The other day I was wearing a shirt that had “New York” written on the front, which led to a pleasant conversation with a stranger that went something like this:
Stranger: New York! Have you been, or are you from there?
Me: I actually took a trip there last year to participate in a pageant.
Stranger: Oh, that’s interesting. Like a beauty pageant?
Me: It was actually more like a play. It was something I did with my church that portrays stories from our book of scripture.
That response led to a few more questions and answers about which church I belonged to and what the Book of Mormon was before we parted ways. The conversation wasn’t very long or detailed, but it opened the door for me to be a member missionary and share a tiny part of my faith with someone I had never met before.
Though our actions are a good indication of what we believe and are often a good way to start a gospel conversation with someone (“why don’t you drink coffee or tea?”), sometimes the strangers we meet don’t know us well enough or long enough to notice our “peculiar” behaviors. However, sometimes we can start conversations about the Church simply through the things we wear or use. If you’re looking for an easy way to be a member missionary while traveling or just standing in line at your local grocery story, check out these eight ideas.
I saw an interesting shirt the other day. To the untrained eye, it looked like a random row of circles and lines with a mysterious asterisk that says “You are here” next to it. But after a few minutes, I realized it was actually an outline of the Plan of Salvation. Whether you wear a shirt with obviously religious explanations, like the Plan of Salvation, or one with less obvious religious ties, like my New York shirt, you'll be surprised how easy it is to talk about the gospel simply by answering a question.
Similar to shirts, hats with small logos or symbols are a great way to spark gospel conversations. If you wear hats, pick one up the next time you visit a city with a Church site. Wear the hat when you return and use it as an opportunity to share something about the gospel or Church site you visited when someone asks.
Tie tacks and bars
Whether you’re traveling to a business meeting in a suit or wearing it for another dress-up occasion, if you wear a tie clip or pin, consider buying one with an LDS theme to wear once in a while. From the angel Moroni to the Liahona, there are a variety of iconic LDS symbols that can be great conversation starters!
When Mormon Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace won a Silver Medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics, she drew a lot of attention from the media. And several of her pictures featured her wearing her Young Women medallion right along with her medal. While most of us will not ever be that famous, we can still start conversations about the gospel by wearing a church medallion or something with an LDS connection. There are a variety of symbolic necklaces that could spark a simple yet sweet gospel conversation.
While the iconic green shield CTR ring is a great conversation starter for children, teens and adults often prefer a more stylish version. Rings are often noticed by others, so why not take a few minutes to explain why your nice band has three little letters in it? For a great story about how the CTR ring pictured above has been a missionary tool for Gladys Knight, click here.
Whether you are a student with a backpack or carry around a key ring for your car, house, and mail keys, a simple religious keychain is likely to be noticed by those you are riding the bus with or waiting in line with at the grocery store. If you hold the priesthood, consider carrying a keychain oil vial and be prepared to share a simple explanation or testimony about the Priesthood if someone asks you what it is.
Books and bookmarks
If you’re the kind of person who likes to read on the beach or while commuting on the bus, why not read a book by an LDS author every once in a while? And don’t be afraid or embarrassed to let people see what you are reading—books are often great conversation starters, no matter where you are reading. Or you could even mark your place with a pass along or Mormon.org card. Just make sure you have an extra for when you give the card away!
Phone cases or screen savers
Photo courtesy of ldschurchtemples
As technology progresses, so do the ways that we can incorporate the gospel into our devices. If you have a smartphone, iPod, or iPad, consider buying a case with a Church theme. Custom design your case with your favorite temple or change your lock screen to a picture of the Savior. We all notice others’ phones, and it might just spark some curiosity and conversation.
The lead image above is from iStock. It is being used for illustrative purposes only and does not reflect the opinions or feelings of the models found therein.
For more unique and painless ways to share the gospel, check out this list of online member missionary ideas, or check out The Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton M. Christensen.