One of the greatest challenges facing new mission presidents and their companions is helping missionaries feel passionate about their calling during this urgent, last dispensation.
That was an anchoring message delivered Monday by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents.
Today’s missionaries, he added, need to understand that they are part of the dawning of a brighter day. “Zion’s light is truly bursting forth to bring her ransomed children home.”
Missionary work was forever changed with the release of the Preach My Gospel manual over a decade ago. Since its release, convert baptisms have increased and missionaries have returned home with enhanced doctrinal knowledge and spiritual maturity. Members and missionaries have acquired more than 3 million copies of Preach My Gospel.
Elder Cook emphasized a few “essentials” that will allow a mission to become a “Preach My Gospel mission.”
First and foremost: Implement Preach My Gospel.
Missionaries must focus on the purpose set forth in the manual’s first chapter:
“Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
Next, learn to teach all the doctrinal concepts found in Chapter 3.
“Chapter 3 contains the scriptural doctrine that has been taught by missionaries since the Restoration of the Church,” said Elder Cook. “This doctrine will allow missionaries to not only teach the gospel but also will be a foundation of faith for the rest of their lives.”
Teaching members from Preach My Gospel will also increase their faith and strengthen their resolve to assist with the missionary effort. Elder Cook also emphasized Chapter 11 and how an invitation to keep commitments is also an invitation for “the investigator to repent.” In doing this, we should “promise blessings and bear testimonies.”
Elder Cook noted the positive consequences of investigators and converts regularly attending sacrament meeting.
“Sacrament meeting attendance is the best single indicator of conversion and retention,” said Elder Cook.
This has been true since the initial commencement of Preach My Gospel.
President Thomas S. Monson has encouraged “bringing people to the table of the Lord to feast on His word, to enjoy the companionship of His spirit, and to partake of spiritual blessings which are available.”
Missionaries “who desire to baptize regularly, regardless of the mission where they serve, should make extraordinary efforts to have investigators attend sacrament meeting. When they do so, they will be more successful.”
In the coming days, the new mission presidents and their companions will be responsible for a third of all the missionaries in the world.
“Over the next three years, you will train them in the doctrine and many other important matters,” Elder Cook said. “They will be a small but significant percentage of the lay leadership of the Church for the next 50 years. What an awesome responsibility. What an incredible opportunity to assist the Lord in establishing His Church.”
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