“Introduction: How Can I Best Use Preach My Gospel?” Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (2018), vii–xii
“Introduction,” Preach My Gospel, vii–xii
Use Preach My Gospel to meet your needs as a missionary as you become a more deeply committed disciple of Jesus Christ. You can spend an entire study session on just a few paragraphs—or an entire chapter. You can study chapters in order or plan another sequence that better meets your needs. This flexibility allows you to study what you need when you need it and as directed by your mission president.
All of the chapters in Preach My Gospel will help prepare you to fulfill your purpose as a missionary. However, as you begin to study chapter 3, you may sense a difference in approach. Most of the chapters are addressed to you. Chapter 3 is addressed to a more general audience. You learn the doctrine in chapter 3 (a) to strengthen your own gospel knowledge and testimony and (b) to teach others and prepare them to make and keep commitments and covenants.
The doctrine in some of the other chapters may also help you teach people. For example, chapter 4, “How Do I Recognize and Understand the Spirit?” may help you teach people about how to gain a testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost. Chapter 5, “What Is the Role of the Book of Mormon?” may help you resolve someone’s concerns about reading the Book of Mormon. Ideas from chapter 2, “How Do I Study Effectively and Prepare to Teach?” may help new converts gain more from their study of the Book of Mormon.
Preach My Gospel focuses on the essentials of missionary work. It does not answer every question or situation you will encounter. You will be most effective as you follow the Spirit, search the scriptures, keep the commandments, and apply what you learn.
Study the chapters throughout your mission. Apply what you learn. Evaluate your work. Missionaries who strive to prepare themselves daily and seek to improve regularly will receive direction from the Holy Ghost and see blessings in their lives.
You have the flexibility to teach the lessons in whatever way best helps people fully prepare for their baptism and confirmation. Your purpose is not only to cover the material; it is to help others come unto Christ through the first principles of the gospel, including faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. A lesson should rarely go over 45 minutes. You may find that a person’s schedule or your own time commitments may only allow shorter teaching visits. In that case, you may need frequent, short teaching visits covering smaller portions of material.
You can teach the lessons in many ways. Which lesson you teach, when you teach it, and how much time you give to it are best determined by the needs of the person you are teaching and the direction of the Spirit. Do not memorize the entire lesson.
Effective study during your mission, including pondering and listening to the promptings of the Spirit, will help you fulfill your purpose as a missionary and strengthen your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Important study opportunities include personal study, companion study, district council, zone conferences, and mission leadership council (for mission leaders). Your missionary schedule includes time for personal and companion study most days.
What you learn in personal study will help you in companion study, district council, zone conferences, and mission leadership council, where you can “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:77). What you gain from your study opportunities will help you teach with spiritual power.
The purpose of personal study is to strengthen your knowledge and testimony of the restored gospel and help you prepare to meet the needs of those you teach. In your personal study, focus on the standard works and appropriate and approved resources for your mission.
You can make personal study effective as you:
Read from the Book of Mormon and other scriptures.
Study the doctrine in the missionary lessons.
Study other chapters from Preach My Gospel.
Ponder what you are learning and listen for promptings from the Holy Ghost.
The purpose of companion study is to (1) build unity in your companionship in order to teach by the Spirit and (2) focus on the progress of those you teach. You can make companion study effective as you:
Share insights with each other from personal study, especially as it relates to the people you are teaching.
Prepare for specific teaching appointments, member visits, finding opportunities, and other activities. Study material that helps you teach, find, and work more effectively. When appropriate, practice applying what you are learning in role-play situations. Discuss the people with whom you are working. Make plans to apply what you are learning.
Throughout the day, continue to discuss the principles, goals, skills, and plans from companion study.
The purpose of additional companion study is to provide more time for new missionaries to build on what was learned at missionary training centers. As you participate in additional study, you are better able to understand and apply the principles of missionary work found in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel.
Companion study is extended every day for approximately 30 to 60 minutes during your first 12 weeks in the field.
During this additional study, follow the same guidelines listed in the “Companion Study” section above, with a focus on the following chapters or sections from Preach My Gospel. Based on the needs of people you are teaching, you and your trainer determine together what to study and practice each day, how long to spend on a principle (for example, a few days or a couple of weeks), and when and how to apply the suggested activities in the “Application Ideas” column listed below. Repeat these activities until you can confidently and effectively lead in every situation listed in the Application Ideas column.
Chapters and Sections (including the information boxes)
In lessons, the new missionary takes the lead in teaching about Jesus Christ and His gospel and in extending invitations.
The new missionary and trainer take turns leading in teaching situations, applying principles of how to begin teaching, teaching to meet needs, asking inspired questions, listening, and teaching others how to seek and recognize promptings from the Holy Ghost.
The new missionary takes the lead in teaching others about the Book of Mormon, inviting and helping them to read and pray and reading with them during follow-up visits.
The new missionary and trainer take turns leading when inviting people to make and keep commitments, following up, and making contact between visits.
The new missionary takes the lead when inviting and helping people to attend church, including giving a tour of a meetinghouse.
The new missionary and trainer take turns conducting daily and weekly planning sessions, including contacting the ward mission leader and reporting missionary efforts during the missionary coordination meeting or ward council.
The new missionary takes the lead in finding situations.
The new missionary and trainer take turns planning and working with members to find new people to teach.
The new missionary and trainer have language study at least five days a week. Apply principles from chapter 7 as you work together to create and follow a language study plan focused on developing the ability to do all the items listed above in the mission language.
You should also complete additional activities listed on the Missionary Portal.
Your trainer may also use video examples located on the Missionary Portal to help demonstrate principles to you.
You and your trainer should share what you are learning and applying in your weekly letter to the mission president.
By the end of the first 12 weeks, you should be able to, if called upon, train another missionary.
The purpose of district council is to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:77).
District council is held each week for 60 to 90 minutes.
The district leader plans and conducts the district council and may invite other missionaries to help teach.
District council may include opportunities to:
Share insights from personal and companion study.
Practice the lessons in various settings.
Explain, demonstrate, and practice principles and skills described in Preach My Gospel.
Discuss the progress and needs of people.
Discuss and address challenges in the district.
Share experiences and testimonies of missionary work.
Share experiences of working with members.
District leaders may use district council to receive reports regarding the efforts of missionaries in the district. They should not set goals or quotas for other missionaries.
Zone conferences and mission leadership council are held under the direction of the mission president.
Each chapter in Preach My Gospel has several features. These features should help you get more from your study. Use these features in a flexible manner based on your needs.
Preach My Gospel frequently asks that you use a study journal to help you understand, clarify, and remember what you are learning. Elder Richard G. Scott taught, “Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light” (“Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86). Review your study journal regularly to recall spiritual experiences, see new insights, and recognize your growth.
Your study journal may be a bound journal, a notebook, or a binder. Record and organize your thoughts and impressions in a way that fits how you learn. Develop your own system to easily access key information in the future. Use it often to review, access, and apply what you have learned. Use your study journal to take notes and record impressions during your personal and companion study, district council, zone conferences, mission leadership council, and interviews with the mission president.
The boxes in Preach My Gospel will help you learn. Some boxes preview or summarize key points. Others help you focus your study, learn from the scriptures, apply what you learn, develop your abilities, and meet the needs of those you teach. In most cases, these boxes are simply a starting point. Prayerfully build on the activities in the boxes by developing new study activities and searching additional scriptures.
“Consider This.” Most chapters begin with questions in a “Consider This” box. These questions focus on the key points of the chapter and provide a framework for your study. Use these questions to help you organize, understand, ponder, and apply what you learn.
“Remember This.” Most chapters end with a “Remember This” box—a summary of the most important points from the chapter. As you finish studying a chapter, review these statements to ensure you understand these main points. Evaluate how well you are applying these points, and make plans to continue to apply what you have learned.
“Scripture Study.” These boxes direct you to scripture references that can build your understanding and testimony. Build on these references by searching for additional scriptures. Ask yourself additional related questions that will help you gain insight and apply what you learn.
“Activity.” Most chapters have activities for personal and companion study to enhance your learning and application. Repeat these activities throughout your mission. You will gain new insights each time you do because your needs—and the needs of those you are teaching—will change.
Red Boxes. These boxes have important information and suggestions for many teaching situations.
All the stories in Preach My Gospel are true, although the names of most of the people have been changed. Each story illustrates several principles associated with missionary work. As you read these stories, look for the principles they illustrate.
Each chapter concludes with additional ideas for personal study, companion study, district council, zone conferences, and mission leadership council. This rich resource of learning activities provides examples of effective ways to learn the material. Be creative and seek inspiration to create additional activities as you study or teach one of these sections. Complete these activities several times during your mission.
Many missionaries serve in branches and districts. Although this manual refers to wards and stakes, the same principles and approaches apply to branches and districts. The mission president will instruct you on any adjustments to make when working with branch and district leaders.
Preach My Gospel is as much for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it is for the full-time missionaries of the Church. The principles and doctrine taught in this guide are applicable to all members as they seek to build the Lord’s kingdom. Frequent study of this manual will help members better answer gospel questions, learn and teach the doctrine of Christ’s gospel, fulfill their responsibilities as member missionaries, and foster unity with the full-time missionaries.