Member Missionary Sunday School Lessons
Posted by robf on November 13, 2008
In our ward we’ve started a Member Missionary Sunday School class, based on the lessons found online at Elder Clayton M. Christensen’s Missionary Leaders website. This series of three lessons covers seven major principles of member missionary work, and our bishop wants everyone in our ward to rotate through the class over the next year or so.
I taught these lessons to our first batch of member missionaries this past month, and thought the format allowed us to talk about some very important concepts. I covered the main points of the lesson, but we also spent a lot of time talking about the plan of salvation rather than looking at some of the stories provided in the lesson outlines.
I won’t run through all the lesson stuff here, but just wanted to mention a couple main thoughts I’ve had and shared while thinking through these lessons:
1) Most members really don’t have faith in missionary work. We may have some sort of testimony or feeling that it is important, but we don’t actively nourish the words in our hearts that we need to in order to really share the gospel with others.
2) Probably this comes from not taking the gospel seriously enough. Oh, we may be “active” and all, but sometimes that becomes a false gospel of “activity” where we think everything is fine if we a) go to church, b) “do” our callings and c) can answer the temple recommend questions appropriately. While these are important, they don’t go far enough in really challenging our everyday view of reality and don’t bring the reality of the Atonement, covenants, angels, etc. into our daily lives–the very things that have to be living and breathing aspects of our personality.
3) Part of our complacency is that Satan has lulled us into thinking a) we’re OK if we are “active” and b) everyone else is OK just going to whatever kingdom in the hereafter that they are comfortable with. I’m OK, you’re OK!
I think this last part is an excuse we tell ourselves all the time to avoid sharing the gospel. The “my neighbor is a good person, who goes to Church, so who am I to tell them what they should do” syndrome (and its derivations). Something that’s been gnawing at me for weeks is something we discussed here on the Feast blog a little while ago–the idea that Satan’s plan was to take the possibility of exaltation off the table in order to prevent any soul from being able to become a Son of Perdition (ie. “lost” cf. Moses 4:1).
The more I think about it, the more it seems to resonate with me. Which means, that everyone here on earth would have at one point before coming here made the choice that they at least wanted the option of exaltation–rather than just the possibility of a Terrestrial or Telestial glory. All our neighbors wanted this as an option–and we’re the only ones who can help bring that option to their remembrance through bearing testimony and inviting them to explore that option with us. When we think that its OK for others to just go to whatever church they want and get a Terrestrial or Telestial glory we are just ratifying Satan’s original plan. Ouch!
According to Satan’s plan, we wouldn’t have to do member missionary work, because a) we wouldn’t be needed and b) only He would have qualified for exaltation (God’s glory). According to God’s plan, we have to do member missionary work in order to a) help with his work and glory to exalt his children and b) so that we can become like He is.
So member missionary work is not just a matter of comfort zones for us or our neighbors. It is central to the plan of salvation–and if we neglect it, no matter how “active” we are, we are really missing the whole point and have been deceived.
Now to just help the members of my class see this and help them (and me!) shake off the shackles and cast off the blinders that we’ve allowed to be placed on us through our diligent “activity”!
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