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Ideas on How to Improve Our Home Teaching

This site is mainly dedicated to the foundational institution of Home Teaching (Below), but it is also a repository for any talk or lesson that I have prepared and have made available online for easy reference (Above links).

Home Teaching 
Idea list:

-Hold a district social. Make personal invitations*[2] (Ask quorum presidency first).

-Know them and what is going on in their lives well enough to have specific things in your daily prayers about them.

-Make a special effort to seek them out at activities, church, or whenever you see them.

-Give special attention to neighbors: keep them informed, especially about spontaneous activities (volleyball)

-Do something for them more than once a month: a note, drop off treats, a phone call [e.g., when setting up the appointment, have a conversation with them, when giving a blessing, talk to them about it]

-Personally invite home teachee's to activities. Offer to drive them there.

-Offer your services. If you know how to fix a car or a computer, let them know they can come to you*[3]

-Tell them about your lives.  As appropriate, share personal experiences.

-Keep the lesson to about 30 minutes.

-Don't wait until the last minute. Set a goal to have made the call for appointments before you pay rent.

-Say a companionship prayer and organize your thoughts together before teaching

-Biggest obstacle is usually scheduling: try setting a regular time.  The same time each month.  Or setting the next appointment at the end of a visit.

Quotes:

[2]M. Russell Ballard,

Occasionally we find some who become so energetic in their Church service that their lives become unbalanced. They start believing that the programs they administer are more important than the people they serve. They complicate their service with needless frills and embellishments that occupy too much time, cost too much money, and sap too much energy. (“O Be Wise”, Ensign, November 2006, 18)


[3]Steven E. Snow,

. . . service is to be given unselfishly, with no thought of personal gain or reward. It is to be given as needed, not when convenient. Opportunities to serve may not always seem obvious, as it is human nature to worry about our own wants and needs. We must resist such tendencies and look for opportunities to serve. When we visit with those who are suffering from sickness, loss of loved ones, or other heartbreak, it is not enough to simply say, “Call if there is anything I can do.” Rather, look for ways to bless the lives of others through seemingly simple acts of service. It is better to do even things of little consequence than to do nothing at all.”

(Steven E. Snow, “Service,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 102–4, emphasis added)


[4] M. Russell Ballard, in talking of DL's and EQP's doing all the home teaching for them:

Not only is this unwise; it isn't home or visiting teaching. Home teaching isn't about numbers or reporting visits to a home; visits and numbers are just a measuring stick. Home teaching is about love of people and service to and watchcare over our Heavenly Father's children."
(M. Russell Ballard, “O Be Wise”, Ensign, November 2006, 18-20)


[5] Dallin H. Oaks:

To our hundreds of thousands of home teachers and visiting teachers, I suggest that it is good to visit our assigned families; it is better to have a brief visit in which we teach doctrine and principle; and it is best of all to make a difference in the lives of some of those we visit.”
(Dallin H. Oaks, “Good, Better, Best,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 104–8)


[6] M. Russell Ballard:
May I suggest [a few] ways in which we can serve both wisely and well?
First, focus on people and principles—not on programs. . . Second, be innovative. As we work to magnify our callings, we should seek the inspiration of the Spirit to solve problems in ways that will best help the people we serve. We have handbooks of instruction, and their guidelines should be followed. But within that framework are substantial opportunities to think, to be creative, and to make use of individual talents [Any examples of this?]...Being innovative also means that we do not have to be told everything we should do. The Lord said, "It is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant" (D&C 58:26). We trust you, brothers and sisters, to use inspiration. We trust that you will do so within the framework of Church policies and principles. We trust that you will be wise in counseling together to help build faith and testimony in the lives of those whom you serve.
. . .Brothers and sisters, may we focus on the simple ways we can serve in the kingdom of God, always striving to change lives, including our own. What is most important in our Church responsibilities is not the statistics that are reported or the meetings that are held but whether or not individual people—ministered to one at a time just as the Savior did—have been lifted and encouraged and ultimately changed. Our task is to help others find the peace and the joy that only the gospel can give them. In seven words, Jesus summarized how we can accomplish this. He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

(“O Be Wise”, Ensign, November 2006, 18-20)


[7] Dallin H. Oaks, Service isn't an act, it's an attitude:

"the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.
A parable illustrates this understanding. A wealthy father knew that if he were to bestow his wealth upon a child who had not yet developed the needed wisdom and stature, the inheritance would probably be wasted. The father said to his child:
“All that I have I desire to give you—not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men. That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself."
(Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, Nov 2000,  32)


[8] Joseph B. Wirthlin:
“The most cherished and sacred moments of our lives are those filled with the spirit of love. The greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy. In the end, the development of such love is the true measure of success in life.”
(Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "The Great Commandment", October 2007 General Conference)

[9] John H. Groberg:
. . . trying to find love without helping and sacrificing for others is like trying to live without eating—it is against the laws of nature and cannot succeed. We cannot fake love. It must become part of us. (“The Power of God’s Love,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 9)

[10]Joseph Smith:
“Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.” (History of the Church, 4:227.)
(As quoted by Howard W. Hunter, “The Gospel—A Global Faith,” Ensign, Nov 1991,  18)