Learning Quarterly VersesBy Dan Vis
March 28, 2018
It used to be that people took learning the suggested memory verses in the quarterly seriously. Perhaps it is still that way in some parts of the world--but it has been a long time since I've seen the memory verse given more than a passing mention. Even the children's departments have largely slipped away from this important practice.
At FAST, we would love to see this downward slide reversed. Wouldn't you?
It Takes TeamworkIt took more than one person to get us into this situation, and it's going take more than one person to get us out. You may be the spark to initiate change, but to be successful you will need to kindly and tactfully recruit some help. In the paragraphs below, we'll suggest several key people you will want to get involved, and the role each person can play.
So here is our list of the leaders you should invite to join with you in seeking to revitalize the practice of memorizing the quarterly verses:
1. The Pastor
Your pastor may not be directly involved with the lesson study period at your church, but his influence will be extremely helpful if you wish to see a change in the direction of your church in something as important as this. Share your burden with him, solicit his involvement, and get his advice on how best to proceed.
If he is enthusiastic about promoting memorization, he may be willing to join you in talking with the other leaders listed below. If other commitments do not allow him to do this personally, securing his support is an important, "next best" goal. Working closely with the local church pastor in implementing change is always a good idea!
Your pastor may also be able to emphasize the importance of memorization briefly in a sermon. This is generally most useful at the beginning or end of a quarter, especially when combined with some of the ideas listed below. A pastor can give powerful reinforcement to ideas promoted by other church leaders. It signals to the congregation that the church is moving forward together.
2. The Bulletin Editor
This person has direct access to every person who attends your church, through the bulletin. And the bulletin is a great place to communicate the importance of promoting memorization. Try to get permission to include an announcement like the following in your bulletin at the beginning of each quarter for 1-2 weeks, and also the last week of the quarter for the next quarter's verses:
Want to memorize all 13 verses this quarter? Learn powerful free secrets to memorization from FAST, by going to www.fast.st/crashcourse. Then grab printed verses cards at www.fast.st/ssverses. You can do it!
Just getting this announcement in the bulletin at the right time each quarter may be enough to get some of the members of your church memorizing again! But for most, it won't be enough. That's why the steps below are so important...
3. The SS Coordinator
Your church probably has a coordinator to oversee the lesson study period in your church. And this is one of the most important people to get on board if you want to bring back an emphasis on memorization. Have a conversation with this person, share a few ideas, and offer to help with any plans they choose to implement. Here's a list of several things your coordinator may be able to do:
Use the introductory remarks preceding each lesson study, to encourage memorization. This is especially important on the first week of the quarter, when you can encourage class members to learn all 13 verses. Inviting a regular memorizer to share a testimony can give a boost of inspiration.
As part of the promotion, point out the announcement in the bulletin. Explain that the course teaches a simple review system which is the real key to memorization, and that they can print out cards from our site in different sizes for free. Your church may also want to get a few versepacks and cards to give to those wanting to learn all 13 verses.
Inspire the Teachers
The real action takes place in the individual classes (more on that, next). But the coordinator is the best person to inspire the teachers to help support this. Call a meeting with the leaders in each class and share the vision. Encourage each teacher to promote memorization in their class, and suggest ways they can do that.
At the end of each quarter, squeeze a special program into the lesson study period to celebrate success. During this time, representatives from each class can get up in front of the church and share the verses they learned during the quarter. Award a small prize to anyone who can recite all 13 verses. Many churches do something similar with the childrens classes already. Why not get the adults to participate too?
If your church has a separate leader for the children's divisions, approach that person with your desire to encourage memorization of the quarterly verses in the childrens divisions. Encourage them to work with the different children's teachers as suggested above, and offer to support them any way you can.
Volunteers will probably be welcome in all the children's division. The teachers there would love to have someone come in for a couple minutes each week to promote memorization, hand out printed verse cards, and work with the class on learning their verses. That person could be you!
4. Class Teachers
The real key to promoting memorization happens in the classroom each week, by the teacher. If your pastor and coordinator are enthusiastic, you may be able to get most or all of your teachers on board. But even one teacher can do a lot to encourage memorization in their class. Here are a couple of suggestions for how a teacher can do that:
Call special attention each week to the memory verse. Emphasize the importance of memorization. Share a short quote or verse on memorization each week, and remind them of the goal--to memorize all 13 verses. Doing this consistently reinforces how important the goal is.
Time to Memorize
Set aside 2-3 minutes each week for actual memorizing. It can be simply saying the verse several times together as a class, having them get together with a partner and work on it for 60 seconds, or if some are doing their verses well, to quote it to a partner. Another option is to try reading all the assigned verses from the beginning of the quarter to present each week. Do something to move the class from theory to action.
If you church agrees to do a special program for the end of the quarter, and include the adult classes, the teachers will be key to identifying those class members who are memorizing and inviting them to represent the class in the program. By modeling memorization success, these members will likely motivate others to take up the challenge next quarter.
If a specific teacher does not feel comfortable promoting memorization, it may be possible to appoint an assistant to help with the tasks above. They just need to be careful to limit themselves to the time agreed to. It shouldn't take more than a couple minutes each week, and it may be possible to carve that time out of some other aspect of the program. Regardless, don't neglect memorization!
Remember that verses memorized during the quarter will likely have more lasting impact than all the comments heard during the quarter. When combined with a good review system, those verses will continue bearing fruit for a lifetime, long after the comments have all been forgotten...
5. Individual Members
In addition to the church promoting memorization publically, it is important to encourage individuals to take up the challenge of learning the quarterly verses personally. Look for those who are interested, give them a few tips on how to memorize, and have them subscribe to our quarterly reminders. If possible, commit to a time of accountability each week (or month) to get together with these friends and share the verses you have both learned. Personal invitations are one of the best ways to motivate people.
Better still, consider starting a FAST Bible study class during your lesson study period, where you can work through the Survival Kit, and then Basic Training, and the rest. These courses are carefully designed to jumpstart someone's spiritual experience by guiding them step by step into a systematic memorization program. After finishing, these graduates will generally want to stay in an environment that is supportive of memorization. That creates an opportunity to organize a new class and appoint a teacher with a vision for memorization. In time your church may be able to start several of these classes. I'll talk more about creating these "high commitment" classes in a future module.
God Has His TimingFor many years, the trend has been away from memorizing. It will take time for momentum to shift back toward it once again. But by working together, and taking small steps, we can gradually get more and more people involved.
God has His timing for every priority in your church. If you pray earnestly, and work cooperatively with church leaders, God will inspire others to join you in promoting memorization of the quarterly verses at just the right time...
CommentsDoes your church give memorization the attention it deserves? How might the suggestions above improve things? What other suggestions do you have for encouraging memorization?
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/05/19|
|That would be a powerful testimony to see that happen in your church Rhoda. Many people say older folks can't memorize but it's definitely not true. :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/20/18|
|Just a quick update: we now have a special bulletin insert for our SS Verses. Get these inserted into your bulletin for a week or two before the close of the quarter. Or insert one in each quarterly before you distribute them. Thanks for sharing!
Oh, and we've also updated this section of our site to include lot's more tools, like first letters, our flash card memorizer, a progress monitor, and more. Better than ever--and still FREE!
|Posted by Qing Ling on 06/06/18|
|John I like that idea of scrolling the verse on PowerPoint. Been thinking of it too. Just have to make that request of the av team. Thanks for reminder!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/29/18|
|Great Deanna! Sounds like you are doing a great job in your church. Keep up the good work...|
|Posted by Deanna Dekle on 03/29/18|
|Our current Sabbath School leader is encouraging this very thing.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/29/18|
|That's a great idea John, to have the memory verses included as a slide on the announcement powerpoint. And super glad your pastor is a memorizer. What a blessing!|
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