I have been a Ward Mission Leader for the past 3 ½ years. That’s a very long time to have served in such a calling. It is so long, in fact, that I’ve come to believe I am entitled to some special Church benefits — perhaps a one-year Word of Wisdom reprieve, a “Get Out of Tithing Free” card, a lottery win, or at least a meaningful, Three Nephites visit as I drive up the I15. While contemplating my imminent negotiations with the Brethren on this point, I was suddenly released last week! Finally. (Truth be told, the only way I got this to happen was to wait for a new Bishop to be called, and then prematurely announce in Fast and Testimony meeting that we had finalized our plans to move out of the ward).
Unfortunately, my release proved to be a mixed blessing. Yes, I don’t have to attend PEC meetings anymore (Oh wait — I stopped going months ago), but my wife and I have now been asked to give talks next week in Sacrament Meeting in anticipation of our imminent departure. I, of course, have been asked to speak on missionary work. Speaking on this topic should be easy as pie for me. However, it isn’t.
You see, I really don’t like speaking in Church that much anymore. I think this is primarily because I’m out of practice “ I’ve only done it twice in the last 10 years. I’ve taught a million classes in Gospel Essentials, Gospel Doctrine and Elder’s Quorum, and I enjoy teaching immensely. I like the give and take, the unpredictable discussion, and quite frankly, the lack of a need to prepare all that much. But speaking in Sacrament is different: I can’t ask the audience questions, and I feel the pressure to assume a devotional posture for 20 minutes, which is something that doesn’t come naturally to me (believe it or not).
There’s another problem, however: I’ve been immersed in missionary work for so long, that I feel like I’ve said everything there is to say about it 100 times before. It isn’t really true, but it sure does feel that way. And I suspect most members feel like they hear the same “every-member-a-missionary” pep talk whenever a talk or lesson is given on missionary work. And they’re probably right. And so nobody really listens anymore. “Same old, same old,” we say to ourselves. Blah blah blah.
So, dear readers, this is where you come in. I need a fresh approach, or at least some fresh talking points, to use in my talk next Sunday.
(1) How can I approach the topic of missionary work so that I really get through to people in a novel and memorable way?
(2) Are there any aspects of the traditional “missionary work” talk that annoy you and that you wish speakers would jettison?
(3) Most importantly, what would you like to hear in a talk on missionary work that you don’t typically hear?
Surely, there are some opinionated readers in the Bloggernacle that have thought about this question. I would appreciate any thoughts that you all can provide.
Write my talk for me! Thanks in advance.