What does it mean to “proclaim the gospel to the world?” Since I am only one person, I don’t know how to proclaim something to the whole world. But sharing the gospel with people I know sounds like something I can do. I would start this lesson with that simple adjustment in focus, bringing the scope down to the personal.
Here are four main points you may wish to discuss (condensed from five in the manual).
1. Gratitude for truths we’ve learned in the gospel, and opportunities to share what’s most meaningful to us
Lessons about sharing the gospel sometimes focus so much on ways to get people excited about talking about the Church, that they bypass the “why.” Invite the class to first think about the good things, the joy, that spiritual truths have brought to their lives.
• Ask the class: What gospel principles mean a lot to you right now, as in today, or in the past week?
• Invite them to silently answer this question: Is there anyone you might like to share that with, as a way of connecting with someone? Perhaps a sister, a friend, a parent, or your journal?
• Ask the class: What gospel principles have meant the most to you in the past year? Have you had conversations about that with people you know?
2. Sharing the gospel as guided by the Spirit
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” (2 Timothy 1:7). Sometimes discussions on sharing the gospel focus on overcoming our fears about doing so. I think when we’re fearful, it could be that we’re aiming to plow through a prescribed way of doing “missionary work” instead of letting the spirit guide us. The term “missionary tool” feels forced and unnatural, but a conversation with a loved one about our dearly held beliefs doesn’t.
• Ask the class: In thinking about your friends, neighbors, or family members, are you aware of their needs and challenges? Is there a conversation or an act of kindness that could take place in the coming week?
• What do the women you visit teach need right now?
• Are you caring for yourself so that you can have room in your mind and heart, and the energy reserves to act and speak when the Spirit prompts you to?
3. Full time missionaries
“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
• If you served a mission, what kinds of support did you most need as a missionary?
• How can we support members of the ward who are currently serving missions? And how can we support full-time missionaries in our ward?
4. The gospel has power to bring peace
“Peace will come through righteousness, through justice, through the mercy of God, through the power which he will grant unto us by which our hearts will be touched and we will have love for one another.” -Joseph Fielding Smith
Isaiah called Jesus the Prince of Peace. At Christmas we say to one another, “let there be peace on earth.” I think it’s worth reflecting on what peace means. Is it lack of conflict between individuals, or groups, or nations? Is it spiritual connectedness with God? Or assurance that we’re beloved of God? To me the core of the gospel, the reason it’s worth sharing, is that hopeful doctrine that through Jesus wrongs are righted, wounds are healed, failings are granted mercy, and suffering is replaced with peace. It’s redemption. And love.
• Have you felt the peace of Jesus recently?
• How can we love our neighbor on a daily basis?