If the standard of missionary service is to be raised for missionaries, said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, "it is raised for all of us.
"We must be more faithful. We must be more spiritually in tune. We must prepare ourselves to assist the missionaries in finding those of our Heavenly Father's children who will embrace the message of the Restoration."
Speaking Saturday afternoon, Elder Ballard said the Savior was not talking to just the Apostles when He gave them charge to take the gospel to all the world. "He was also talking to every person who has been blessed to hear the gospel and is a member of His Church."
Remember, he said, "We are not marketing a product. We are not selling anything. . . . We are members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ empowered and sent forth by the Lord Himself to find, nourish, and bring safely into His Church all those who are seeking to know the truth.
"Viewed from that eternal perspective what we are to do seems so simple and clear, but I know that member missionary work can be challenging and sometimes frightening."
Elder Ballard suggested "three simple things" members can do to assist in this responsibility.
"First," he said, "we should exercise our faith and pray individually and as families, asking for help in finding ways to share the restored gospel. Ask the Lord to open the way. Prayerfully set a date with your family to have someone in your home for the missionaries to teach.
"Remember, this is the Lord's Church. Let Him guide you through constant prayer. . . . Don't pre-judge. . . . Talk to everyone, and trust in the promised power of the Spirit to give you the words you should say. . . . Let them make the decision to accept or reject your invitation.
"Over time, the Lord will put into your path those who are seeking the truth."
Second, he said, "leaders must lead by example. The Spirit will prompt and guide you in finding those interested in our message. Your personal worthiness will give you the courage and the spiritual power to inspire your members to actively help the missionaries." Elder Ballard recounted the experiences of a humble branch president who drove a milk delivery truck for a living. "Through his fasting and earnest prayer, the Spirit taught him what he and the members of his branch needed to do. . . .
"In just one year, there were 450 convert baptisms. . . . The next year there were an additional 200 converts."
A unique opportunity members have to share the gospel is by using the "Finding Faith in Christ" DVD that was distributed with the April issue of the Ensign.
"Invite your neighbors and friends to spend an evening with you during the Easter season, sharing together the life, ministry, and glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ," he said.
Third, "missionary work . . . requires genuine love," he noted.
"Most everyone wants to enjoy peace and happiness. That is a natural human desire. People want to find answers to the problems they face."
This message cannot be imposed or forced upon people, he said. "It can only be shared — heart to heart, soul to soul, spirit to spirit — and with love."
"By being good neighbors — thoughtful, caring and watchful for the needs of others — we can radiate in our own lives the blessings the gospel has to offer."