Vancouver Mission Star
This message was written by President and Sister Middleton. It also appears in the Vancouver Star, the weekly newsletter of the Vancouver Mission. It is sent to each companionship throughout the mission.
CHURCH SURVEY RESULTS WILL HELP MEMBERS
BECOME EFFECTIVE MEMBER MISSIONARIES
Brother Martin Hall, the very capable and excellent Victoria 3rd Ward Mission Leader, shared with us just before the Victoria Stake Conference on March 18th a most revealing survey of members done by the Church regarding members’ role in becoming effective member missionaries. The survey was run a few years ago, during the time that President Spencer W. Kimball was the Church President, but the startling findings are pertinent to all of us today. It found that member missionary efforts were limited to just 25% of the members surveyed, instead of the 100% of members becoming missionaries that our Prophets have urged.
Each Member Knows Many Non-Member Acquaintances
The survey found that each member surveyed knew 112 non-member acquaintances on average. (That figure is likely far larger for each member in British Columbia.) Of the 112 non-member acquaintances of each member, only 30% had been approached by anyone about learning more about the Church, leaving 80 non-member acquaintances known by each member whom they had never yet approached. The members in the survey estimated that “about 30% of those 80 non-members would react with increased interest if they were approached.” Think of that! On average each of the Church members in that survey felt that 24 of their friends would respond with increased interest if the member approached them about the Gospel. While we know of no similar member survey done in BC, we suspect that if one were done the results would be much the same in finding that every member here knows many (likely several more than the 80 found in the survey above) non-member friends to whom they have never mentioned the Church.
One of our important goals in working in wards and branches must be one of teaching members how to ask. It isn’t nearly as hard as they imagine, and when asking weekly or daily becomes an integral part of being a faithful Church member in the mind of every member, the growth of the Church in BC will accelerate dramatically.
Teach Bishop Neil McKenzie’s Method of Asking
Recently we shared in a STAR Bishop Neil McKenzie’s (Langley Ward bishop) inspired approach which he uses personally to invite his acquaintances to learn of the Church. We call it his “No-Sweat-Member-Missionary Technique,” (our name for it, not his) because it is so simple and easy to do. Bishop McKenzie aims toward starting a conversation during the day with one of his non-member acquaintances (remember that each of us has 112 non-members acquaintances according to the survey). The conversation is started on a non-Gospel topic of any kind which would be of interest to the non-member friend – hockey, the weather, etc. Bishop McKenzie then will comment to his friend during the conversation something like this, “Say, you know that I’m a Mormon. Could I take you on a tour of my chapel so that you can learn what it’s about?” Bishop McKenzie will then suggest a date if his friend replies that he would like to come. If the friend declines, it isn’t a problem, as Bishop McKenzie then takes the conversation back to the original topic. He isn’t discouraged at all when he needs to ask five, eight or more friends before he finds the one who would like to come on a Spiritual Tour, and he has never lost a friend through asking. He never becomes discouraged as he realizes that he will need to ask several to find the one. The essence of all missionary work by everyone at any level consists of asking several to find the one. Bishop McKenzie realizes, as we hope the counsel in PMG will help every Church member in BC to realize, that by the act of asking we have completed our member missionary obligation to our Father in Heaven. The answer to our invitation is up to the person we ask as they exercise their agency here on earth, as they answer yes or no. Our role in God’s missionary process is to ask, and then we have accomplished God’s commandment to each of us to become a member missionary. Of course, we complete our missionary duties when we come on a Chapel Tour with our friend and sit by him or her during the subsequent lessons.
Every Member Knows Someone Who Will Say Yes
President Spencer W. Kimball was inspired to note that every single Church member already knows at least one person who is “the elect of the Lord,” Mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts (D & C 29:7). They know right now someone who is prepared by the Lord through life’s events and experiences to respond positively to their invitation to learn about the Church. We don’t know which of our 112 non-member friends are “the elect,” yet, but one or several already are the elect even as you read this Star. We must simply set ourselves the goal of asking each of our 112 non-member friends in turn until we find the one who is that elect of the Lord.
That we full-time missionaries might successfully teach and inspire each member in BC to become the member missionary the Lord has asked them to be, that we might help them to successfully incorporate their ward or branch’s Mission Plan into their everyday lives, is our constant prayer. We love each of you.
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