Gospel Principles Lesson 33: Missionary Work

May 9, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 9:50 pm   Category: PH/RS Lessons

Here is the lesson I prepared this month on Missionary Work. We are a bit behind other wards, due to Stake Conference and an odd repeating of one lesson twice last year.

Missionary Work

I am actually teaching this next Sunday, and it feels a little long and disjointed to me. Any feedback would be appreciated.


  1. Thanks for sharing your notes–they are very interesting. I am teaching this lesson in RS next week and have been thinking about it for a while, but have not put anything on paper yet. I assume these are not simply notes and that you project this for everyone to see…is that common? I have not seen it before. Very work-like.

    I would have thought that a PH lesson on missionary work might be different than a RS one in that more of your audience would have served a formal mission. While not all missionary experiences translate well to member mission work, I would have thought that at least many of your members had witnessed a conversion up close and personal. I am not sure the same can be said of the RS group I will teach.

    Your lesson differs from mine in that it seems very teacher-centered. If you intend to present all the information in the slides, you will likely be doing all the talking. That’s not the way I teach, but I can certainly understand over-preparing.

    Because missionary work is a topic about which most members feel guilt, I thought I would focus on inviting some targeted experiences to be shared–from women who have been adult converts or who have engaged in sharing the gospel with friends or from women who served missions. I hope that will allow more participation, some real world examples, and allow people to feel the spirit and hopefully feel a little inspired that they can and will do better in the future.

    I’ll be watching this thread with interest. Thanks again for sharing your notes.

    Comment by ESO — May 10, 2011 @ 6:25 am

  2. Eso:

    Good Points- I do tend to prepare too much material. One of the challenges I have in my class are a couple of guys who come every week and make inappropriate comments, so I’ve gotten in the bad habit of preparing too much material.

    What I really want to focus on is that member missionary work is not the same as missionary work, and try to ratchet down some of the guilt inducing pressure that seems to permeate the church. You are right that I think maybe 50% of my participants are RMs. But because of this, they think missionary work is just like it was when they were knocking doors. I want to dispel that.

    Comment by Matt W. — May 10, 2011 @ 7:20 am

  3. “Start offering enticing refreshments”….
    the cynic in me says that is also known as the Bishop’s Storehouse. :)

    I think you are on target emphasizing that member-missionary work is not like FT missionary work. Just look for ways to get the FTs in the same room w/ our non-member friends. If our friends are “ready” most will respond to the FTs.

    Comment by wally bob — May 10, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  4. I really like how you made the point that “retention is part of missionary work”. I bet most people don’t think of it that way, yet that is a vital and fresh perspective. Good idea to include the slide with the Hinckley quote: “There is no point in doing missionary work unless we hold on to the fruits of that effort. The two must be inseparable.”

    Also, I love how you make the point explicit that “we need to remove cultural ethnocentricity so we can reach more people” and the examples listed in your notes.

    The only thing I saw missing was a “works cited”/credits, to make it easier for the non-googling types to find Elder Holland’s talk, etc. But I enjoyed having you share the slides, especially after hearing about them yesterday.

    On another note, thanks for the chat yesterday–it was fun to be able to enjoy Longhorn Cafe together. :) Looking forward to next time.

    Comment by Clean Cut — May 11, 2011 @ 8:57 am

  5. We had this lesson today. You could always go with the handout approach to get a lot of the info you want to communicate. ;) Our teacher did that (a good RS thing to do!). But honestly, I loved that we had a tangible list of things we could do.

    So, my thought is that this feels a bit data- and information- heavy for a Church lesson to me. There’s so much you want to cram in, but what do you think will most likely tap into the Spirit’s ability to move them to think about this topic and do something about it? What are a couple of examples you can give about how member missionary work is different? Why and how is it?

    Of course, you know your crowd best, but as much as I love Gary Lawrence’s work (have been reading his book) and Covey’s ideas, my suggestion would be to model the message of missionary work = keep it simple and focused on key gospel principles. The Spirit can do the rest. (Unless, of course, you have people who will thwart that in the class, which is sounds like you do. So like I said, you know your audience and the class dynamic).

    Also, I think that new media ought to at least get a mention. ;) The whole model of ‘invite people to hear the missionaries’ is soooo different now that people can chat 24/7 with missionaries. The process of being open and sharing our beliefs is a lot different (or at least has a lot more faces to it) with social media as well.

    In fact, for me, there is a lot less guilt with the blessing of new media. No longer do I define ‘success’ only by having someone in my home to receive the missionaries. We can reach out to people all over the world, a little at a time, by using these tools.

    Comment by michelle — May 16, 2011 @ 1:14 am

  6. I’m not sure what the extra preparation was for. Creative, yes, and I admit my attention would be held throughout the duration of the class, but parts of it seemed to go outside the bounds the handbook has set. My only suggestion would be to stick closely to the manual. You have room for uniqueness in the delivery and personal connection with those you teach.

    Comment by Spencer L. Jensen — May 17, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  7. Michelle, I ended up taking out quite a bit of “the data”. I dropped Covey for an open discussion of the importance of sticking to fundamentals, and I dropped the generic opening for a straight dive into “member missionary work does not equal full time missionary work”. I actually surprised myself by spending a lot of time talking directly to the investigator in the back of the class.

    Spencer- That’s a fair complaint. (and one I often hear from my wife, so It doesn’t bother me) I draw a lot on my personal experience when I teach lessons. If I open the manual and nothing in it grabs me, I go to what the manual should have said. I ask myself, “What does the Lord want me to teach?”. Maybe I’m wrong to do that, but while I try to follow the council of Elder Ballard to have simple lessons, and while I try to stick to fundamentals, it is a great challenge for me.

    Comment by Matt W. — May 18, 2011 @ 6:04 am

  8. Hello,
    How do you open your download pptx file.

    Comment by lisa — July 9, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

  9. If you just click on the link, it should download.

    Comment by Matt W. — July 9, 2011 @ 6:53 pm