Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Article of Faith Help

     Working in Primary at church is always such a joy!  The children are eager to learn and especially in the older age group (Senior Primary or 8-12 year olds) they want to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ in more depth and gain their own testimony or special witness of him. 
      As part of the goal to help them along that purpose of coming unto Christ, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a wonderful program called the Faith in God Program.  At home children and parents can be led in discussion about worthiness, faith, what it means to keep the commandments by passing off these simple goals.  By the time a child is 12 we hope they have worked on these goals and completed them to earn their Faith in God Award certificate.  It's not much and it's not fancy but it represents the effort a child put into trying to set spiritual goals for themselves.
         But all too often, children get to their 12th birthday and haven't worked on it with their parents.  Or haven't memorized the church's Articles of Faith to make them eligible for the award. 
     In an effort to encourage them to memorize their Articles of Faith, we started the "13 Club".  It's a simple poster hung on the primary wall titled "The 13 Club- Learn all your Articles of Faith to join the 13 Club!. Then we'd add pictures of the children who have passed off (learned) all 13 Articles of Faith.  It started off mostly with children just about to turn 12.  They'd come to us as the Primary Presidency and let us know they had passed them off.  We'd quiz them in the hallway on a few and then take their picture on our phones, print them off on regular paper at home and at the next Sunday in opening exercises announce they had joined the "13 Club", taping their picture on the poster.
          To help them break down learning the Articles of Faith in easier chunks, we decided to coordinate with Activity Days and Cub Scouts to all learn the same Article of Faith that month.  We opted to start in January with the 13th and work our way backwards, doubling up in December on the easiest two.  We made simple bookmarks for each Article of Faith to be printed out by the teachers and cut in thirds to pass out to the children.  Then  den leaders and Activity Day leaders would spend 2-3 minutes each activity reciting, reviewing, and practicing the Article of Faith for the month. 
          Even then the progress was slow.  But when the beginning of the year came around, we asked the Primary teachers on Sundays to get on board and dedicate 2-3 minutes a week on practicing the Article of Faith in class.  The kids became SO excited to learn them all!  The competition especially with the boys was a big motivator. 
         Along with the teachers and Tuesday night leaders, we keep parents in the loop by sending home the bookmark and including in the bulletin and RS emails what Article of Faith we are working on.  Now each month, a couple of children have passed them off!  It's been amazing to see even young 8 year olds learning them all so quickly.  The goal is for all of them to learn them this year so that next year we can focus on something different, but when they come to the age of their birthday, they'll easily receive their Faith in God Award. 



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