Emergency Substitute YW or Sunday School Lesson

5597146442_193cc9af0a_zI teach a combined class of Laurels and Miamaids. A couple of months ago, as I was planning a lesson, I kept getting emails saying that my lesson time would be cut short. They had song practice for a special musical number. And the girls needed to be taken out one by one to work on a going-away gift for one of the leaders. My usual 30 minutes was down to 15- and even those would be interrupted. I needed a quick lesson that was “on topic” but that the girls would like. This was my solution.

The week before, I had asked the girls what they wanted a lesson on. It was the month about the Restoration, so I suggested the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. They told me they just wanted food. Noted.

With only 15 minutes of intermittent lesson, I decided to go the easy route. I’d bring food. But it would also be loosely based on the Book of Mormon. I mean really loosely. So loose that you might not even need to mention the Book of Mormon at all.

I wrote a list of scriptures (from the Book of Mormon!) on the board. They were these:

Ether 6:4
1 Nephi 16:31
Ether 9:18
Alma 30:56
Alma 58:7
Mosiah 4:19
Alma 17:7
Alma 22:31
2 Nephi 17:22
Alma 8:19, 22
3 Nephi 13:31
Alma 5:34
3 Nephi 20:3-4, 7, 9
2 Nephi 9:50
Mosiah 7:16
2 Nephi 32:3
Jacob 3:2
Alma 18:9
Alma 32:42
2 Nephi 31:20

I then assigned two scriptures to each girl and asked them to find out what the scriptures had in common. It didn’t take long, all these scriptures reference food in some way.

Then I brought out some cookies.

I might have mentioned Jesus as the “Bread of Life” and that we eat because it’s fuel and it’s yummy. And the girls all agreed. And they loved it.

So if you’re in a bind and you need a quick lesson or maybe you’re substituting last minute, try this one. You can modify the scripture references for whatever book of scripture you’re studying.

Food. It’s good. And it makes a good lesson.

Do you have a quick lesson that has proved itself as a favorite? What do you do for quick lessons? 


TopHat is putting her roots down in the Bay Area with her husband and three children. She loves the earth, yarn, and bicycling.

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2 Responses

  1. emig says:

    I love that idea! My young women are *always* asking for treats – at almost every lesson and almost every activity. I’m definitely going to stash that one away to use in the future.

    My go-to last-minute lesson plan is to use the hymn book. It helps to have someone who can play the piano well, but it’s not necessary. Have each young woman and leader select a hymn that is meaningful to them, read aloud the scriptures at the bottom of the page and any other related scriptures they want to, and then tell the class why that particular hymn is special to them. Then we sing the hymn together. Depending on how many are in the class, you may need to limit it to a single verse the person selects, or you may be able to sing the whole hymn.

    I’ve also structured the lesson around a theme, like one year for Easter, the hymns had to focus on Christ. And for another lesson I had the young women share a hymn or song arrangement they’d brought from home that helped them feel the Spirit.

  2. During my mission, there was a time I got really hungry. Our stove broke and it took 10 days to get a new one, so we had cold veggie sandwiches for every meal. (Because of inconsistent electricity in that country, we could not refrigerate lunch meat and peanut butter was not sold in that country because it was not part of the culture.) During personal scripture study, I wrote out some scriptures about food and hung them near the kitchen table, because I was kind of obsessing over it.

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