ON
WARD MISSIONARY WORK

A Fifth Sunday Lesson Given To

THE YM, YW, AND ADULT MEMBERS OF THE
STERLING PARK WARD
ASHBURN, VA STAKE

By

D. Calvin Andrus
29 June 2003


I. INTRODUCTION

One of the primary teachers had just given a lesson on reverence. Wanting to be sure she had gotten her points across, at the end of the lesson she asked the kids why should be be quiet in sacrament meeting. A hand shot up and the answer was blurted out, "because the Bishop is sleeping."

II. MISSION

The mission of the Sterling Park Ward is to bring souls unto Christ so they can return to live with Father in Heaven in the Celestial Kingdom. We do this by helping

  • Members make and keep sacred Temple covenants
  • Parents raise their children to be worthy and willing to accept Temple covenants
  • Members find deceased ancestors' names to submit to the Temple
  • Families introduce the gospel to their friends so these friends can be sealed in the Temple

(Celestial Room, Nauvoo Temple)

III. VALUES

As we pursue these four objectives we envision ourselves to be guided by the following principles:

  • Love one another as Christ loves us
  • Live worthily to be guided by the Holy Ghost
  • Pray and act with faith
  • Be generous with our time, talents, and resources
  • Cultivate humility to remember this is our Father's work, glory, and timetable
  • Work within the revealed order of the Kingdom

(Image derived from a painting by Del Parson, © 2002, IRI)

IV. STRENGTHEN SAINTS

The Sterling Park Ward will help members make and keep sacred Temple Covenants

  • As of 21 June 2003 we have 397 members
  • We have 255 adults, of whom 160 are endowed (make covenants)
  • Of 160 who are endowed, 122 have recommends (keep covenants)
  • We have 179 married adults, of whom 122 are sealed to spouse
  • We have 16 member couples who are not sealed
  • We have 27 members married to non-members
  • We have 116 adult men, 84 with the Melchizedek Priesthood

GENERAL GOALS: Every adult endowed and every couple sealed

SPECIFIC GOALS: Not yet formalized

(Cover of student manual of the new Temple Preparation Course)

V. HELP PARENTS

The Sterling Park Ward will help parents raise their children to be worthy and willing to accept Temple covenants

  • As of 21 June 2003 we have 397 members
  • There are 31 youth, age 12 - 18 (10 YM, 21 YW)
  • There are 111 children (75 are 3+, and 36 are 0-2)

GENERAL GOALS: Every young child baptized and every older child complete Faith in God; every young man ordained and complete Duty to God; and every young woman complete Personal Progress

SPECIFIC GOALS: Not yet formalized

(Duty to God, Personal Progress, Faith in God booklet covers)

VI. FAMILY HISTORY

The Sterling Park Ward will help Members find deceased ancestors' names to submit to the Temple

  • There are 14 progenitors in the 1st - 3rd generation
  • There are 16 progenitors in the 4th generation (about 100 years)
  • There are 1,022 progenitors in the 1st - 9th generations
  • There are 1,024 progenitors at the 10th generation (about 500 years)

GENERAL GOALS: Every person to collect, verify, and submit (if appropriate)--at a minimum--4 generations of genealogical data

SPECIFIC GOALS: Not yet formalized

(Four generation pedigree chart)

VII. WARD MISSIONARY

The Sterling Park Ward will help Families introduce the gospel to their friends so these friends can be sealed in the Temple

  • As of 21 June 2003 we have 397 members
  • I estimate there to be 20,000 nonmembers within our ward boundaries
  • We have 6 Ward Missionaries
  • We do not have full-time missionaries

GENERAL GOALS: I will get to these later

SPECIFIC GOALS: I will get to these later

(Family dressed in white)

 

VIII. MISSIONARY DEVELOPMENTS

The largest paradigm shift in missionary work in 50 years has taken place in the last 18 months

  • First Presidency Letter, 28 February 2002, moving the local focus from Stake to Ward
  • First Presidency Letter, 11 December 2002, "raising the bar" for missionary work
  • Worldwide Priesthood Leadership Training, 11 January 2003, "role of the members in missionary work"
  • First Presidency Letter, 19 March 2003, reducing the workload of Bishops
  • Spirit-guided, non-memorized discussions
  • Missionary training curriculum moved from MTC to Mission President

Compared to the other 5 duties of a Bishop, presiding over the "ward mission" is becoming more important

  • Because our ward does not have full-time missionaries, the full responsibility, authority, accountability, and blessings for local missionary work rests unambiguously on us
  • The PEC has been working on a plan to implement member-focused and ward-administered missionary work
  • The plan includes suggestions for what we should do and also how we should report
  • We have used both the First Presidency statements and the Holy Ghost as our guides

IX. GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Just as the First Presidency knows that for the Bishop to spend more time on missionary work means he as to spend less time on other things, so too, do we recognize that in order to spend more time on missionary work, members will have to spend less time on other things.

Across all four areas we want to increase the resources of the ward on those activities which have the greatest benefit in the lives of our Heavenly Father's children.

This means we will need to decrease the resources of the ward devoted to activites which have the least benefit in the lives of our Heavenly Father's children.

We thought about our four objectives--getting ourselves, our children, our progenitors, and our friends into the new and everlasting covenant--and asked ourselves where are our best opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of the people we serve.

We also examined where we could gain some efficiencies to free up some time for increased missionary activities.

We are just starting to restructure some of our home teaching assignments with these ideas in mind.

X. MISSIONARY PLAN

With respect to member missionary work, President Hinckley instructed us at the 11 January 2003 Worldwide Leadership Training Session:

"Let us teach our people to be good neighbors . . . Let us cultivate within our people a constant awareness of opportunities to reach out to others. Let neighborliness, an outreach of love toward others, become the attitude of our people wherever they are across the entire world."

"Whenever the ward has a special event, such as a breakfast on a national holiday, those who are not members of the Church should be invited to come and participate."

GENERAL GOALS: Every member will

  • reach out in love toward neighbors
  • cultivate constant awareness of opportunities by praying and acting in faith
  • invite friends to ward activities

SPECIFIC GOALS:

Every family will

  • include in all personal and family prayers a plea to be given--and make good on--opportunities for neighborliness and opportunities to offer invitations
  • invite by the spirit a nonmember family/friend to a Church activity at least once every 12 months
  • invite by the spirit a nonmember family/friend to receive the missionary discussions at least once every 24 months
  • report on these activities to the Ward Mission Leaders

The ward will

  • start by dedicating our July fast to adopting these goals
  • include in all public prayers a plea that the gospel will come into the lives of the people of South Riding and Sterling Park
  • reach out to the community by teaching ESL classes
  • have great ward activities
  • collect reports from members about their neighborliness activites and invitations

XI. CONSEQUENCES

In the 21 June 2003 Worldwide Priesthood Leadership Training Session Elder Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve said that the love we express for others may not be reciprocated or even appreciated, but our love is never wasted.

It is not wasted because as we lose ourselves in the work, we find ourselves.

It is not wasted because these are Father in Heaven's children, and He does not forget the kindnesses extended to His family.

It is not wasted because Elijah gave the sealing powers to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple for the express purpose of not letting the earth be wasted at the Second Coming.

It is not wasted because this is His work and His glory and His timetable.

Brothers and Sisters, let me ask us to consider these thoughts seriously. If we are able, let us dedicate our fasts next Sunday to getting a testimony of the principles explained today.

The Spirit has asked me to give a promise. As we

  • As we pray and act in faith
  • As we have the humility to let the glory be the Father's glory, and
  • As we reach out in love

We will see people from Sterling and South Riding come into the church. Our families will be blessed with increased peace and love. Our confidence will wax strong in the presence of the Lord. We will become Christlike, and we will lead our families back to the Celestial Kingdom.


XII. CONCLUSION

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


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