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Helping our youth appreciate the sacrament

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As many know, the Brethren have been trying to help the church membership place an increased importance on keeping the Sabbath holy. As part of that effort, our bishop has felt that our youth need to learn a greater appreciation for the Sacrament. Not just keeping it sacred and holy on Sunday, but keeping it with us throughout the week. 

 

We can preach and preach at them, but getting them to take something into their hearts is another thing. We've talked about some kind of interactive activity or experience to help them understand the Sacrament, but beyond that, we've pretty much come up short. In discussion as the YW board, we've tried to figure out what more we can do. I suggested working it in to every lesson we can, and of course showing by example and testimony what the Sacrament means to us. The problem is, I'm not even sure a lot of us have given it enough thought as adults. 

 

So my question to you is, what do you do to make the Sacrament more meaningful in your lives, and what suggestions do you have for helping the youth do the same?

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Since my church schedule changed to the 1:30-4:30 block (uggh), I'm noticing that what I do that morning makes such a difference in my experience actually partaking of the sacrament. When I've gone to the effort to prayerfully consider beforehand my week and the week to come, the sacrament itself becomes more of a healing experience/conversation with the Savior, instead of just another helpful experience where the Spirit is present. The whole thing stays with me longer too. Now if I can just consistently remember all that on Sunday morning and do it, maybe I'll be getting somewhere... 

 

I don't know how to help your ward's youth (no direct revelation for me on that :( ), but based on the people I've talked to, no two people handle the sacrament in the same way. Maybe a good starting point might be to ask them the same kind of question you asked us. What ideas do they have on how they can make the sacrament more meaningful in their lives? If you ask that or other similar questions after the "interactive activity or experience" you come up with, they might just receive their own answers. After all, your question just helped me get my answer. ;)

Edited by Josiah

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.. As part of that effort, our bishop has felt that our youth need to learn a greater appreciation for the Sacrament. Not just keeping it sacred and holy on Sunday, but keeping it with us throughout the week. 

 

I assume you are talking about taking the name of our Savior Jesus Christ upon us as we partake the sacrament on Sunday and then maintaining that reference with us through out the week?

 

This leads to the more basic question of how do we as members be more Christlike during the week.

 

imho, Its a lifestyle change and not simply lessons taught in sunday school or seminary. Parents will need to play a big role in this.

 

For the parents:

- getting rid of or limiting distractions like the television or video gaming

- have friends that share the same morals/beliefs

- maintain reverence in the home, no yelling or screaming at the kids when they do something wrong.

- eliminate as much idle time, keep the kids busy and productive

 

For the Ward:

- stay on pace with all the different programs that are already in place to maintain constant contact with members,

  - church on Sundays

  - FHE on Mondays,

  - Mutual nights/scouts on Tuesdays

  - chapel clean up on Saturdays

  -- Monthly...Hometeaching/ Visiting teaching visits, feeding the missionaries, ward activities

 

 

As a church we are to support and build up each others faith and the best way is when the ward feels like they are your family.

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Forgive me if you are already doing these things, I'm just sharing what comes to my mind...

 

1) In order to appreciate the Sacrament, one needs to really appreciate the Savior.  Pres. Kimball said, "No matter how much we speak of Him it is never enough."  I think all of our talks and lessons would be so much more meaningful if they were centered in Christ.

 

2) We can teach the youth, but we can't strengthen their relationship with the Savior....only the Spirit can do that.  So your job is to teach with the Spirit.

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My older boy just got ordained a Teacher.  His dad made him his Home Teaching companion.  Ever since then, they have been visiting people in the ward, including his teen-age friend that just got baptized not too long ago who is the only member in his family.  Yesterday, my husband gave my son's friend a blessing to prepare him for the first day of school.  A few days before that, they went to the ER to give a blessing to another one of their home teaching families.  A few days before that, they visited another family and just talked about Church things.

 

I have to say, having my son go around visiting families with his dad, experiencing how the priesthood blesses other people's lives and just getting to know other people and how they live their lives has changed him.  He is a lot more contemplative now and a lot less self-focused, not just during Sundays but throughout the week.

 

Maybe you can have the YW go on visits with their mothers.  Just a thought.

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I think that the key to sacrament reverence begins in the home.  Sorry to disappoint good people serving in various callings, but I am of the mind that your efforts are best supplemental than primary.

 

My wife was wonderful with our children.  From the time our children were infants she began training them for reverence during the sacrament.  For example during the week she would train our children as infants to sit quietly on her lap for 15 minutes - without toys or any distractions - just sit quietly for at least 15 minutes.  Some of our children were more difficult to train than others - but at church she would not allow then to play on the floor or get off the seat.  We have 5 children and for much of the time I was in a bishopric and on the stand - leaving her to deal with our children on her own.

 

I am not saying this always perfectly - as our oldest boys got older they often caused problems with the younger ones.  It was her idea to allow one of the older children to sit with me on the stand - but they had to earn it.  I cleared this with the bishop and it worked very well - but once I had to send a child back to sit with mom.

 

As our children got older we decided to bribe them to be reverent at church.  There were 5 items that were check by my wife and if all five were in order they got a candy bar when they got home.  Being reverent during the sacrament was one of the items on the list.  This worked so well and became so much a part of our family tradition that my oldest son upon returning from his mission wanted to know where his candy bar was after attending his first meetings after coming home.

 

I am not really suggesting that anyone adopt candy bars - what I am suggesting is that a parents we look first to our homes to determine what we can do to help our family understand and utilize the sacred time to remember covenants during the sacrament.  Maybe for ideas you could have a fast in your family. 

 

Fasting is another area I believe is often neglected.  Once teaching a Sunday Class of 12 year old I discovered that none of the 12 year old's had ever had a two meal fast - for anything.  I was shocked - In our family there was always something coming up of a very serious nature that by time a child was 9 they had been personally involved in a two meal fast of their own choosing.

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As our children got older we decided to bribe them to be reverent at church.  There were 5 items that were check by my wife and if all five were in order they got a candy bar when they got home.  Being reverent during the sacrament was one of the items on the list.  This worked so well and became so much a part of our family tradition that my oldest son upon returning from his mission wanted to know where his candy bar was after attending his first meetings after coming home.

 

When my wife left the church 1 1/2 years ago she made an effort to convince our kids that there are better things to do in life then be religious. My kids slowly started to grumble every sunday about getting ready for church saying "I hate church daddy!", I could see the smirk on my wifes face as the kids would say these things. 

 

At least one Sunday a month we had to drop the kids off at their grandmothers home because we both were working on Sunday. The kids went to their grandmothers ward and it was funny how I never hear them complain about going to that ward. One day my 12 yr old said I love going to grandma's ward, I ask "why?", she said "because we eat in class!"

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I was reading through traveler's post and remembered/realized even though my family participated in fasting, I didn't really understand the power of fasting with a purpose until after high school.

In a way sacrament can be the same. Once someone really understands the sacrament, the meaning of the symbols, and why we do it, can make a big difference. It takes really understanding or feeling Christs atonement to appreciate.

Edited by Crypto

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I am going to add my 2 cents in here. One of the ways our youth can learn to appreciate the sacrament is by dressing appropriately for the occasion. Lack of proper dress translates into lack of respect for the occasion.  

 

Elder Christofferson said "It is an affront to God to come into His house, especially on His holy day, not groomed and dressed in the most careful and modest manner that our circumstances permit.....But how can God not be pained at the sight of one who, with all the clothes he needs and more and with easy access to the chapel, nevrttheless appears in church in rumpled cargo pants and a T-shirt? "

 

 

I see often our youth show up with rumpled shirts, ill fitting slacks, no belt, sneakers with their slacks short sleeve shirts (this is terrible), Shirts that are not clean or pressed. Our youth follow the examples that they have at home and I often see the same type of dress by adults. If we want our youth to respect the sacredness of the sacrament we as adults need to lead by example. Adults polish your shoes! Iron and clean your shirts! Please wear a belt! If we dress for the occasion so will they.

 

 

 

 

 

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