Saturday, December 8, 2007

Thoughts on Preach My Gospel at October 2007 General Conference

During the meeting I was very motivated by Quentin L. Cook's talk. I became fired up to do missionary work.

In the October 2007 General Conference Quentin L. Cook, a newly sustained member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about his role on the missionary committee in overseeing the Preach My Gospel, missionary service guide that is now being used in missionary preparation classes and by the full-time missionaries throughout the world.

He called on members to not be fearful: " One area where members can live by faith and not by fear is in our missionary effort. Prior to my call to the Presidency of the Seventy on August 1 of this year, I had served in the Missionary Department for six years, the last three years as Executive Director under Elder M. Russell Ballard, who served as Chairman of the Missionary Executive Council.

Some mission presidents informed us that many wonderful members are in camouflage to their neighbors and co-workers. They do not let people know who they are and what they believe. We need much more member involvement in sharing the message of the Restoration. Romans 10, verse 14, puts this into perspective:

“How then shall they call on him [speaking of the Savior] in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Verse 15 contains the wonderful message referenced in Isaiah:

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings” (see also Isaiah 52:7).

It has been observed that the members are going to have to move their feet and let their voices be heard if they are to achieve this blessing.

Elder Cook stated: "Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service was first introduced in October 2004. President Hinckley commenced this effort when he called for missionaries to learn the doctrine and to teach the principles by the Spirit. Every member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve participated to a significant degree. Elder Ballard and I felt that the windows of heaven were opened and the Lord’s inspiration poured out to bring forth this great resource. Over 1.5 million copies of Preach My Gospel have been acquired by the members of the Church. It is a wonderful foundation, and the missionaries are powerful, spiritual teachers. However, if we are to accomplish what President Hinckley has requested, the members, living by faith and not by fear, need to share the gospel with their friends and associates."

I have been one of the members that purchased the Preach My Gospel guide. I found it to be very motivating and uplifting. I was able to extract missionary quotes in to the various categories in my Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord: Quotes by LDS General Authorities. I have extracted the best quotes from the manual on this very blog.

I am wondering what things we can do to move our feet. I have noticed that Book Slinger does a remarkable job in moving his feet. I actually read his site to get ideas for placing materials.

Erich Kopischke also suggested a few ways we could be better member missionaries through using the Preach My Gospel guide. His primary point was "Missionaries and members must . . . become one in our efforts to proclaim the gospel." He gave four specific objectives in accomplishing this purpose:

* We must have faith as missionaries do.
* We must think as missionaries do.
* We must feel as missionaries feel.
* We must learn as missionaries do.

"One important way, of course, is to be with the missionaries and see them do what they do. But another way for us is to get acquainted with Preach My Gospel and learn more about missionary work. Ever since President McKay said, “Every member a missionary” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1959, 122), members have been striving to become more active in sharing the gospel. With Preach My Gospel, we have a marvelous guide to better help us act upon this invitation. Our own study of Preach My Gospel will not only help us to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for our missionaries, but it will help us in our own day-to-day life."

He gave a long list of ways of using Preach My Gospel so we can be of one mind with the missionaries:

"Our time may seem limited to do this study, so therefore let me give a few suggestions that may help.

* Youth preparing for a mission should carefully study Preach My Gospel along with the scriptures.
* Invite the missionaries to your home. Ask them to teach you and your family a principle or doctrine from Preach My Gospel.
* Every once in a while, use Preach My Gospel for family home evening. Let your teenage children teach your family as missionaries would do. In our home, we have had some surprisingly great lessons given by our children. We have been astonished at how well they taught simple principles. Sometimes we have invited friends to those lessons.
* Gospel teachers could use the simple but effective principles of gospel teaching as outlined in Preach My Gospel as a support to the prescribed courses of study.
* Preach My Gospel has been translated and published in almost every language that our members speak. In countries where the Church is still young, Preach My Gospel may be used along with the scriptures as a resource and foundation for all gospel learning and teaching.
* Elder Scott encouraged local Church leaders “to use these materials in . . . presidencies, priesthood executive committee meetings, and ward councils” (Liahona and Ensign, May 2005, 31).
* Use Preach My Gospel as a resource for training, talks, spiritual thoughts, lessons, firesides, and personal study."

I think these are good ways of using the missionary guide to increase missionary work among members. I wonder if there are other ideas that these two brethren didn't explore in how we can use Preach My Gospel.

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