Every member a missionary
Prepare to serve full-time missions
• How can we prepare ourselves to serve full-time missions? Why is it important that we prepare ourselves before we are called?
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “When I ask for more missionaries, I am not asking for more testimony-barren or unworthy missionaries. I am asking that we start earlier and train our missionaries better in every branch and every ward in the world. … Young people [should] understand that it is a great privilege to go on a mission and that they must be physically well, mentally well, spiritually well, and that ‘the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance’ [D&C 1:31]” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 7).
• How can parents and other adults help young people prepare to be full-time missionaries? (Answers could include teaching them to be worthy and ready for a mission call at the proper time, sharing mission experiences with them, teaching them of the joys and blessings of missionary work, telling conversion stories of their own or of ancestors, starting missionary funds for them, and teaching them how to work hard.)
• What challenges do youth face as they prepare to serve full-time missions? How can they overcome these challenges? What challenges do older members face as they prepare to serve full-time missions? How can they overcome these challenges?
Serve full-time missions
• Who should serve full-time missions?
All worthy, able young men ages 19 through 25 should serve full-time missions. Full-time missionary service is a priesthood responsibility for these young men. Women ages 21 and older may also be recommended to serve full-time missions if they desire. Older couples are also encouraged to serve missions when they are able to do so. All missionaries must be worthy.
Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve counseled: “The goal of every physically able couple in the Church, just as it is for every nineteen-year-old young man in the Church, should be to serve a mission. No finer example can be given, no finer testimony can be borne by parents to children or grandchildren, than through missionary service in their mature years” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 73; or Ensign, May 1987, 61).
Support full-time missionaries
• How can we support missionaries who are now serving? (Answers could include remembering them in prayers, writing encouraging letters, and contributing to the ward or branch missionary fund or the General Missionary Fund. We can support missionaries who are serving in our area by helping them find and teach investigators and by giving other assistance.)
President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “My brethren and sisters, we can let the missionaries try to do it alone, or we can help them. If they do it alone, they will knock on doors day after day and the harvest will be meager. Or as members we can assist them in finding and teaching investigators” (“Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep,” Ensign, May 1999, 107).
Share the gospel throughout our lives
• Why is it important for us to share the gospel with others throughout our lives? What experiences have you had in sharing the gospel with others?
• Why are we sometimes afraid to share the gospel? How can we overcome these fears?
• Were any of you influenced to join the Church because of the example and friendshipping of a Church member? How did the actions of this Church member affect you?
• What are some ways we can share the gospel with others as part of our daily lives? (Answers could include the following.)
a. Set a good example for family members, neighbors, and friends.
b. Share copies of the Book of Mormon.
c. Refer names of interested people to the missionaries.
d. Share your feelings about the gospel with people.
e. Invite people to Church activities, meetings, and firesides.
f. Invite people to family home evening and to neighborhood activities.
g. Invite people who are interested in genealogy to visit a Family History Center.
h. Invite people to baptismal services.
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “It seems to me that the Lord chose his words when he said [that the gospel must go to] ‘every nation,’ ‘every land,’ ‘uttermost bounds of the earth,’ ‘every tongue,’ ‘every people,’ ‘every soul,’ ‘all the world,’ ‘many lands.’ Surely there is significance in these words! … I wonder if we are doing all we can. Are we complacent in our approach to teaching all the world? … Are we prepared to lengthen our stride? To enlarge our vision?” (Ensign, Oct. 1974, 5).
• In what ways can each of us lengthen our stride as we seek to share the gospel in our daily lives?
President Kimball also said: “Our great need, and our great calling, is to bring to the people of this world the candle of understanding to light their way out of obscurity and darkness and into the joy, peace, and truths of the gospel. I believe we must not weary in our well-doing. I believe it is time again to ask ourselves the question, what can I do to help take the gospel to others and to the inhabitants of the world?” (“Are We Doing All We Can?” Ensign, Feb. 1983, 5).
President Hinckley requested that each priesthood leader accept the responsibility and set the example for finding and friendshipping investigators. He asked that this subject be discussed occasionally in sacrament meetings. He also asked that priesthood, Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, ward council, and stake council meetings be used to plan how to find and friendship investigators. (Ensign, May 1999, 107.)