Brothers and Sisters have you ever wanted to just sit someone down and explain something to them whether they wanted to listen or not? This happens to me all the time. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we are anxiously engaged in saving souls through missionary work. Every member is a missionary and we must preach the gospel in order that the sins of the world fall not upon our own heads at the last day.
According to a 'stake president only' training meeting I recently attended studies have shown that non-members often suspect that they will be preached to from members and do their best to avoid such situations.
It is in this spirit that I want to discuss with you a way in which missionary work can be done that will likely be more effective and rewarding for you. You will need to learn to create settings in which it would be socially unacceptable for a non member to not listen to the message of the gospel. This will enable you to help them feel the spirit that under other circumstances would not be possible.
Allow me to give an example from personal experience. My neighbors Pete and Dave have always been very friendly with me. I have often thought they would make excellent church members, but they always seemed hesitant whenever I would invite them to our church. I noticed they had a small rainbow on their car and took the opportunity thank them for reminding me of the covenant God had made with Noah after the flood. When I told them the name of the church and my position therein I could discern that they were quite uncomfortable. I didn’t see much of them over the next few weeks.
When I ran into them in town I insisted that they come over for dinner and looking at each other they rather hesitantly accepted. I had Sister Paternoster make a wonderful meal and decided to invite the missionaries over also.
When Pete and Dave arrived the missionaries were already at our home and we had a wonderful dinner. In this setting the Elders were able to help my neighbors understand the importance of the First Vision. I then gave each of them their very own copy of The Book of Mormon with my testimony written therein and explained to them the eternal nature of marriage and families.
While Pete and Dave haven’t yet joined the church and don’t seem to be home when the missionaries stop by I can feel good knowing that I did my part in helping them understand the restored gospel.
Another beautiful example of creating a setting in which it would be difficult for a non member to not listen to the message of the gospel was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the October 2006 general conference. His talk can be found at this link:
In summary Elder Holland talked about a non member sister who was invited by her member colleagues to go on a hike in the mountains of
. They chose to do this on the first Saturday of October. Provo
“As the sun steadily rose, so did the hikers on the mountainside. Then, as the ten o’clock hour approached, the group began to find places to sit down… But the participants seemed unusually earnest about this particular break, some pulling out pencils and notebooks while one intently dialed a transistor radio.
What then happened would be a turning point in her life forever. One of her friends said, “Carolyn, we need to explain something. This is the first Saturday in October, and for us that means not only lovely weather and bright fall foliage, but it also means a general conference of the Church. As Latter-day Saints, wherever we are or whatever we are doing, we stop and listen. So we are going to sit here among the oak and the pines, look out over the valley below, and listen to the prophets of God for a couple of hours.”
“A couple of hours!” thought Carolyn. “I didn’t know there were prophets of God still living,” she said, “and I certainly didn’t know there were two hours’ worth!” Little did she know that they were going to stop again at two o’clock that afternoon for another two hours and then invite her to tune in at home for four more the next day.
Well, the rest is history. With the gift of a leather-bound copy of the scriptures from her students, the love of friends and families in the LDS ward she began to attend, and spiritual experiences we want all who make their way into the light of the gospel to have, Carolyn was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church”
Brothers and Sisters as you pray for ways to introduce your friends to the gospel please consider the examples given by Elder Holland and I in this blog post.