I gave away a Book of Mormon for the first time in between science and history when I was in eighth grade. I’d like to say I did this just because I wanted to, but it was actually a requirement for Personal Progress. I chose to give the book to Heidi, my kindest and most religious friend (she went to church and a youth group every week). The creators of the Personal Progress program must have intended for me to make this a memorable, edifying experience, but, instead, I wrote a few lines in the cover of the book and handed it to Heidi during our passing period. I didn’t explain anything about the book, just said a few awkward words and went on to class. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, it was simply that sharing the gospel seemed scary to me.
While I doubt anybody out there is as awkward as I was (and probably still am), I imagine that some youth feel the same fear when they hear the word missionary coupled with the word work. We all know it’s something we need to do, but opening our mouths about the Church can seem daunting. Hopefully these ideas will help the fear dissipate and let the joy of missionary work kick in.
Share the gospel online
Admit it, you get on Facebook at least once a day. Why not share the gospel in between chatting with your friends and studying every picture of that cutie from your math class? Sharing the gospel through social media or other websites can be easy and unintimidating for you and your friends. The Church has made it easy to share the gospel online; all you have to do is click a button to get a video or article on your Facebook, Twitter, or blog. For more ideas of how to share the gospel online, check out these suggestions.
Invite your friends to activities
You may feel like it’s a big commitment to invite your friends who may not have been going to church their whole lives to sit through a three-hour, super spiritual meeting. That’s okay! Invite them to youth dances or fun mutual activities—these are still uplifting and a great way for them to get to know other Church members their age but not so churchy that either of you will have to feel awkward. All you’re doing is inviting a friend to hang out with you and some other friends. You can do that, right?
Invite your friends to your house more often
I realize this sounds super simple and not much like missionary work, but even if you don’t have the perfect family (no worries—none of us do!), your friends will probably feel something different at your house. They’ll start to wonder about little things your family does, like blessing the food or eating dinner together. They’ll notice how much the gospel is a part of your lives and may start asking questions about that picture of a white, many-spired building on the wall or a painting of Christ. Whenever there are non-LDS people around my family, I realize how much we talk about the Church and the gospel. This has led to some awesome missionary experiences for us.
Go out with the missionaries
Find out if the missionaries in your ward or stake are teaching youth and offer to go with them to a lesson. Their investigators will probably like to see that there are other youth interested in religion, and they’ll be more likely to come to church if they have a friend. You can let the missionaries know beforehand how much you want to speak. If you’re feeling a little insecure, you can just help answer a question or two (with an answer you’ve probably known since you were in Sunbeams). If you’re not so shy, this is also a great opportunity to share your testimony with someone who could really benefit from hearing it.
Wear a CTR ring or something else church related.
The majority of people that don’t belong to the Church probably have no clue what CTR stands for. If your ring is big enough, people will probably ask you about it once in awhile. In the commentary of “How to Share the Gospel,” an article featured on lds.org, one girl shares a missionary experience she had while wearing her Young Women medallion: someone asked her why she was wearing a necklace with the Disneyland Castle on it, and she had the opportunity to explain more about the “castle.”
Prepare answers for potential questions
You don’t have to be a gospel scholar to be a missionary, but it may help to make a list of questions your friends might ask, along with clear answers for each question. This will help you feel more confident when the Church comes up in conversation—you won’t have to hide behind your lunch and pretend you didn’t hear anything. For ideas of questions that your pals might have, read through these frequently asked questions at mormon.org/faq/.