In June of 2013 the Quorum of the Twelve apostles and First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints announced in the world wide “Hastening the Work of Salvation” broadcast that full time missionaries would be able to use online resources such as Facebook, iPads, and iPhones to help the work go forward more swiftly. Being an online missionary is a privilege and a sacred calling, just like all other aspects of missionary service.
Below is a brief description of how missionaries used online tools while I was serving (*This was accurate 3 years ago when I was a full-time missionary, so it is entirely likely there have been updates and changes to the process of online proselyting.*):
- How Full-Time Missionaries Are Using Facebook:
Facebook is now used as a resource to teach lessons. Lessons are taught via the Chat feature, and should be constructed like a regular lesson in person, minus the opening and closing prayer. Commitments should be extended and accepted and return appointments should be scheduled. The bonus of sharing lessons online is you can share videos and other media to help clearly share the gospel. It’s so great!
- Goals and Plans for Online Proselyting:
As mentioned above, lessons are taught the same way online as they are in person. With the push for member missionary effort, members can be added to chats to qualify the lesson as a Member Present lesson, which really is so helpful to the missionaries, and helps the members accomplish their “Every Member a Missionary” goals!
- Missionary Blogs:
Missionaries may have a blog, but it is not a requirement. These blogs are another creative and personal avenue for sharing the gospel, and fulfilling their purpose.
The purpose as missionaries is “to help others come unto Christ by receiving the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.”
Via Facebook and Blogging missionaries hope to “Hasten the Work” and touch as many hearts as they can with the sweet and miraculous message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now that I’ve been home for nearly 2 years, I’d like to encourage anyone who comes across this blog to do a few things themselves to become an online member missionary:
#1- Ask your local missionaries about how they are using online tools. Ask if they’re teaching anyone online, and if you could help them teach a lesson. It’s super simple, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
#2- Post a spiritual thought 1 time each week. If you’re already doing that, then post 2 spiritual thoughts a week. I can’t remember all of the statistics, but just one post can generate about 50,000 views or some insanely big number. Some of your friends will share it, and then some of their friends will share it, and the their friends who don’t share it will at least see it, and obviously those who do share it their friends will see it, and it pretty much spreads like a wildfire from there. It’s so awesome! There is no way to tell how big or small of an impact it will have. Besides, what do you have to lose? We grow our faith and testimony by sharing our faith and testimony, so get bold and get to using social media the way God intended! You can do it.
I know it may be a bit of a stretch to get involved from a cyber standpoint with missionary work, but if you can do it online, you can definitely do it in person. With the way the world works these days, take a moment to recognize what a miracle this is! The Lord loves all of His children, and He knows we all have different talents, struggles, and opportunities when it comes to sharing the gospel. I’m offering these as a challenge, and a suggestion to help you find creative ways to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know there are people in your sphere of influence that will be touched and blessed by your efforts, online and in person.
Be bold. Trust the Lord. Share His word, and enjoy the journey.