Being a Member Missionary
Formal Mission Calls
From the time we are young, many of us that are members of the Latter-Day Saint religion are taught about missionary work. Through various means, we can accomplish this concept; the most encouraged way is through a formal mission where you submit paperwork that indicates your willingness to serve and in return, your willingness is prayed about and those in proper authority are inspired to extend a call to a particular area that your unique skills set will be most useful in the work of God’s truth and gospel. However, still some may not, for whatever reason, desire or are able to do this form of service; whether it has to do with personal feelings, financial burden to serve, or just other worthy plans for their lives at that particular time in their growth and development. Whatever the reason, they find themselves often feeling as if they somehow don’t ‘measure up’ to those who are able to serve in that form or capacity.
"Every Member ... a Missionary!"
The thing is, there are other ways in which one can feel accomplished in disseminating the gospel of Jesus Christ and feel a sense of worthiness that one has indeed fulfilled a very vital role in the Lord’s call to be a ‘missionary’. President David O. McKay, in 1952, wanted there to be more successes in the missionary field based on his own previous missionary experiences as well as those he’d heard from when he was a mission leader for a time. His solution was to have the members aid in the contact part of missionary work, thus he instigated and introduced the concept of ‘every member a missionary’ to help the formally called missionaries in the field gain more contacts in the communities in which they were called to serve.
Formal Mission Call vs Member Missionary Approach
The beauty of this concept lies in the type of approach that member missionaries will have with community members vs that of formally called missionaries with their very visible missionary tags they all must wear at all times. Being a loving, kind and caring community member sharing experiences with gospel principles interwoven in the conversation vs a formal lesson and message that a missionary will bring can often mean the difference between completely shutting down an encounter, to just a neighborly conversation sharing experiences in a more casual setting.
There are various ways to accomplish this as a community member. Additionally, this doesn't even limit you to your physical regional or local community; this can also apply to our ever-growing global community. Through various means such as social media or smart/cell phones, we can reach out to those we know that live at various distances from us; even within our own families that perhaps aren't members yet, or maybe they know nothing of the church and it's precepts. Approaching them in a more casual and neighborly fashion can be less intimidating and obligatory than perhaps an encounter with tagged missionaries knocking on one's door. Many might have an affinity to discussing something as personal as religious beliefs with strangers than with those they know.
Inviting friends and neighbors in your local community to ward or stake activities is a great and fun way to introduce those around you to some of the fun and uplifting type activities often partaken by those within the wards and stakes of the church. It could demonstrate a closeness and family like environment that perhaps your friends and neighbors are searching for right now!
Faith of a Mustard Seed...
We often are caught up in the idea that we have to be officially ‘called’ to serve a mission to have the blessings and power from God to invoke the Spirit to speak to a person’s heart. This simply isn’t true. We each have that power and blessing as long as we are engaging in missionary service or conversations for the reason that is for their benefit and uplifting of their spirit, progression, and growth toward a better and more positive life. God will always bless us with what we need when doing His work. Additionally, we don’t have to be ‘spiritual giants’ per our own perception to do this task; we have but to have the faith of a small mustard seed. And just as a candle can light another without losing any of its own light, so to can we help ‘ignite’ that small fire within another human heart to open itself up to the Spirit. Who knows; perhaps later at the correct prescribed time for that individual, that ‘rough rock’ they started out as will eventually become ‘smooth’ with the essential Living Waters of Jesus Christ through the still small voice of the Spirit to their heart and mind.