I know what most of you are thinking. Ugh. Member missionary stuff. Don't worry, I totally understand you. 'Member Missionary' just sounds like an impossible challenge that only those with serious dedication can accomplish. Am I right? The thoughts of trying to baptize your next door neighbor or that lady from your playgroup or the nice waiter at the restaurant not only sounds near impossible, but also quite terrifying. Trust me, I get it.
So how in the world are you supposed to be a true disciple of Christ if member missionary work sounds more like a fantasy than reality?
Let's take a closer look.
This is a Prezi done by the Spring Texas Stake about member missionary work. It's pretty lengthy, so if you have the time, I HIGHLY suggest you read through it. If not, I'll explain some of the things that stood out greatly to me.
One of the first things that struck me the hardest was this quote by M. Russell Ballard:
"The most common request we hear is a fairly simple one that goes something like this: “Tell me a little about your Church.” The key word here is “little.” They are not saying, “Tell me everything you know and then send others to tell me everything else.”
We, of course, welcome people’s interest, and many will want to be taught more about our doctrines and beliefs. This is why we have over 53,000 full-time missionaries serving at their own expense throughout the world.
But we need to remember that there is a difference between interest and mere curiosity. Sometimes people just want to know what the Church is. Those who are curious in this general way deserve clear and accurate information that comes directly from those of us who are members so that they do not have to rely on the incomplete answers, half-truths, or false statements that may come from the media or other outside voices. The many misunderstandings and false information about the Church are somewhat our own fault for not clearly explaining who we are and what we believe."
When someone asks you a question about the Church, they aren't asking for you to whip out your Articles of Faith card and start explaining every one. They aren't asking you to give a 15 minute testimony about all the topics you are truly converted to. They just want a simple answer that clears any false information they may have heard before, and/or helps them get a clearer understanding on specific topics.
If you're like me, and thinking, "Well, I just don't have a huge line of people waiting to ask me a little bit about my church", then consider this: When people have questions about anything, what is the first thing they do? They Google it. You do it too (which is how you diagnosed yourself with cancer when your searched for causes of a runny nose). The internet is filled to the brim with false ideas of the Church's teaching and negative opinions towards the Church. It is our job to get the correct information out there.
This video gives a better idea how to help bring the Gospel to those who look to the internet first when asking questions about our church:
As a blogger, I take a lot from this video. But not all of you are like me, using the internet as your main way of getting the Gospel out. So what else can we do?
This is where I say, we need to be examples. And oh haven't we heard that a million times. But, it's more powerful than you think. Here are some facts from the Prezi for those who didn't go through it all:
How many people in your playgroup actually know that you're LDS? Did you skirt around exactly what faith you belong to in your casual conversation with the waiter? Does your neighbor know why you don't drink coffee or did you just answer with a simple, "We just don't"?
In order for people to start understanding that Mormons are not scary weirdos, we have to tell them! They don't need to know exactly what the Book of Mormon states or who our Prophet is. But they do need to know that you're a kind, healthy, happy, loving, giving, not-so-weird Mormon. Before they can ever say yes to investigating the Church, they have to first know that the Church is not full of a bunch of crazy people!
From the Prezi, I read this little fact, and my whole idea of member missionary work completely changed:
The reason member missionary work seems so hard is because we are setting our goals wrongly. We don't need to baptize our neighbors by the end of this year or the next. We need to (brace yourself- here comes the cliché) plant the seeds. Maybe you are the first Mormon a person has ever met. Maybe you are the Mormon that helps someone decide to see why on earth Mormons are so optimistic, even through hard trials. Maybe someone has had bad experiences with members, and you need to be the one that redefines what our religion represents.
We don't have to knock on doors. We need to have Christ's Gospel painted on our hearts so that people won't be able to resist knowing what that light on the hill is. If you're filled with the Spirit, I promise, it shows.
If you have still not read through the Prezi, I promise you, it'll change your entire view of member missionary work forever.
And it might just aid in changing someone else's life forever as well.
This article here says all this, but way better than I can say it >>> so check it out!