The 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that the
fastest growing "religious" group in America is the "Nones", and
that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.So, yes,
"the work" is hastening, and it is a good thing.
ThinksIThink: you may be interested to know that the fathers of three of my best
friends growing up were 'inactive'. Then, when our ward experienced a
rejuvenation similar to this one Jason describes, they were all brought back
into activity--along with several other men. We also had very pleasant
associations with a neighbor who was a member of another church, but
participated in many of our activities. Two of the three men mentioned earlier
became our Elder's Quorum Presidents, and they were better at it than most,
because they'd seen the other side. All three were eventually married in
the temple, or in one case, returned after many years absence from his original
temple marriage.Nothing but good can come from seeking after the "one
lost sheep"--member or missionary contact.
Jason, can I make a minor correction to your excellent article? For whatever
reason, the reference to the Hinkley video about the 1856 rescue contains some
errors. The river involved was the Sweetwater, not the Platte, and the number
and ages of the boys performing the rescue is disputed--some records show three
men, others four, and some traditions speculate there may have been more. At
least one of them--Clark Allen Huntington--was 25 years old, not 18 (He is a
distant ancestral cousin of mine). And although he suffered from the effects of
the rescue his entire life, they were probably only incidental in his demise. He
lived after the rescue to the age of 64.Nevertheless, the 1856 incident
does add spirit and motivation to the basic point of the article. If we were all
as quick to jump in to hasten the work as these young men were in the Martin
Company's time of need, many of our brothers and sisters in and out of the
gospel would be rescued--and the need is just as urgent now as it was then.
Why spend time trying to reactive that 60-65% of members who are inactive?
They've obviously taken a close look at the Church and either decided the
lifestyle wasn't for them or that the Church was not true.Why
not spend the time on those who have yet been exposed to the Church?
I wish our Stake did this. Our Stake simply sets goals and then makes so many
rules that it ties peoples' hands so that they can't accomplish the
goals. The Stake leaders' hearts are in the right place but their
minds are not. I wonder how many years of not making our goals will teach them
to change their rules and policies.
My son just returned from the Baltimore Maryland mission last July.He had enormous success in his last 2 areas and some of the things he said
they did was to concentrate on working with less active members and......NOT
tracting. They didn't knock on a door for months. The mission president
mentioned in the article even tried an experiment by having one entire zone NOT
tract for a month. My son said he felt like a glorified home teacher instead of
a "missionary" since they simply served the people...LDS and non-LDS
alike.....mowing yards, carrying in groceries, building a garage for someone,
even helped re-roof a home. He said they did this stuff all the time. That is
EXACTLY like what Ammon did in the Book of Mormon.My ward here in my
town has had over 10 new convert baptisms every year for the last 3 or 4 and
just about every new member in the last year is still active....a grandmother,
her grand-daughter, her grand-daughter's best friend and HER sister and mom
and dad and others.The work is hastening, indeed!Awesome!
Not only is reactivation real missionary work but it is one of the best forms we
have because it often locates interested people as well since many less active
homes have non-members in them as well- ohh and with all this wasted
reactivation effort they have had 11 baptisms- sounds like a huge failure to me-
I must admit I love it when Utah County people think they know how the work
should go in the whole church- I suspect most Utah county stakes (let alone
wards) have fewer than 11 convert baptisms a year- I know my stake has never had
that many in the time I have lived in it
It's amazing how just noticing when people are there and not makes such a
difference to them. We recently had an early morning Priesthood mtg. I brought
the families I home teach some cinnamon rolls the night before with an
invitation to attend. They did and thanked me for the breakfast. Sometimes
it's just showing that you care, that you're concerned, that makes all
the difference. And if the general membership of the church is out doing these
things then the Bishop and the Missionaries can focus on what they've been
called to do. We're all better off if we function as a whole rather than
not functioning at all. Great job to this Ward in Maryland, it's time for
us all to step up to the plate and show we really care about each other.
@Brother Benjamin Franklin"I think that this strategy focuses
too much on reactivation, which is a mistake."Did you read the
article? 11 convert baptisms last year. How many did your ward have?@JimmyJackJohnJonesThank you for posting so many uplifting
things...you're like a little ray of sunshine.
The really good news is--he's very well-organized, he's letting other
people do things instead of doing it all himself, and he's holding people
accountable for those they're supposed to visit. So almost
anyone can do what he's doing who is willing to do those 3 things.Honestly, it's kinda sad that doing those 3 (fairly obvious) things gets
you written up in a newspaper --because it means so many, many people are doing
only 0-2 of those things.
Bro Ben F;Reactivation IS "real missionary work", and the
work of Christ. How many parables of the Savior deal with going out and finding
the lost one, welcoming back the prodigal? In my son's
mission, reactivation and new conversions go hand-in-hand, as many less active
or inactive have gone on and married non-members, and have non-member kids.
Finding the lost one brings many new ones.Don't be so negative.
To Brother Ben Franklin - Well we are a church with only about 33% activity rate
so it seems reactivating might be the best way to begin to tackle multiple
issues. Clayton M Christensen wrote the book The Power of Everyday Missionaries
which these folks in Maryland are certainly exemplifying. I think this was a
great article and was glad to stumble across it. Thanks for taking the time to
write it up and share.
The new Cosmos program is spreading the truth.
Thank you for solidifying my thoughts of moving within my ward to "Hasten
the Work." This Bishop is emulating the Lord in His work, and we must all
redouble our efforts to do likewise. Zion is closer than we think.
I love that Deseret News carried such a positive story that it is not afraid to
show LDS Church highlights and progress. What amazing things can be accomplished
when united dedication to a cause is present. Way to go Chesapeake Ward!
I am sure we will hear more about this at Conference this weekend, but it
absolutely is making a difference. As members reach out and get more involved in
opening their mouths more people are being reached. Activation is a part of it
but just having members live the gospel is a big part of it as well. My Ward in
Washington has gone from 5 baptisms a year to 21 in a very few years. And the
new members are being strengthened and are staying active. But the biggest
change is just having members talking more about the church to others, and
having the entire Ward Council not only buy into the Ward Mission Plan, but to
shoulder responsibility together for vital portions of that plan.
Great article Jason. Terrific to hear of the success and dedication in
Maryland. Truly inspiring! I shared this on my FB page. :)
Is this not precisely the way it should be ... one person at a time,
person-to-person? Thanks so much for sharing an excellent reminder on what we
should all be about. (And note, this type of approach is not meant for church
only, but in all we do.)
This is an interesting proselyting philosophy; I do not understand how this is
making any difference in promoting the church among those who are not members.
It does not seem to be an authentic display of traditional missionary work. Examine the high concentration of less-active members they are going
after. It is far easier to bring a less-active member back than to bring a new
convert into the church. I feel the time would be better spent assisting the
eight full-time missionaries they have serving in their ward in seeking out and
finding the honest in heart rather than trying to spend so much on this
secondary priority. There are many people who do not have the
gospel in their lives, and we should be out preaching the gospel to them. The
less-active members who have testimonies in their hearts will eventually find
their way back on their own time and in their own way. The bishop
and members of this ward mean well, no question. I commend their work; but I
think that this strategy focuses too much on reactivation, which is a mistake.
I wish every ward in the church could have such an amazing drive to spread the
truth. What a great reminder for us all. It can be as simple as just letting
those who are lost know that someone cares.
Good reminder to all that the work of the Lord is moving forward and that we too
must do our part. This article hits on several key points from uniting in
effort to being humble to being involved in the lives of people. It's all
about a real desire to help others and actually going out and doing the work.
That's faith. That's true religion. That is the work of Zion.
That's the work of the Lord.