Elder Oaks shared some powerful keys to making missionary work more authentic and helpful for both the investigator and the member who is sharing. Here they are from the notes that we took.
1. People learn when they are ready to learn not when we are ready to teach them
Others typically want the results of the doctrine, not the doctrine itself. People are open when they are seeking more happiness or a change in their life.
2. As we speak to others, we need to remember that an invitation to speak more about Jesus Christ and his gospel is better than an invitation to learn about the Church.
The point of going to Church is not to simply be there. It is to partake of the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. This should be what we center our missionary work around. Not getting people to learn about the Church, but about Jesus Christ. Like the Book of Mormon says: “…hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.” (2 Ne 33:10)
3. When we seek to introduce people to the gospel, we should do this in ways that are authentic in loving concern for the person
We should only share it with people when we have sincerely sought to find ways in which aspects of the gospel will truly help that individual with specific needs that they have and not force the gospel on someone because they won’t be saved without it.
4. Our efforts to share the gospel shouldn’t be limited to just the people we know.
Elder Oaks shared a great example this with the cab driving missionary in Rio.
We can share with anyone around us. Not just those we know. We might even be in a better position to share as a stranger than as a close friend or relative.
5. Ward bishoprics plan a special sacrament meeting for visitors.
That way the church is represented well in a meeting specifically catered to visitors being able to understand simply and feel welcomed and uplifted.
6. There are many natural opportunities to share the gospel that we can be proactive with if we just think about it more often
There will always be opportunities to share the gospel if we seek after them. If we are ready and we ask the Lord to help us to share, the opportunity will arise and we will be able to speak to people naturally about the gospel.
7. Young peoples’ expertise with social media gives them a unique opportunity to share the gospel
Elder Oaks jokingly reinterpreted a scripture about loosing our tongues that they can utter. He said it might now say “loose their thumbs that they can utter.” And then he added “Go to it youth!”
There are incredible opportunities to share the gospel using social media and this was another apostolic endorsement that it is not only possible, but should be used.
This talk was given by an apostle, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, and was likely (as he mentioned in the talk) based on many of the similar principles that have been taught by Clayton Christensen in his book The Power of Everyday Missionaries.