VISION OF A MISSIONARY FRIENDLY WARD

VISION OF A MISSIONARY FRIENDLY WARD 

 

Over the past year, Elder Lesueur has shared several thoughts about becoming a missionary friendly ward.  One key point is that    

"missionary work is very contagious and sometimes requires a "ward culture" change in order to flourish." 

You can feel a great missionary oriented ward the moment you walk in the building.

There are a few critical elements of a great missionary friendly ward:

 

First, they have remarkable, world class greeters at the door of every meeting and activity who don’t let anyone in the chapel or building without an appropriate hug, a handshake, and an "Are you new here today?" question.  If this is their first time, the greeter might say, “Is this your first Sunday attending our meeting?  In our ward, noone ever sits alone.  I want you to meet Brother and Sister………and sit with them.” They literally feel it is their duty that every person feels welcomed and accepted.

 

Second, we overwhelm them with “LOVE”.  The members of this ward feel terribly uncomfortable if there is someone present they don't know, so they always get up and introduce themselves to strangers and sit with them, or invite this new person to come and sit with them. They want them to know that they are now home and they are welcome and they have entered Zion.

 

Third, no one ever sits alone, ever!! The missionaries can't sit next to their investigators because the members want to, and they crowd the missionaries out.  They feel very uncomfortable if anyone sits alone.

 

Fourth, members and/or greeters introduce new and returning members to ward leaders. The members tell the new members that the Bishop wants to meet them (they might say, “it is my responsibility to make sure that you meet with the Bishop.  He wants to meet everyone who comes.  After the meeting, I would like to bring you up to visit with the Bishop.”)

 

Fifth, there is ALWAYS, a marvelous gospel essentials class prepared, that is vibrant and healthy.  There is a great teacher who is simple and direct; who doesn’t get off on tangents and never chases doctrinal butterflies; who knows how to stay focused, and knows how to say, “that is a great question, we will be talking about that in 3 weeks.”  Class is held every week, we never know when it will be needed most.

 

Sixth, everyone in the ward recognizes that every activity sponsored by the ward is a missionary activity.  We can bring nonmember friends to every activity, except attending the temple.  The activities are pleasant and comfortable for a nonmember.  Whenever a member sees a face that they don’t know or recognize, they get up and introduce themselves.

 

Seventh, powerful missionary work does not come from guilt or pressure or quotas.  (I have never seen it!)  Effective missionary work is born of a recognition that we need to be delivered.  We have such great gratitude in our souls for the privilege of being retained or delivered.  It is an expression of deep-seated gratitude for the Atonement in our own lives.  It is the expression of gratitude to the Lord for His Atonement and His mercy to us.  Mercy blesses us in spite of our shortcomings. We feel so much mercy that we want to share this with others.