Opportunities are not limited to an annual subscription campaign. As members’ ages, circumstances, and Church callings change, so do their magazine needs. Magazine representatives who are aware of these changes can provide a valuable service all year long.
Here are some suggestions:
New move-ins. Introduce yourself and give them a personal welcome to the ward. Tell them you’re the ward magazine representative and you’ll be happy to help them change the address for their magazine subscription if they haven’t done so yet. If they don’t have a current subscription, tell them you’d be happy to help them subscribe if they like, and leave a magazine brochure with them.
Children graduating from Primary. Check with the parents to see if they have the New Era in the home. If they don’t, offer to help them subscribe. Give them a magazine brochure. Talk about how the magazine helps teens develop testimonies and understand and live gospel principles.
New converts. The Church magazines help new members become firmly rooted in the gospel and learn more about Church teachings, history, and practices. The baptism of a convert is a wonderful opportunity for a quorum, a bishopric, or a friend to give a gift that will begin a lifetime of inspirational reading.
Returning missionaries. Whether they will be going away to college or staying at home for work or school, returned missionaries need their own copy of the Ensign to keep up the gospel study habits they developed in the mission field. Those who learned another language can keep their skills honed with the Liahona. This is a gift opportunity for parents, a quorum, or a bishopric.
Those who need the Liahona. Returned missionaries who learned another language for their mission, members whose preferred language isn’t English, those studying another language in school—all would benefit from a Liahona subscription in one of the 50+ languages offered.
Young adults. Every young adult should have his or her own copy of the Ensign for personal study. An Ensign gift subscription for high school or seminary graduation is a great way to nurture a growing spiritual maturity. Young adults leaving home for school, work, or the military no longer have access to the family’s magazines and need their own subscriptions.
New callings. Those called as teachers or advisors need the resource and enrichment materials the magazines provide. The Friend is well known as being essential for all who work in the Primary. But those who work with teens sometimes overlook the New Era and miss out on a wealth of helpful articles and stories that will help them relate to and teach youth. Be aware of those who receive new callings in the ward so you can help them obtain the magazines they need. It’s also a good idea to check with those who have had their callings for a while to make sure their magazine needs are being met.
Ward leadership. Ask the bishop for a few minutes in a ward council meeting to review the ways the Church magazines support and reinforce the efforts of ward leaders. A few days prior to the meeting, ask various ward council members for a short list of some of their greatest concerns for those they are called to lead. Then spend some time reviewing the contents of recent Church magazine issues to put together a list of articles that address those concerns. If necessary, look up the topics in the online magazine archives (http://library.lds.org/.) Present the list in ward council as an example of how the magazines support the efforts of ward leaders, and invite them to support subscription efforts in return.
Missionary and reactivation work. The Church magazines contain the words of living prophets and apostles. They also show the gospel at work in the lives of ordinary members. They demonstrate to both potential and less-active members the blessings that come from Church membership and activity. Ward missionaries and quorum leaders should be invited to consider ways to provide the magazines for investigators and for those they are seeking to reactivate.
How the Ensign Helped One Less-Active Sister
As a divorcee raising young children, I became inactive. Despite my inactivity, I still welcomed visiting and home teachers. One of the home teachers asked if he could leave a copy of the Ensign with me. I politely said “sure” but never opened the magazine.
He continued to bring them each visit, and one day he said there was an article in the latest issue that “I think you’ll enjoy.” Out of curiosity, I read the article and found that it was about a particular trial I was experiencing at the time. I had always been careful to never divulge information about my personal life to the home and visiting teachers, so I wondered how the home teacher knew to recommend that article.
As the months went by, other articles were recommended, and each time they applied to challenges I was having. I came to a realization that even though the home teacher knew nothing of my trials, Heavenly Father did and He was giving me guidance and direction through the inspired home teachers. I have long since become active, and the Ensign continues to be a great blessing in my life.