Lots discussed in last night’s broadcast. Geoff has already discussed the social media efforts for full time missionaries, so I won’t discuss that here.
I will note two things. First, did the camera guy really have to take a nice long shot at the sleeping man (presumably a high priest?) during Elder Nelson’s discourse? That, for me, is a “how not to”.
Here, though, I would like to open up a discussion to help all of us on something Elder Nelson stated last night: we know the reason why, but we do not yet know the “how to.” How does one do missionary work effectively as a member? Obviously, tracting is now anathema, as was pronounced last night, while working with members is the correct manner. So, how do we do effective member missionary work?
A couple of the videos shown give a hint of one “how to do” method, and added upon my experience (FTM, 9 years WML/Stake mission presidency, 2 year service mission), I will offer some thoughts. However, I really would like to hear others’ thoughts on how we can do the work in an effective and efficient way.
First, there were videos of a few people invited to baptisms/birthday parties, but especially one where a couple was first introduced to one LDS family, then another, and another, until they had many LDS friends. The second, discussed by Pres Monson, was the small branch in Canada, in which the branch president desired a chapel. When he was told the branch (25 members, 12 active) would have to grow first, the branch president asked for six FTMs and then went to work. He opened the Yellow Pages and began selecting people from it. With 6 missionaries, he could better surround these people than with the 12 active he currently had. Within a couple years, they were approved for a chapel.
The “how to” here is to surround the investigator with loving LDS friends. If her only contact is with the missionaries or perhaps one LDS family, then there is a major disadvantage, as the person’s worldly friends will be pulling them in one direction, with only one pulling them toward Christ and his Church. However, if we can surround the person with loving LDS friends, then there is no pulling from the world. The influence of the Spirit is more prominent, and the opportunities to hear and desire the gospel are everywhere.
This is what happened about 20 years ago in Wetumpka, Alabama. The branch president at the time, Carl Stephens, wanted to prepare the branch to be a ward. As the missionaries prepared an investigator, Carl would assign members to invite the family in for dinner each week (often on Sunday after church). So, one week, the family would eat with one LDS family, and with another the next. In one instance, a young black family (the Montgomery stake had only recently actively started teaching African-American families) was brought into the Church using this method. They were very well integrated into the branch by the time of their baptism. One year later, the new brother was called as elder’s quorum president (and did a fantastic job), and a few years after that the couple were called as service missionaries in the Tuskegee branch. Wetumpka became a ward within just a couple years, and is a strength to the small stake to this day.
What are other methods of “how to” that members and FTMs alike can implement in their wards and lives?