Vineyard Now Offers Volunteers Opportunity to Share Gospel Online
By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
With the addition of a “Sharing the Gospel” category, vineyard.lds.org now offers members of the Church the opportunity to participate in volunteer missionary projects by rating their local chapels, publishing their testimonies online, and sharing Mormon Message videos.
The Helping in The Vineyard website provides a variety of online service activities that can be completed in minutes. Since the site’s launch in early 2011, thousands of acts of service by members worldwide have helped the Church publish and share many resources related to translation, indexing, photography, video, and editorial work.
The new section in particular provides an outlet for members who might have a difficult time finding a way to share the gospel in their community. By the end of 2012, dozens of online gospel-sharing tasks will be available to all members with Internet access, and the site’s developers hope to have a mobile version available.
“There are millions of people online daily looking for what we offer,” explained Chris Padilla, manager of the “Sharing the Gospel” section. “We have the opportunity to help them find it by participating in the conversation as Church leaders have instructed us to do.”
In December 2007, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet.”
“There are conversations going on about the Church constantly,” he said. “. . . We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. . . . May I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration.”
“The ‘Sharing the Gospel’ online activities are there to help members join in the conversation,” Brother Padilla said. “Small and simple acts like these can have a big reach and impact online.”
For example, once signed in, under “Sharing the Gospel,” members can write a Google review for chapels where they have attended church or currently attend. When people search for a place of worship in an area and click on an LDS meetinghouse, they will see information, including members’ reviews, about that our worship services held in that building.
“Your review and comments about your experiences will add insight to those who are seeking a place to worship, attend Boy Scouts, and participate in other activities,” the site reads.
“We’re trying to find people where they’re at,” Brother Padilla said. “More than 80 percent of America’s population is using a search engine daily.”
The new section also has a project that walks members through watching and sharing Mormon Messages videos from the Mormon Messages channel on YouTube. The third project under “Sharing the Gospel” asks volunteers to create a page on squidoo.com, sharing their testimonies and opinions of the Book of Mormon and promoting other Church websites.
Each activity includes detailed step-by-step instructions that carefully guide users through online tasks such as sharing on Facebook or creating a Gmail account. Vineyard.lds.org also has a feedback feature where volunteers can get help on specific tasks, should they have questions.
As the Church continues to grow, Church departments will increasingly rely on the volunteer work of service missionaries and members, and everyone’s help is valuable. Helping in The Vineyard helps those who have a lot of time as well as those may only have a few minutes to serve in a meaningful way.