The hastening of the Lord’s work requires His followers continuously to learn, to change and “to press forward with faith in the Savior.”
That was the counsel Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared June 25 at the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents at the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center.
The Apostle focused his message on learning and teaching in the Lord’s way. His instruction included a group discussion with several new mission presidents and their wives.
The leaders of the Church, he noted, “have given timely emphasis to the importance of hastening the work of salvation. But I wonder sometimes if we, as servants of the Lord, believe that we primarily and solely must hasten this supernal work.” Faithful and diligent members play a vital role in helping God’s kingdom roll forth across the world, Elder Bednar explained. “But, the Lord hastens His work; we do not. First and foremost, we always should remember that this work is the Lord’s work, and He does the hastening.”
Elder Bednar identified two “profound implications” that “grow out of the truth that the Lord directs and moves His work forward:”
• Will we keep pace?
• Will we learn and teach the Savior’s way?
Elder Bednar suggested that members ask themselves if they as individuals and as a Church will choose to keep pace with the Lord’s hastening. “Or will we insist on doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are accustomed to or comfortable with?”
Again, he said, each member can choose to learn, repent, change and teach more effectively in the Savior’s way. “Or will we be so entangled in the traditions and patterns of the past that we will be unable to keep up with the pace of the Lord’s hastening?”
Prior to the seminar, the new mission presidents and their wives were invited to study and prepare for their training lessons. The training group lessons conducted during the seminar were both current and relevant examples of how the Church’s Missionary Department is striving to learn, change and improve, he added.
“The facilitators and teachers listened more, lectured less and asked more inspired questions than in previous seminars,” Elder Bednar related. All in attendance were encouraged to share insights and observations.
The training group lessons — with their emphasis on preparation and student participation — served as patterns that can help missionaries become better learners and teachers.
Resources such as Preach My Gospel and the “Come, Follow Me” youth curriculum have enabled missionaries to become better learners and teachers during a pivotal period of “hastening.” Progress has been made — but additional improvements are needed.
Elder Bednar reminded the mission presidents and their companions that the missionaries will look to them as examples in all things — including matters of teaching and learning.
The Lord’s way — and His work — includes a variety of patterns that can be utilized to achieve different spiritual objectives. Such patterns, he observed, were evident during the seminar. For example, the First Presidency and other Church leaders often delivered focused and inspired messages without interaction from their audience. In contrast, advanced preparation and vigorous interaction were central to many group training lessons.