Latter-day Saint Life

A simple outline to make planning ‘Come, Follow Me’ lessons a breeze—starting with Jacob 5

A lesson outline allows space for me to use the excellent resources found in Come, Follow Me in clear and simple ways with my family. 

Even though I teach religion for a living, my own gospel teaching in the home has been lacking. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to study Come, Follow Me a little more closely so I would be better prepared for our family scripture study.  Not only has my goal lasted past January, but I have also come to love Come, Follow Me in a way I hadn’t before. A big part of that is because of how it has helped me share the gospel in my home.

Another Church resource that’s helped simplify our family gospel study and give it a more lasting impact is Teaching in the Savior’s Way. We focus on the following three principles from the manual:

  • Make Jesus Christ the center of our study.
  • Base our learning in the scriptures and on the words of the living prophets. 
  • Provide experiences for us to learn for ourselves.

This structure helps our time together in the scriptures be more Spirit-filled because each of us feels closer to our Savior. And that’s the whole point of home-centered gospel learning in the first place.

To prioritize these study steps, I draw three columns in my Come, Follow Me manual and label them with these headings: Christ-centered, Scripture-based, and Learner-focused

To be Christ-centered means we “teach about Jesus Christ no matter what we are teaching” and focus on His example, attributes, the many symbols of Him, and His various roles in our lives.

To be Scripture-based means that we teach from the scriptures and the words of living prophets, always focusing on relevant truths that lead to conversion to Jesus Christ.

To be Learner-focused can be thought of as inviting our family members to be active in the learning process. As Sister Virginia H. Pearce explains:

“A skilled [parent] doesn’t think, ‘What shall I do in [scripture study] today? but asks, ‘What will my [children] do in [our study] today?’; not, ‘What will I teach today?’ but rather, ‘How will I help my [children] discover what they need to know?’

A lesson outline with these three headings has not only simplified how I prepare but also allows space for me to use the excellent resources found in Come, Follow Me in clear and simple ways with my family. 

For example, recently we were studying from 2 Nephi 32. Even though our discussion was Christ-centered and scripture-based, I hadn’t been very learner-focused in my approach.

When I realized that was the missing piece, I gave everyone a few minutes to study some of the verses on their own and then share what stood out to them. And this is where the discussion came alive.

My 15-year-old and 11-year-old not only shared their thoughts, but they related it to other gospel lessons they remembered and found similar scriptures in other chapters. My 11-year-old daughter, who loves dance, even got up and spontaneously acted out what she felt Nephi was saying.

I was floored by what I had witnessed. Helping my kids engage actively with the material invited them to discover things I surely could never have taught them myself. It allowed the Spirit to speak “after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:24).

Teaching Outline Example for Jacob 5 

I am finding this simple approach to be especially important with more complex concepts, such as the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5. Here’s an example outline using these three points that I’m going to try with my family when we study this chapter.


Focus on the example, attributes, and symbols of Jesus.

Headings from Come, Follow Me:

  1. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the vineyard.
  2. The Lord invites me to labor with Him in His vineyard.

Questions I can ask:

  • What can we learn about the Savior from His desire to nourish the trees? (See verses 4–5, 12, 22, and 27.)
  • What does laboring with Him in His vineyard look like?
  • How have you felt Him nourish you or others you know?
  • What do you learn about Him from verses 40–41 and 47?  
  • What more can we do to share the gospel with our less active family members and help Him nourish them?


Use the scriptures and words of prophets to teach current and relevant doctrines.

  • Doctrine: The gathering of Israel
  • Supporting quote by President Russell M. Nelson: “Anytime we do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.”
  • Supporting quote by President Dallin H. Oaks: “As we speak to others, we need to remember that an invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel is preferable to an invitation to learn more about our Church.

Learner-Focused Use activities that invite self-direction and discovery.  Let them have quiet time with the scriptures and the Spirit. What will they do to discover?

  • Ask family members to look on YouTube for a video of grafting, pruning, or dunging and explain to the family what it means (see Jacob 5:4–5).
  • Why would the Lord of the vineyard go through all that trouble?
  • How does He do the same in our lives?
  • Let my kids look at the chart on page 74 of Come, Follow Me and make sense of it on their own.  Let them explain what they are seeing and find where we are on the chart.
  • Invite my family to think of recent experiences when they felt the Savior labor with them (see Jacob 5:72).  
  • How can we invite Him to labor with us at places like school, dance, or soccer?
  • What is the blessing of us doing the work with Him (see Jacob 5:75)?
  • Activity: Let the kids brainstorm ideas on how to help their less-active siblings or friends at school come closer to the Savior in simple and subtle ways.  Have them pick one to do during the week and follow up next week.

When I look back on experiences with my family and the successful and not-so-successful attempts at Come, Follow Me and scripture study, the ones that were most impactful—and even fun—were those that were Christ-centered, scripture-based, and learner-focused. And as we bring the Spirit into our gospel study approach, the lessons we learn can be life-changing.

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