5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions
See also Teaching Helps
Perhaps your chapel has been missing some people since last year? Elder Oak’s timely message encourages us to get back to the chapel and see each other on the Sabbath in Church. He makes some great points about the warmth of congregation and why we need to gather regularly.
You may find his complete talk here. Unless you opt to spend a lot of time on a particular quote, try to pick around 2 questions per quote. Choose the questions that resonate the most with you and make a meaningful discussion for your group of personalities. These highlights and questions fit right in with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.
All quotes by Dallin H. Oaks and in blue (unless otherwise noted).
Quote #1 (repentance)
And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants 15:6)
By divine design, we need to talk to each other about repentance often because we ALL need it. Repentance is a glorious gift, and Church helps us stay on the repentance path far better than we can on our own.
Another great advantage of the restored Church is that it helps us grow spiritually. Growth means change. In spiritual terms this means repenting and seeking to draw nearer to the Lord. In the restored Church we have doctrine, procedures, and inspired helpers that assist us to repent. Their purpose, even in membership councils, is not punishment, like the outcome of a criminal court. Church membership councils lovingly seek to help us qualify for the mercy of forgiveness made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We could frequently use a little nudge and a little help being introspective. Church is a perfect opportunity for such checks and balances on our souls.
Possible discussion questions: By a show of hands, have you ever heard a comment or a topic brought up in class and realized you needed to stop doing something or start doing something? How are sacrament talks, Sunday classes, and discussions helpful? How often should we repent? How does Church help you with repentance?
Quote #2 (learn to get along)
Our members’ religious faith and Church service have taught them how to work in cooperative efforts to benefit the larger community. That kind of experience and development does not happen in the individualism so prevalent in the practices of our current society. In the geographic organization of our local wards, we associate and work with persons we might not otherwise have chosen, persons who teach us and test us.
In addition to helping us learn spiritual qualities like love, compassion, forgiveness, and patience, this gives us the opportunities to learn how to work with persons of very different backgrounds and preferences. This advantage has helped many of our members, and many organizations are blessed by their participation.
Our capacity to love is increased by practice – the practice of cultivating patience and charity around others who are in various stages of refinement, awareness, and neediness. Our responses to the weaknesses of others determine a large part of who we indeed are and how far we have to go. Often, we need to reach to Heavenly Father and the Savior and ask for the gift of a larger heart and greater understanding of those with whom we associate. We cannot refine ourselves without the coarseness and frailties of humanity around us. Sometimes that means strengthening boundaries with habitual offenders; sometimes it’s a teaching moment, sometimes it’s an opportunity to extend charity, or perhaps we need to rise above the inconveniences and let things go. Such wisdom of how to respond comes from above.
At some point, we realize we’re a work in progress, and the value of our journey is equal to everyone else’s. That’s an elevated viewpoint where love and charity can take place naturally. It’s the same viewpoint as our Savior:
106 And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.
107 And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him (Doctrine and Covenants 88:106-107)
Possible discussion questions: In what ways does Church benefit your relationships with others? Why is Church such a good laboratory for forgiveness and patience? Why is it important to associate with people of different backgrounds and preferences? Do your Church experiences help you with situations in other organizations?
Quote #3 (humanitarian aid)
Service is so vital within any church. We accomplish more when we pool our efforts. I am pleased with the humanitarian efforts we make, whether they’re ward, stake, or church-wide.
Most humanitarian and charitable efforts need to be accomplished by pooling and managing individual resources on a large scale. The restored Church does this with its enormous humanitarian efforts worldwide. These include distributing educational and medical supplies, feeding the hungry, caring for refugees, helping to reverse the effects of addictions, and a host of others. Our Church members are renowned for their Helping Hands projects in natural disasters. Church membership allows us to be part of such large-scale efforts.
Possible discussion questions: What has been your favorite service project experience? What happened, and how did it feel? Have you ever been on the receiving end of a service project? What happened, and how did it feel? Why are service projects and humanitarian efforts important to you?
Quote #4 (Sabbath worship and ordinances)
The following quote makes for some great discussion.
Crowning all of this are the authoritative priesthood ordinances necessary for eternity, including the sacrament we receive each Sabbath day. The culminating ordinance in the restored Church is the everlasting covenant of marriage, which makes possible the perpetuation of glorious family relationships. President Russell M. Nelson taught this principle in a memorable way. He said: “We cannot wish our way into the presence of God. We are to obey the laws upon which [that blessing is] predicated.”
One of those laws is to worship in church each Sabbath day. Our worship and application of eternal principles draw us closer to God and magnify our capacity to love.
Possible discussion questions: Why are ordinances important to you? How does the Sacrament help us? Why is it important to worship in church each Sabbath Day rather than at home? What opportunities does coming to church give us? (This is a great “write list on the board question – assign someone else to do the writing while you lead the discussion). How does church magnify our capacity to love? (increases our awareness and opportunities to serve, practice charity, and love with all kinds of personalities and characters – some easy and some not). What is your favorite part of Church on Sunday?
Quote #5 (closing summary)
This quote makes an excellent closing summary.
Despite the good works that can be accomplished without a church, the fulness of doctrine and its saving and exalting ordinances are available only in the restored Church. In addition, Church attendance gives us the strength and enhancement of faith that come from associating with other believers and worshipping together with those who are also striving to stay on the covenant path and be better disciples of Christ. I pray that we will all be steadfast in these Church experiences as we seek eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about our access to the power of God in great glory.
Thank you for taking the time to prepare yourself. Let’s get people back to the chapel. We need your understanding and insights! Feel confident in what you feel drawn to teach. Teach with confidence; if you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.” You were called to teach this lesson for a reason, and your insights illuminate the way for others.
2 thoughts on “5 Highlights for “The Need for a Church” by Elder Oaks”
Thank you for organizing and sharing this. I especially loved your quote talking about how Our capacity to love is increased by practice… Really beautifully said.
Elder Oaks is so inspiring. It took me a while to figure out we needed challenging people around us to grow us and make the best version of ourselves. It was great to share a bit of thought space with you. Best blessings always.
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