“How do I get to know people who are not Church members, be a good example to them, and invite them to church when I can’t spend time with them because they hang out at places I shouldn’t go?”09243_000_006
You’re right—there are definitely some places you shouldn’t go, but you can take advantage of the common ground that you do share with others. You can spend time with them at school, at work, or in extracurricular activities, like sports, clubs, volunteer organizations, or community activities. These are wonderful places to meet and befriend new people because you share common experiences and interests with them.
As you come to know people who are not members of the Church, you can develop better friendships with them by showing genuine interest in their lives, activities, and wellbeing. Be an example to them by being happy, positive, and kind. Your friends will see that there is something different about you, and they might be curious to know more. Always be ready to share how the gospel brings happiness and hope into your life (see 1 Peter 3:15). When you tell your friends how the gospel blesses you, you will find it easier to invite them to Church activities or meetings, where they may find the same happiness and joy.
I make new friends by participating in many different groups at school or through volunteer work. If you make friends in these ways, it will become easier for you to invite them to some Church activities, and your friendship with them will make it easier for them to come and feel comfortable. As they come, they may begin to feel the Spirit. Bring them to the activities so they can see other teens their age having fun and they can feel how happy everyone is.
Jintoku T., 19, Japan
Begin with Talking
Just as you do for any friendship, begin by talking with them. Even if it’s just a simple ‘hello,’ they will notice your friendliness. Show sincere interest in them and find opportunities to serve and help them. Service touches hearts and shows you care. If they ask you to participate with them in something you know you shouldn’t do, be an example and stand up for your beliefs. Politely decline their offer, give another suggestion of something to do, and don’t be afraid to tell them why so they understand more about the gospel. Be patient and pray to Heavenly Father. He knows the best way to help.
Sarah E., Utah
Ask Questions and Listen
When I want to get to know other people, I think ahead of some things I can ask them, and when I’m with them, I ask questions out of genuine curiosity and caring. For example, I ask them what class they like best at school or what classes they are going to take in the future. Every time I see them, I try to ask them some more questions about themselves and their lives, and then I listen.
Michaela S., Arizona
Be Friendly to Everyone
Just remember that all people are children of our Heavenly Father, whether they are members of the Church or not. Just be friendly to everyone and you will find something in common with anyone you meet. Then, when you become better friends, invite them to places that you can go, and eventually invite them to church.
Jennifer G., 18, Japan
Don’t Be Shy
Be an example and ask your friends to hang out with you at school. You do not have to hang out in a bad place. Instead, invite them to your house or another place where you can feel the Spirit. Don’t be shy just because you are not the same religion. Instead, you can focus on things that you have in common. Once you become good friends, you can invite them to church.
David B., 13, Utah
Invite Them to a Better Place
When you’re making friends, don’t feel like you have to follow them into certain places in order to be a light to them or to help them. You can’t help or be an example in a place where you can’t feel the Spirit. When you go to school or work or any other place where you might see these friends, that would be a perfect place to invite them to a Church activity. If at first your friends won’t go to activities, don’t give up. Just keep on being a friend and an example.
Daniel B., 18, Texas
Follow Promptings from the Spirit
Always remember that letting your standards down to get to know someone is not worth trying. Try inviting people to come to Church dances or activities where a lot of members will be. Clean fun is the best fun. Also, remember to be a good example because a person’s example can be seen anywhere, like at school in the halls, in class, or in the parking lot. That’s when people see you, and you don’t necessarily see them. Inviting people to church takes courage. Pray and follow the promptings of the Spirit to know when your friend is ready to follow your example. Be the best person and example that you can be and let Heavenly Father work through you.
Jasmin O., 19, Colorado
Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
Radiate the Light of the Gospel
“There is no end to the good we can do, to the influence we can have with others. Let us not dwell on the critical or the negative. Let us pray for strength; let us pray for capacity and desire to assist others. Let us radiate the light of the gospel at all times and all places, that the Spirit of the Redeemer may radiate from us.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “The Need for Greater Kindness,” Ensign, May 2006, 61.
“When people ask me if I’m Mormon, how can I answer in a way that creates a missionary opportunity?”
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