Lesson 13: Every Member Is a Missionary

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 42–44


Objective

Each young man will understand why every member is a missionary.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    Prepare slips of paper with the following scriptures to be read during the lesson: Matthew 24:14; 28:19–20; Mark 16:15; Doctrine and Covenants 90:11; and Doctrine and Covenants 133:37.

  3. 3.

    (Optional) Prepare wordstrips and a handout for each young man that state, “Someone is waiting for you.”

  4. 4.

    Assign a young man in advance to tell the story about Mike (see lesson).

Suggested Lesson Development

All of God’s Children Must Hear the Gospel

Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion

Write on the chalkboard: Who is to receive the gospel? Explain that the scriptures answer this question. Give five young men a slip of paper with a scripture reference to look up. Ask them to read their scripture aloud and then tell who should be taught the gospel. Answers are in parentheses below. Write their answers on the chalkboard. Encourage the young men to mark parts of these passages.

Who is to receive the gospel?

Matthew 24:14

(All the world.)

Matthew 28:19–20

(All nations.)

Mark 16:15

(Every creature.)

Doctrine and Covenants 90:11

(Every man in his own language.)

Doctrine and Covenants 133:37

(Every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.)

Ask a young man to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:10.

  • Why is it so important that everyone have a chance to hear the gospel?

Quotation

“Do we realize that every man is in the image of God and is a son of God, and every woman his daughter? No matter where they may be, they are his children, and he loves them and desires their salvation. Surely as members of this Church we cannot sit idly by. We cannot receive the beneficent favor of our Heavenly Father that is bestowed upon us, the knowledge of eternal life, and selfishly retain it, thinking that we may be blessed thereby. It is not what we receive that enriches our lives, it is what we give” (George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, p. 46).

Each Member of the Church Has a Responsibility to Share the Gospel

Wordstrip and discussion

Display the wordstrip or write on the chalkboard Someone is waiting for you. Ask the young men what this phrase means to them.

Story and discussion

Sister Petra G. de Hernandez of Monterrey, Mexico, tells how the message of the missionaries changed her life:

“Nineteen years ago my husband died in an automobile accident. It was then that I felt the need to find God, so that he could help me with my family. My youngest daughter was eleven months old.

“One night, in the midst of my desperation, … I prayed to the Lord as if I were talking to another person. I asked him to show me the path to take in life. I told him that I knew he existed, but I didn’t know where. I asked him to show me how or where to find him. I did it with such faith and desire to find the truth that I shall never forget that prayer.

“The answer to my prayer was not long in coming. One morning two young missionaries knocked on my door and said they were from the Mormon Church and that they brought me a very important message. I had heard about the Mormons, but I had not been the least interested in them. I let them come in and they began the first lesson. As I received the first lesson, I felt that what they were saying was true. … I told them I wanted to be baptized with my family. …

“Since the day we accepted the gospel our lives have changed completely. I was now sure that God hears our prayers. … I can say with assurance that we are a united family due to the gospel and to those two missionaries who knocked on my door fifteen years ago.

“I will always be grateful to them both for having knocked on my door, and I know there are people who are grateful that my children have been the missionaries who knocked on their doors to bring them the gospel” (Leon R. Hartshorn, comp., Inspirational Missionary Stories [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], pp. 123, 125).

  • Who might be waiting for you to share the gospel? (A neighbor, teacher, relative, friend.)

Help the young men understand that each of us can change others’ lives and help them come to Christ by introducing them to the gospel. Many people in the world are looking for the truth but do not know where to find it. If we do not help them, they may never hear the message of the gospel.

Quotation

“Someone might also ask, ‘Should every young [man], should every father and mother, should every member of the Church serve a mission?’ Again, the Lord has given the answer: Yes, every man, woman, and child—every young person and every little boy and girl—should serve a mission. This does not mean that they must serve abroad or even be formally called and set apart as full-time missionaries. But it does mean that each of us is responsible to bear witness of the gospel truths that we have been given. We all have relatives, neighbors, friends, and fellow workmen, and it is our responsibility to pass the truths of the gospel on to them, by example as well as by precept” (Spencer W. Kimball, “It Becometh Every Man,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, p. 3).

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 50:13–14 while the others mark it in their scriptures.

  • What were each of us ordained to do? (Preach the gospel.)

Have another young man read Doctrine and Covenants 88:81. Suggest that the young men mark this verse.

  • What does it mean to “warn your neighbor”?

There Are Many Ways to Share the Gospel

Discussion

  • What are some ways to introduce the gospel to your “neighbors”? (By setting a good example, friendshipping, inviting them to Church activities and special family home evenings, introducing them to Church magazines, asking if they would like to know about the Church.)

Give the young men the chance to relate personal experiences they or their families have already had in sharing the gospel.

Story

Ask the young men to listen to what a young man named Mike wrote about his conversion. Have the assigned young man tell the following story.

“Another semester of school in Houston, Texas, had begun, with me, a junior, taking sophomore biology. I was surrounded by a group of girls who talked nonstop. I didn’t think I’d survive.

“I noticed the main talker always seemed excited and happy and had a glow about her. That night I leafed through the yearbook until I found her picture and learned her name, Donna.

“One day while Donna was reading a letter, I glanced over her shoulder and saw the word Mormon. … I had never met a Mormon, so I thought it would be interesting to talk to Donna.

“I had barely managed to mention the word Mormon before Donna started talking. I’d never seen anyone so excited about religion.

“I really didn’t believe a word she said, but I was curious. During the week she brought me several pamphlets and a Book of Mormon. … I promised to go to church with her that Sunday.

“Later, while at work one afternoon, I got a phone call from the missionaries. I thought up an excuse to stall them. At the end of the week I got another call. I thought up another excuse. The weeks passed, but the missionaries didn’t give up. Finally I told Donna I didn’t think my parents would let them in.

“Undaunted, she went to work and found a house where I could begin my discussion. I told my parents. They didn’t object. …

“After four months of investigation I received my answer from the Lord. I knew I had found the only true church.

“My parents were surprised, but they told me that I was old enough to know what I was doing. …

“On Friday, May 28, 1976, I was baptized and confirmed. … It was the most glorious day in my life.

“Donna has played such a great role in helping me become a Latter-day Saint, but there’s something I didn’t tell you about her. With all her missionary work, her strong testimony, and her love for the Church, she’s still a nonmember, waiting for her parents’ permission to join” (Mike Corbin, “Every Nonmember a Missionary,” New Era, Oct. 1977, p. 41).

Discussion

  • If a nonmember can be that excited to teach the gospel to her neighbor, how should we, who have the blessings of membership, act?

  • What methods did Donna use to share the gospel? (Her example, her enthusiasm, Church pamphlets, the Book of Mormon, full-time missionaries.)

Explain that everyone is entitled to hear the message we have about the restored Church of Jesus Christ. Someone is waiting for you. If you do not share your love and testimony, that someone may never know the joy of the gospel.

Quotation

Read the following quotation from President Spencer W. Kimball:

“There is a spiritual adventure in doing missionary work, in giving referrals, in accompanying the missionaries as they give the discussions. It is exciting and rewarding. The hours, the effort, the wondering, all are worth it when even one soul expresses repentance and faith and a desire to be baptized” (“It Becometh Every Man,” p. 7).

Conclusion

Challenge and handout

Give each young man a handout that states, “Someone is waiting for you.” Challenge them to find that someone within the next month by actively using the methods you have discussed. Follow up the challenge by having each young man report to the quorum president and you after one month.