Stressing the importance of the Preach my Gospel missionary principle of follow-up, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve began his talk at the Sunday morning session of general conference by telling about how he and his wife, Barbara, met and began dating. He credited their eventual marriage to "persistent follow-up."
Using the follow-up principle, Elder Ballard said he wanted to follow up on two previous general conference messages he had given.
The first message was from the October 2011 general conference. Quoting the words of the Lord, Elder Ballard said, "'For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (Doctrine and Covenants 115:4).
"With these words, the Lord makes clear that this is not only a formal title, but the name by which His Church is to be called. Given His clear declaration, we should not refer to the Church by any other name, such as 'Mormon Church' or 'LDS Church.'"
The second message Elder Ballard wanted to follow up with was on he said was delivered last general conference. "I encouraged members to pray to be led to at least one person to whom they could extend an invitation to learn about the restored gospel before Christmas."
"I'm a great believer in the principle of follow up. As it says in the missionary guide, Preach My Gospel, 'extending an invitation without following up is like beginning a journey without finishing it or buying a ticket to a concert without going into the theater. Without the completed action, the commitment is hollow.'"
Preach my Gospel teaches everyone how to not only invite but also how to follow up on invitations.
Elder Ballard said, "The purpose of missionary work is defined as inviting "others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."
He then suggested members could be more consistently involved in missionary work if they would invite someone once a quarter to be taught by the full-time missionaries.
To help members achieve this goal, Elder Ballard extended an invitation to all members, regardless of current calling, to obtain a copy of Preach My Gospel.
"Read it, study it and then apply what you learn to help you understand how to bring souls to Christ through invitation and follow up," said Elder Ballard.
He asked, ""Can you even begin to fathom the extraordinary outpouring of atoning grace that will be ours, individually and collectively, according to the Savior's promise to all who bear testimony in the process of inviting souls to come unto Him—and then following up on those invitations."
If we follow up, the lord will not let us down.
"I have seen the unspeakable joy that accompanies testimony-driven inviting and faithful follow up among members of the Church the world over."
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