BYU graduate Matthew J. Beecher returned to campus to teach ways to be a better member missionary.
Beecher suggested that, although the eligibility age change for LDS missionaries has brought about a “hastening of the work,” the lowering of the age may have been a sign that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not doing enough.
“There is a great responsibility of us to do more hastening of the work in our own lives everyday,” Beecher said. “How do we get members ready for this hastening surge of full-time missionaries?”
Beecher’s answer: relax. Missionary work should be natural, normal and stem from members’ everyday life. As members live the lifestyle of the gospel, opportunities to share their beliefs with those around them will come naturally. To take advantage of these opportunities, members need to be open, act on promptings and invite their friends to join them. This is not a program, he said. Members should not go to great lengths to put on a show, but rather invite people to see the regular happenings of their lives.
He then outlined three steps to becoming a more effective member-missionary.
Study and pray
As commanded in D&C 84, this involves searching the scriptures, obtaining the word of God and treasuring it up. It also entails praying for blessings such as courage and strength to act, missionary opportunities, the words necessary to teach and love for those interested in the gospel.
To support this, Beecher referenced an April 2012 general conference talk by Elder David F. Evans of the First Quorum of the Seventy in which he said, “Acting in love upon the promptings given by the Spirit becomes the catalyst.”
Open your mouths
Beecher pointed to the repeated commandment in D&C 33 to “open your mouths.” He urged members to remember the field is white and, while it is good to “sow seeds,” there are people who are ready to hear the message. He quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley, who said, “The Lord said the field is white, already to harvest. Are we going to debate with him, or should we take him at his word?”
He iterated and reiterated that “we are successful when we invite.” Invitation is important because people have their agency. Members cannot force others to join the Church or to accept invitations to attend Church activities, but they can give them opportunities to do so.
Beecher offered a number of ways to invite. He recommended members talk to everyone about personal experiences and the gospel’s impact on their own lives. He emphasized that trying to judge who is ready to hear the message or predict who will respond will limit missionary work. He encouraged the use of Mormon terminology and experiences in every conversation to raise questions. He also cautioned to resist the urge to assume what aspect of the gospel others will be interested in. Rather, it will be more effective to find out what they are interested in and talk about that.
“They might ask questions. The large majority will not. You’re opening doors,” Beecher said. “If you don’t open the door for 100 people, you will never find that 10.”