sometimes we use the Gospel Library app to read the verses aloud to us.
Use great resources. So far, I haven't needed a whole lot of supplementary material for our lessons because the scriptures themselves have been enough. BUT, I'm always gathering ideas for potential resources to enhance our lessons and I hope to use these more down the road. Here are some I've had my eye on:
The Friend magazine (a cute monthly collection of faith-based stories for kids 3-12, published by our church) has corresponding stories & activities to go with each month’s theme! Love.
Come, Follow Me for Primary has been helpful in giving me ideas on how to teach this to young kids. I don’t use a ton of stuff from each lesson (after all, this is what my kids will be learning in Primary the next Sunday) but I love that it gets me thinking from a little-kid viewpoint.
The Scripture Study Podcast by husband & wife team Zach & Krista has good insights into each week’s reading assignment and I like hearing how they teach it to their kids.
The Red Headed Hostess has a bunch of low-cost printables and workbooks that are perfect for keeping kids engaged. There’s a new activity kit every month!
Colorly Love has super cute coloring subscriptions for only $5/month, and you can use them for Sunday lessons or family nights too. Each digital download has coloring pages, games and activities that tie into that month’s Come, Follow Me theme.
Keep it short. Seriously. I hear about some families having hour-long scripture study and while I think that is AWESOME, that will NOT work for us right now. I'm here to tell you that a five-minute lesson, or reading one verse per person, or just watching a scripture video is totally enough if that's all you can do. Focus on making this a frequent activity in your home, and eventually you'll be able to build on it. Right now we're trying to lay a foundation, not build a whole skyscraper.
And finally...give yourself a treat at the end. This is an idea I got from Gretchen Rubin's checklist for habit change ( <— a great read if you need more ideas on how to develop a good habit — like scripture study!) and we started using it last year with our family scripture reading. Every night that we sit down to read scriptures together after dinner, we read and discuss and then -- we get to watch a Dude Perfect video together. :)
I hope some of these ideas have sparked your own creativity in making Come, Follow Me happen in your family! I love the potential this program has for shaping our families.
“The new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith.” - President Russell M. Nelson