Lesson 24: Sharing the Gospel
My comments are in italics, my questions are in bold, and President Kimball’s ideas from the manual are in regular font.
At our October stake conference, our stake president issued a challenge that we, as a stake, should convert enough people to create a new unit. So, in our ward, we’ve been discussing, praying, and fasting about how to do this.
I do believe that adding a new unit would be a great thing in our stake, especially when we loose another family to Mesa/Gilbert/Chandler because housing isn’t as cheap, the schools aren’t as good, and the people aren’t as young (I, of course, would argue that none of these are correct assessments of good ol’ Phoenix).
And, I think, “Wouldn’t it be great to go to Church with my non-member friends? If they got baptized, we could whisper in the back every Sunday at Church!”
Still, it’s hard for me to do missionary work for all the usual reasons and one more…how do I convert someone to the Church when I have so many of my own issues?
I think it’s like asking someone to join my family. We’re a crazy bunch, and I love them. But, whenever someone gets married into the family, I want to pull them aside and say, “Do you really know what you’re in for?” That’s how I feel when I see a potential convert.
What is hard for you about missionary work?
Sharing the gospel brings peace and joy into our own lives, enlarges our own hearts and souls in behalf of others, increases our own faith, strengthens our own relationship with the Lord, and increases our own understanding of gospel truths.4
The Lord has promised great blessings to us in proportion to how well we share the gospel. We will receive help from the other side of the veil as the spiritual miracles occur.
Have any of you experienced this?
The Lord has told us that our sins will be forgiven more readily as we bring souls unto Christ and remain steadfast in bearing testimony to the world, and surely every one of us is looking for additional help in being forgiven of our sins. (See D&C 84:61.)
Why do you think doing missionary work might help us be forgiven of our sins?
We must remember that God is our ally in this. He is our help. He will open the way, for he gave the commandment.6
What a thrilling thing it is, my dear brothers and sisters who are fellow members of the kingdom of God, to be entrusted by the Lord to serve as messengers of His word to our brothers and sisters who are not members of the Church. Let us assume for a moment that the roles were reversed—that you were not a member of the Church but that your present nonmember neighbor was a Latter-day Saint. Would you want him or her to share the gospel with you? Would you then rejoice in the new truths you had learned? Would your love and respect increase for your neighbor who had shared these truths with you? Of course, the answer to all of these questions would be: Yes!7
Since Stake Conference, I have been thinking and praying about how to meet this challenge. We have neighbors across the street, who are great people. I doubt they have any interest in the Church, but when we were asked to invite non-members to the Mesa Temple lights, I figured that was something I could do.
After letting the pamphlet with the map and times sit on my kitchen counter for a week, I took the kids and went over.
The husband jokingly said, “So, you waited a year before you started to bring over the pamphlets.”
The wife said she’d get back to me about a time that would work. She still hasn’t.
I’m still a little embarrassed.
We often talk about our best missionary experiences. I wonder if it’s helpful to hear about the ones where we fall flat on our faces. Before I did this, I thought rejection would feel bad, my neighbors would never talk to me again, my ward would think I let them down. Nothing like that happened, and ultimately, I’m happy that I got out of my comfort zone and tried.
Have you had a less-than-Ensign-worthy missionary experience?
I feel the Lord has placed, in a very natural way within our circles of friends and acquaintances, many persons who are ready to enter into his Church. We ask that you prayerfully identify those persons and then ask the Lord’s assistance in helping you introduce them to the gospel.11
How have you identified people who might be interested in the Gospel?
Righteous members, living the gospel by example, as well as by precept, are the Church’s best advertisement.14
Sometimes, I think, “Well, I’m doing missionary work by being a good example,” but really, all I’m doing is going about my day-to-day business.
Are there things we can actively do to be good examples? Missionary work includes loving and persistent fellowshipping of new converts and less-active members.
To the converts in our class, what did people do to fellowship you that you really appreciated?
Where there things that people said/did that you didn’t appreciate when you first became a member?
I am asking for missionaries who have been carefully indoctrinated and trained through the family and the organizations of the Church, and who come to the mission with a great desire. I am asking … that we train prospective missionaries much better, much earlier, much longer, so that each anticipates his mission with great joy.26
What can we do as parents and teachers to encourage children to go on missions? Should we encourage all children to go on missions?
We could use hundreds of couples, older people like some of you folks, whose families are reared, who have retired in their business, who are able to go … to teach the gospel. We could use hundreds of couples. You just go and talk to your bishop—that is all you need to do. Tell him, “We are ready to go, if you can use us.” I think you will probably get a call.34
Have any of you served missions since you have retired? Can you share your experiences?
There are lots of missionary opportunities for older members. Click this link to find some interesting places and types of missions.
Here are two pieces on LDS.org that I thought had good examples and ideas:
Christopher K. Bigelow’s “Making Member-Missionary Work Work”
Elder Clayton M. Christensen and Christine Quinn Christensen’s “Seven Lessons on Sharing the Gospel”