Gospel Principles 33: Missionary Work
I’m always conflicted about a lesson on missionary work. In my life, I’ve found that when my efforts to talk to someone about the Church are based on guilt rather than the Spirit (note: this usually happens during the week after a Church lesson on missionary work that was full of examples like “your friends will cry to you from spiritual prison, ‘Why didn’t you share the Gospel with me?'”), my efforts fall flat.
In a lesson like this as the teacher, my primary message to my class would be, “Listen to the Spirit. Don’t leave this lesson feeling guilty and try to go preach to someone without A LOT of prayer and thoughtful consideration. Trust me, that doesn’t work.” (ask me how I know.)
I haven’t done the usual commentary on the lesson like I usually do, but there are some very good ideas in this lesson. Instead, I’ll offer and intro to the class and some excellent past posts from the Exponent that can spark discussion. If you have insight into how you would or will teach this lesson, please share in the comment section.
Begin the class with a discussion on how the class would feel with certain missionary tactics. Some examples:
1) 2 men come knocking at your door–how many of us open the door to the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
2) an acquaintance invites you to her church’s play or service but has never invited you to a movie or dinner
3) you mention what you had for dinner and your friend says, “Oh, we never eat that. It’s against our religion.” (do your Jewish friends ever look at you askance when you say you love bacon?)
Past Exponent Posts on Missionary Work
Guest post by Margaret where she engages in a frank discussion about her beliefs in her graduate school class: http://www.the-exponent.com/2009/03/17/guest-post-dialogue-and-mormonism/
Exponent Class about the feelings of a Mormon woman married to a non-member: http://www.the-exponent.com/2008/05/01/exponent-classics-married-to-a-nm/
Deborah discusses other faiths and their approaches to missionary work: http://www.the-exponent.com/2007/11/05/sharing-the-gospel-a-charitable-reading/
Jana talks about the keys to retention for new converts: http://www.the-exponent.com/2006/05/25/fast-food-or-feasting-spiritual-development/
Linda shares her experiences with missionary work in her ward: http://www.the-exponent.com/2006/04/02/taking-my-pulse-on-missionary-work/
Past Exponent Lessons on Missionary Work
Also, another handy resource is coming out soon to help with lesson preparation. LDS WAVE will be posting a book of quotes by Mormon women and/or about Mormon women in time for Mother’s Day.
Note: This lesson was originally written for the Relief Society audience in 2010-2011, when the Gospel Principles manual was temporarily used as curriculum for Relief Society, Elders Quorum and High Priest classes. The lesson may require adaptation for Gospel Principles classes, which are mixed gender and primarily serve new members and investigators of the church.