Popular Mobile App Brings Visitors to Church Facilities
Contributed By Camille West, ChurchofJesusChrist.org Church News
“Our opportunities to shine surround us each day, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.” —President Thomas S. Monson
We've grown accustomed to seeing people texting while walking, but lately have you noticed strangers wandering outside your local ward or stake building while expectantly staring into their phone’s camera?
A hugely popular interactive mobile game released last week encourages players to visit various popular locations and landmarks. Some of those landmarks include LDS meetinghouses, visitors’ centers, historic sites, temples, and parks, which appear in many mapping software programs.
Regardless of the reason that brings visitors to Church facilities, we need to remember that the way we react to visitors may affect their understanding and feelings about the Church.
In his October 2015 general conference talk, President Thomas S. Monson reminded us to be good examples in every situation. “Our opportunities to shine surround us each day, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of others, whether they be our own family members and friends, our co-workers, mere acquaintances, or total strangers” (“Be an Example and a Light”).
The following are four simple ways we can help promote understanding about our Church and improve relationships with others in our communities.
1. View any visit as an opportunity.
Recognize that it is good for people to want to visit Church buildings and sites, even if it’s just part of playing a game. Signs in front of our buildings clearly state, “Visitors welcome.” Consider any visit as an opportunity to improve relationships with members of the community and help others feel positively about the Church.
2. Be friendly and welcoming.
The visit to a meetinghouse may be someone’s first and only contact with the Church, so remember to be friendly and welcoming. Hosts and missionaries serving at visitors’ centers, Church historic sites, and temple grounds could welcome and invite game players—as they do all visitors—to enjoy the displays, learn about the site, and perhaps even listen to a simple gospel message.
3. Invite participation.
If players or other visitors show up while you’re having a ward or stake activity, invite them to stay and participate, or invite them to return for Sunday meetings.
4. Become informed to better answer questions.
Become better prepared for questions visitors might have about the Church. Teach your children and teens how to answer common questions during a family home evening. Take time to practice. The following resources can help you prepare: