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.
NOW IS THE TIME TO RE-FOCUS
A Zone Leader’s Conference was convened on Monday July 2, 2007, to assess what we have achieved so far in 2007, and to determine where the Lord would have us go during the next six months. An important motivator for the meeting was the fact that mission baptisms overall are down this year 25% over last year to this point, the wrong direction clearly from what the Lord would have for His Church in British Columbia. Our Zone Leader’s Conference was called to find out why and to determine what specific steps are needed to accelerate our growth.
Four of our Ten Zones are Doing Better This Year
The Surrey Stake has more than doubled their baptisms, up 100% in the Surrey English Zone, and up 125% in the Surrey Language Zone. The Abbotsford Zone is up 22% over last year, while the Nanaimo Zone is up 16%. All other zones have fewer baptisms than last year, some down dramatically. The focus of our Zone Conference was to determine why – why four Zones are ahead, why six Zones are falling behind. The Conference was extremely helpful and we share herein a condensed version of the conclusions reached.
Surrey Stake Conjoins Focused Missionary Efforts with Determined, Focused Member Leadership
The Surrey Stake success is seen in both the English and Language Zones. Clearly all full-time missionaries are working hard, with all Key Indicators consistently above the weekly mission benchmark goals. Additionally, it is clear that the focused, determined oversight of member missionary activities by President Bennie Soll is key to the success obtained. President Soll meets with both sets of Zone Leaders for one hour each week. In that meeting he reviews the Progress Sheet for every investigator in every ward and branch, name by name. He inquires about the effectiveness of each Ward Mission Leader and Bishop (or Branch President) and he has a High Council Member overseeing the member missionary efforts as well as a Priesthood Quorum Presidency member in every quorum assigned to member missionary work. Feedback as to their effectiveness is discussed in his weekly meeting with the Zone Leaders. If any of his member leaders need further instruction or exhortation, President Soll doesn’t hesitate to call them.
In regard to our full-time missionaries, our Surrey Zone Leaders expect and require the high level of work output needed from each companionship to achieve the success we see in the Surrey Stake. Their success can be summarized by the observation that “growth of baptisms is attributable to members and full-time missionaries alike responding well to the excellent leadership of President Soll, with all working hard.”
Full-time Missionaries Need to Re-focus on Our Purpose
An important observation coming from our Zone Leader’s Conference was that several of our full-time missionaries have lost sight of what is to be achieved by our Key Indicator goals, and that our purpose in one word is to baptize. To achieve 15 or more Full Lessons each week, some companionships we learned are revisiting a handful of willing members to whom they give Full Lessons repeatedly. While we are grateful to those members who listen repeatedly to our Full Lessons, we must focus on giving the majority of our Full Lessons to non-members. It was noted that Elders Choi and Hea (in the Surrey Language Zone) in the week ending June 24th taught 38 Full Lessons, 87 other lessons and only 2 out of all those lessons were taught to members only. When Elder Kikuchi noted in his Tour of our mission that companionships under his direction as Mission President who had taught 15 or more Full Lessons weekly were baptizing every transfer, it was clear that his missionaries were teaching most of their Full Lessons to investigators. We will ask from now on that at least 50%, or preferably a higher percentage, of our Full Lessons be taught to an investigator (hopefully with a member present as well). Our benchmark goal will remain 15 or more Full Lessons weekly for each companionship, at the least.
We are asking that at least one hour of every day be devoted to Personal Finding (tracting), noting that many of the Full Lessons achieved by Elders Choi and Hea came from tracting contacts, where interested people were taught a Full Restoration Lesson at their first meeting.
Manage the Day Well
The Lord will not bless us with success unless we are doing our part with exact obedience. To succeed it is imperative that we are—
· Up by 6:15 a.m.
· Exercising vigorously 30 minutes daily.
· Having focused and intense personal and companionship study daily.
· Out of apartment by 10 a.m. (11 a.m. for language missionaries) and don’t return until 4 p.m. for dinner. Eat lunch between appointments.
· Personal Finding for at least one hour daily, focused and effective.
· Prime-Time Teaching 5-9 p.m. with investigator present if we have dinner with a member.
· Giving 3 Spiritual Chapel Tours weekly.
· Giving 15 or more Full Lessons weekly (50% or more to non-members).
· In apartment by 9 p.m. daily (8:30 on most days) to then make as many calls as needed to fill the next day’s schedule.
· Checking off the completion of the 8 goals at the bottom of the Vancouver Star each week and reporting results each Sunday.
· Striving for a loving companionship by having a goal of growing our companion during each transfer.
· Setting specific baptismal goals for the transfer, for at least one baptism this transfer.
We love each of you. It is our deepest, most heart-felt desire to see you happy through being successful.
President and Sister Middleton
(Check off weekly whether you have achieved each of the eight goals below.)
q Ask for a referral name in every conversation with a member or non-member alike… “Will you bring an acquaintance on a Spiritual Tour?”
q Challenge members to Set-A-Date for a Spiritual Tour or a Church event which can be coupled with a Spiritual Tour with their non-member friend at least 3 times yearly.
q Our goal is to find at least one new investigator daily.
q Our goal is to teach 15 or more full lessons weekly…
q …with at least 3 Spiritual Tours weekly.
q Extend at least one baptismal invitation and commitment each week.
q Remember our mission goal: 10 Gospel contacts per day per missionary outside our usual finding and teaching duties. That includes a Gospel message to everyone you see.
q As weekly goals are set for each Key Indicator, pray for inspiration, and set goals that are lofty yet achievable. Our ultimate long-term goal is for at least 3 baptisms per companionship per transfer.
“I say unto you that it is my will that you should go forth and not tarry, neither be idol but labor with your might—…if ye are faithful ye shall be…crowned with honor, and glory...” (D & C 75:3, 5).
to read past messages.