How to involve our kids in sharing the gospel
When, as a family, we earnestly begin missionary work, we will feel our own enthusiasm for the gospel increasing. Our family members will live the teachings of the gospel more closely because they will want to set a good example for others. We will be more eager to learn the gospel so we can answer questions asked us by our friends. Our family can experience the joy that comes from serving others. There is an increase of love and understanding and we draw closer as a family when we fast and pray for those around us (April 1986 Ensign).
What to teach your children:
- Sharing the gospel is an act of love. When we share the gospel, people can feel our love and the love of the Savior.
- Not everyone believes as we do. There are many Christian beliefs, and many people aren’t Christian. Many don’t even believe in God.
- If you invite someone to learn more about the gospel, or to come to church, and he says no, that is okay. Don’t be discouraged. You invited, so you succeeded. Remember to stay friendly with someone to says no.
- As you want others to listen to you, make sure you listen to what others wish to tell you about their beliefs. Be respectful and don’t criticize.
- If someone is mean to you because of your beliefs, don’t be mean back. It is good to request respect and tolerance since you are tolerant.
- Not all church members are good examples. Always remember your standards and follow them, regardless of who you are around.
- You can tell someone to stop nicely if he/she is talking in a way or doing something that makes you uncomfortable. This sets a good example for everyone around.
What your children can do to be good missionaries (full time mission/member missionary):
- Dress modestly now and always.
- Learn how to be self-reliant in cooking, ironing, doing laundry, etc. (age appropriate tasks)
- Save money to serve a full-time mission. Make or get a piggy bank and save your spare change.
- Talk to the missionaries in your ward often. Make friends with them, and answer their questions.
- Write to missionaries out in the field and ask for advice, and for stories about their missions.
- Find interest in learning other languages. Practice some simple words and phrases.
- Study the scriptures. Look for qualities in the prophets and heroes that you can apply to yourself.
- Invite friends to church activities and church. Make invitations and hand them out.
- Talk about your church life with your friends in everyday conversation.
- Sing the missionary songs as a family.
- Practice public speaking to get comfortable talking to groups.
- Bear your testimony to your family, and in Sacrament meeting.
- Pray for missionary opportunities for yourself, and pray for the full time missionaries.
- Make friends with your neighbors. If you see a way you can help, do it, or ask your parents for help.
- Give away copies of The Friend magazine, or The Book of Mormon with your testimony inside. Donate copies of the Friend to your library.
- Pay attention to who isn’t in Primary for a while. See how you can help that person. Befriend new kids in Primary, and in your class at school.
- When a kid is being bullied at school, help him and support him.
- Pray for your friends to feel God’s love. Also pray for bullies.
- Set a good example for those around you by the way you speak and act.
- Help your parents make a family mission plan.
- Do FHEs on missionary work.
- Work on social skills – just talking to people.
- Play with all kids, not just kids who are members of our church.
- Go home teaching or visiting teaching with your parent.
- Accept missionary challenges from your parents or missionaries, and try to do them.
How to share gospel with less active friends and family
Alma 31:35 – their souls are precious too; pray to help bring them back to Christ
Look for and reach out to those who have strayed:
President Monson told this story: May I share an additional experience I had as a bishop. I noted one Sunday morning that Richard, one of our priests who seldom attended, was again missing from priesthood meeting. I left the quorum in the care of the adviser and visited Richard’s home. His mother said he was working at a local garage servicing automobiles. I drove to the garage in search of Richard and looked everywhere but could not find him. Suddenly, I had the inspiration to gaze down into the old-fashioned grease pit situated at the side of the building. From the darkness I could see two shining eyes. I heard Richard say, “You found me, Bishop! I’ll come up.” As Richard and I visited, I told him how much we missed him and needed him. I elicited a commitment from him to attend his meetings.
His activity improved dramatically. He and his family eventually moved away, but two years later I received an invitation to speak in Richard’s ward before he left on a mission. In his remarks that day, Richard said that the turning point in his life was when his bishop found him hiding in a grease pit and helped him to return to activity. (https://www.lds.org/liahona/2009/07/sugar-beets-and-the-worth-of-a-soul?lang=eng)
Remind your friends there is room for them in this church:
President Uchtdorf said:
To those who have separated themselves from the Church, I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here.
Come and add your talents, gifts, and energies to ours. We will all become better as a result.
Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”
It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.7
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.8 We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some might say, “I just don’t fit in with you people in the Church.”
If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose. You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours. Your background or upbringing might seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.
Some might say, “I don’t think I could live up to your standards.”
All the more reason to come! The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’t mastered them yet.
Some might say, “I know a member of your Church who is a hypocrite. I could never join a church that had someone like him as a member.”
If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church. Come, join with us! (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/come-join-with-us?lang=eng)
Prepare to have the Spirit with you when you visit with these less-actives:
Elder Gardner H. Russell said, Servants of the Lord prepare in humility, through study of the Book of Mormon, prayer, and calling on the Lord, to actually depend on the Lord so that the Spirit of the Lord is in them.
The servants of the Lord then visit the less-active families and assure them of the redeeming love of the Lord and their love for them. They speak not only by inspiration, but by a higher law, in which the Spirit of the Lord speaks through them. Through constant prayer in the heart, what is said is by the Spirit of the Lord (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1986/10/touching-the-hearts-of-less-active-members?lang=eng).
- Invite them to activities that they will still be interested in: parties, family history, concerts, etc. Invite them to church meetings you are a part of, or baptisms and baby blessings.
- Ask them to pray, give Priesthood blessings (if applicable), read scriptures with you, do FHE with you.
- Talk about the gospel around them and share your testimony when appropriate. It is especially powerful to talk about the joys of the temple.
- Try to find common interests so you have things to talk about together. Be interested in their lives.
- Serve them when they need it with love and compassion.
- Do not be resentful of their choices; they have free agency just like you.
- If not united in faith, find other ways you are united – like in mutual respect, strong family ties, and other values.
- Don’t nag or act like you are better than them.
- Show gratitude and love for them.
- Always look for the good in them, and tell them the good you see.
- To help you not get discouraged, remember you are only responsible for your own actions. Work on you.
- Find out why they aren’t coming to church, and try to understand their perspectives.
- Be patient, not defensive when they have opposition. Try to answer their questions if they ask.
- Do not judge or criticize them or their lifestyles.
- Pray for them and remember how much the Savior loves them.
Chapter 12 PEM – Visiting Those Who Did Not Come Into the Fold
Brother Christensen points out that it is more important to ask “who isn’t here today” than “who is here today” on Sundays. We need to pay attention to who isn’t coming to church.
He told a story of a “twig” in Malden who worked very hard to get more people to come to church. Each week they would call people to see how they were and to tell them they missed them at church. Within a year, they went from 12 people to 40. They kept growing, and it was because they focused on telling the less actives that the church needed them.