A Simple Proposal to Completely Revolutionize the LDS Missionary Effort

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
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jmaxwilson
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A Simple Proposal to Completely Revolutionize the LDS Missionary Effort

Postby jmaxwilson » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:48 pm

Read:

A Simple Proposal to Completely Revolutionize the LDS Missionary Effort

In the April 2009 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder L. Tom Perry, who is one of the Twelve Apostles of the church, spoke about the responsibility of every member of the church to facilitate the missionary effort to teach the Restored Gospel. He urged us to step up “to do a job that is rightfully ours and for which we are better suited” than the missionaries. He urged us to open our mouths
to our friends and family.

...

Elder Perry’s words reminded me of an idea I had at the end of my own mission that dovetails perfectly with this new effort. Since his presentation I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. The more I think about it, the more I think that it needs to happen. Here it is:

Sacrament Meeting Invitations

Yes, I think that Sacrament Meeting Invitations could revolutionize the member missionary effort. Here’s how: It requires a simple, but fundamental shift in how we treat Sacrament Meeting speaking assignments.


Read the whole thing and let me know what you think.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:30 pm

Come hear me speak? It has potential, but only to the extent that the members adopt it. I suspect a sizable number of members will simply plunk the invites down next to the pass-along cards they didn't hand out. Particularly since most members I know of only speak out of a sense of duty, do not consider themselves to be good speakers, and would rather that no one were there to hear them.
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scion-p40
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Postby scion-p40 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:44 am

As a youth, I invited friends when I spoke in church. No one was interested in attending church. However, when I sang a solo or in a small group, friends would come to the "performance" because we supported each other's performances. (Trust me, I wasn't *that* good.) I also invited non-member singers to sing with me.

It's been over a decade since I spoke in church, (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone! ;)) so I haven't invited anyone to hear me lately. When my first child went on a mission, she invited many people to hear her speak on the designated day. Then, when the bishop realized he told her the wrong date (that day was already assigned :eek: and another was lacking one of the speakers) , she scrambled to reach people at work who she only ran into when they both were randomly assigned the same time & location. She had no direct means to contact most of her co-workers that she invited. Only two LDS families from another stake came to hear her.

Another child of mine is terrified to speak or sing in front of others--even in our own house. She sometimes does it anyway, then beats a hasty retreat to vomit! She's not inviting anyone to that show!

We have enjoyed the company of others at youth and YSA dances, ward & stake youth conferences, youth weekly activities, and girl's camp. In going door-to-door for Prop 8, my youth found people that they knew at some homes. Now those people know where we stand on that issue.

That said, *if* people invite friends to church, whether to activities or to sacrament meeting, that exposes them to gospel ideals and others who are LDS at the very least. This also helps us, as members, to stand up for the gospel.

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zabaki
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Postby zabaki » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:40 am

I've made this card / Sacrament invitation for every single meetinghouse in Norway.

Image

(This is low res)
Yes it is a good idea. It is just a question of having the right contacts before it can be shared with the world.

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:56 pm

There was a tract-line brochure that everyone had in the 1980's, it was called 'Come and See', and it described the meetings, you either wrote in or stamped a schedule, and gave it out and missionaries would often put one in a copy of the Book of Mormon or at least give one out when teaching the first discussion. Haven't seen that one in a couple of years though, with no real replacement.

An actual official card you could put ward meeting times on could be very useful. Obviously, it may be assumed that everyone is online. However, not everyone is, for various reasons, whether it be economic or just simply no interest in having a PC. For those the Meetinghouse Locator and other apps on lds.org are of no use. For the rest, simply mentioning the website might do, but people sometimes want a hard-copy anyway.

Speaking of pass-along cards, gave out 23 in the Provo/Salt Lake area last week. So people ARE using them.

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Postby jmaxwilson » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:05 am

Thanks for all of the great feedback.

@RussellHltn

Yes there are people who see speaking in church as a burden and would rather not have anyone come and see. We should be sensitive to people with real phobias and speaking concerns. At the same time, Elder Perry did make it clear that we all need to be "opening our mouths" to preach the gospel. The reticent attitude toward speaking is a cultural thing that needs to change if we are going to build the church as we are supposed to. Perhaps sacrament meeting invitation assignments to go along with speaking assignment can help make that cultural shift.

@scion

Wow. Good points. Bishop and branch presidents would have to be aware of how date shifts will affect invitations and be more strict with scheduled speakers as well as sensitive to people with real performance anxiety issues.

@zabaki

Beautiful designs. I think the map is especially helpful.

@JamesAnderson

Good point. You are right that we need to be careful to not assume people have access to the internet. The invitations I envision are more personal than a meeting time card. They include a place for the speaker to sign and indicate the topic they will be speaking about.

Thanks for all of your thoughts. FYI I have updated my prototype invitations in the original post to conform to the church name and logo guidelines posted at the LDSMediaTalk blog: http://ldsmediatalk.com/2009/06/13/proper-use-of-the-church-logo/

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:39 am

JamesAnderson wrote:Speaking of pass-along cards, gave out 23 in the Provo/Salt Lake area last week. So people ARE using them.


Sorry if I gave the wrong impression. Yes, some members did pass them out. Others didn't. What I was trying to say is that I predict that those that didn't then won't do it now. So I'm not sure as this will increase member involvement. If I remember correctly, the idea behind the pass-along card was to provide a comfortable, low-threat way for members to open their mouths. "Come hear me speak" strikes me as lacking this comfort level.


jmaxwilson wrote:The reticent attitude toward speaking is a cultural thing that needs to change if we are going to build the church as we are supposed to. Perhaps sacrament meeting invitation assignments to go along with speaking assignment can help make that cultural shift.


Fear of public speaking isn't just "church culture", it's wide-spread. If this program will change things, I don't see how.
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SunnyCal
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Postby SunnyCal » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:57 am

I don't consider myself a great speaker. In fact, I'd have to guess that the vast majority of the members of the church are NOT comfortable enough with their speaking ability to invite their friends to hear them.

I much prefer the pass-along cards to invite friends to church cultural events, such as Christmas concerts, pre-dedication temple openhouses, etc.

I understand your proposal and salute you for your efforts, but the idea of having a friend, neighbor or co-worker listen to me give a talk in a sacrament meeting is not within my personal zone of comfort.

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Postby scion-p40 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:41 pm

We can also approach this by including adequate details on flyers/inserts that may be given to less active, part member, and non member guests at our special events & service projects. Remember that we (LDS) have our own lingo that may not be understood by our guests. Include who, what, when, where, cost, and attire. Yes, most of our events are free, but that is not true of other churches. No donation will be collected at most of our events either.

If memory serves me correctly, those invitations from the 1980's also included some tips about what to expect at our meetings. Things like typical Sunday dress and who went to what meetings (i.e.: Primary is for children 18 months to 12 years old.).

Working with neighboring churches on service projects and other events are also great missionary opportunities.


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