Saturday, October 12, 2013

How on earth do I write a Primary Sacrament Meeting Program/Presentation?

** UPDATE 10/14- It's been brought to my attention that possibly using the term "program" instead of "presentation" can cause contention and that there are some who want me to quote "be aware that some of us want to us terminology that reflects that." I'm assuming the 2nd us is a typo for use.
I'd like to apologize if I offended anyone. If you read through this article and find the word "program" offensive, please... just substitute. I'm in no way suggesting that the primary sacrament meeting presentation is an entertainment event.**

Hello beautiful friends.
I can't believe it's been 6 years of doing this blog. Time flies when you're having fun!! I wanted to thank you for reading. I'm just a random weirdo, but the fact that this blog has received over 3 million hits is impressive. It goes to show you that the Lord works in mysterious ways!!

And it's that time of year again....

I don't know why, but sisters need to chill out. Every year, around the time to write the Primary Sacrament Meeting program aspirin sales go through the roof and nervous ticks develop at an alarming rate. The primary program is not a production. It's not something that needs to be cutesy fartsy perfect.

But in all honesty, I don't think that's the main reason people stress out. I think/hope it's because we love Heavenly Father. We want the spirit to be felt. We want the children to have a good experience.

With that said... now what?

1. Well, you need to decide. Is one person going to write it or are you going to divide it up?

2. PRAY. Not a flimsy prayer either.

3. Base everything off what the children have learned.... Sharing Time Outline to the rescue!!! Use the scriptures, the themes!!

4. PRAY some more.

5. Depending on your numbers, have classes do monthly themes. For example, the Sunbeams can do January's theme, CTR 4 can do February's theme. Include parts of children's talks they gave throughout the year if you happened to write things down. Monthly songs can go before or after the monthly theme is presented by the children.

Older children can be given (ahead of time) their parts with fill in the blanks or topics.
For example:

I am a child of God who will be an author one day! I love to write. The scriptures are full of stories about families, written by Heavenly Father’s prophets. One of my favorite scripture stories about families is __________________________. I love that story because __________________
________________________________________________________________________________.  I know that families can be together forever through Jesus Christ.

Please prepare/write a 1-2 minute talk based on family prayer, family scripture study and family home evening can strengthen my family.

6. Did you stop praying? Tsk Tsk. Take a moment to say a PRAYER.

7. The length of what the children say is dependent on how many children you have in primary and also what they are capable of. Some sunbeams could preach sermons that would make you cry... however most would do best with 1-2 simple sentences. CTR 4, 1-2 simple sentences. CTR 5, CTR 6, CTR 7, depending on the child 2-6 sentences. With Senior Primary, just think about time.... and don't stress out. If there are 70+ in your primary, children can also have group recitations or group singing parts. Ask the Bishop or former primary president what's been done in the past and get some ideas!

The thing about the program is no matter what you do, the spirit will be felt. If you think you are not adequate or can't write, you're wrong. Humble prayer goes a long way.

I've written 3 programs and know that it wasn't the words necessarily. It's the spirit the children bring with their innocence and joy... it is tangibly felt. Their goodness radiates and all are uplifted. When we look at our children, we see heaven. We feel what the kingdom of heaven is like.

8. Make sure children have their parts 2 weeks before you do your practice. Have a copy up front and sit low by the pulpit to help out as needed.

9. But the children don't know the songs that well... they aren't singing very loud!!!!!!!!!

Woah. Slow ya' roll sista. 5 minutes every other Sunday on a song isn't necessarily going to make a child remember the words. They need to practice at home and sometimes they don't. It's Ok. Just have them SMILE or hum if they don't know the words!!! This is supposed to be a positive experience so be careful in your choices to judge the quality or volume of their singing. Of course we want to encourage children to do the best we can, but at the same time this isn't MoTab auditions.

10. PRAY. Look at what you've written. PRAY again. And PRAY one more time for good measure. If you feel happy, that's the spirit saying rock on with yo' bad self. If you feel unsure- re-read, PRAY, edit if needed/just go with it. The spirit might be waiting until after to give you that awesome feeling that all is well.

Check things with the bishopric like the outline says to and then FINALLY turn on that William Levy telanovela for a few minutes to enjoy. Only a few minutes, because as handsome as he is, your husband is way hotter. It's not actually William...maybe... it's more the language of love and how they can talk about love for episodes on end, while if you try talking to your husband about your endless love, staring in each other's eyes of course, you burst out laughing because you only made it 2 sentences. For the record, I do not speak Spanish but I really enjoy over acting and insane plot lines dictated by intense music.

With that not being the best way to end this post, I suppose I should mention that God is good. He loves us so much. This is an opportunity to really feel of His love for you and the primary children. Don't worry about what other people "might think"... this isn't about them. It's about having a spiritual experience and doing service. It's about guiding and helping children. it's about being close to our Savior. I know that Jesus is our best friend. He won't fail us ever. So trust in Him. You can do it with His help!!!


Anne said...

You're blog is truly awesome and inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. I appreciate it and the rest of our Primary Presidency does, also. God Bless you!!

Osteen Family said...

Thank you for your blog! It is so incredibly helpful to me.

Caroline said...

Thank you for your thoughts. My primary is not a problem of too many, but too few... and none of them are readers. We have enlisted the help of different people to help with the songs, ie. the YM/YW will sing If the Savior Stood Beside Me, so the children will have support (and a little voice).

Lynne said...

I think it is great for the Primary presidency to help out during the program-- assist with "crowd control" so that they can help encourage reverence. Also-- I think it is so important for the kids to have their parts more than 2 weeks in advance and be encouraged to start trying to memorize their part or scripture. Yes, this will make the program run smoother but more importantly, they'll internalize what they are sharing and if it is a scripture all the better. My pet peeve is when every part is whispered by the leaders at the podium. Of course this takes some help at home but isn't that the point?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts-- I love these Primary blogs so much.

Meredith Adolf said...

Thank you for your helpful guidance! I'm not in charge of writing the program, but your reminders to relax and let Heavenly Father lead applies to sharing times as well!

Have a great week and thank you for sharing the ideas on you blog, I've used many of them to enhance the sharing times that I teach.

Kathy said...

A Primary president we had a couple of years ago had a great idea. She went into the children's classes and asked them questions so that she could write their parts with their own words and ideas.

Anonymous said...

The Primary Program scares me to death, but your post really helped me. I'm a convert and didn't grow up in the church. All my church experience has been serving in Relief Society and in Young Womens. I got called to be the Primary President in our new ward. We have over 100 kids and I've never done this before. I'm still just trying to learn their names LOL. I thought I should start now trying to plan a program. I think you are right that it shouldn't be cutesy and a big production either. It should be simple and filled with the Spirit. I really appreciate your reminder to pray A LOT!! I think that's going to help me get through this :)

Millie Carpenter said...

I'm getting ready to write my first primary program! A little nervous, but with the Lord I know it will come and regardless everything will all workout. I always love your ideas and what you have to say. Thank you!

Johnson Peter said...

First calling in Primary EVER and it's in the presidency (after 20 years in YW and RS! (can you hear the fear in my "voice") My kids have performed for over a decade now so I'm not totally lost but your post really helped with understanding how to break it down. I think I got this. Thanks for hooking a sista up!!

Heidi said...

Great post - thank you!

Jenny said...

I love this post. Thank you for the ideas and the confidence boost to all of us who are unsure of what the heck we're doing! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post, had a week to think about how to write up a Primary Presentation for next month, thank you again for reminding me to always PRAY...

Joy said...

Thank you for this post! I agree we are sometimes a little over dramatic with our stress! I am writing our sacrament meeting program this next year and I'm already thinking too much about it. Thank you for the great ideas of how to start! I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Love your post on this it has helped me tremendously. I also thought it was quite hilarious that people could be offended by the use of program vs presentation :) HA HA maybe because our ward calls it a Primary PROGRAM :) People really do waste time on the negative. I am so glad that you are focused on the positive and will attribute our great Primary Program partially to your help. Thanks again!

Christine Morishita said...

Much thanks for your encouragement and putting things in perspective. I volunteered to write the program this year...what was I possibly thinking? Seriously I'm excited. It's all about the Spirit, isn't it...not entertainment. Although our little sunbeams will provide that in full measure I'm sure. Thanks!

Rosalie Mapa said...

Thank you so so much for sharing this. I've been feeling pretty anxious about writing my first primary presentation outline and this has helped me a lot. Stay blessed sister.

Julia Lucas said...

Thanks so much for the ideas you share on your blog. I always visit to get some ideas when preparing Sharing Time, and this time for Primary Presentation (I didn't think to look here for last years presentation). I appreciate your time and effort in doing this for everyone. Thank you!

jowdjbrown said...

I'm in no way suggesting that the primary sacrament meeting presentation is an entertainment event.speech recognition software