The Objective of Seminary and Institutes of Religion begins with the words, “Our purpose is to help. . .” (Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion , x). In its simplest terms, to invite means to help. Every day we invite youth and young adults to become something by doing something.
The priority to Invite All is even part of the other priorities:
As we See the One, we will identify challenges and opportunities and then invite students and others to help address them.
Doctrinal Mastery invites students to better understand doctrine and then apply, share, and testify of that doctrine. This priority is ultimately an invitation to exercise greater faith when questions arise.
As we seek to elevate learning, teachers and students are invited to be better prepared and to take a more active role in the learning process. This includes an invitation to trust the word of God and the Spirit. As they do, teachers and students will increase their desire to understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The Invite All priority is integral to all we do in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. It is more than just recruitment and enrollment—understanding this will help us apply this priority’s principles to all we do and help students more fully reap the benefits of seminary and institute.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “‘Come as you are,’ a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, ‘Don’t plan to stay as you are’” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Songs Sung and Unsung,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 51).
We invite students to do many things: to enroll in seminary; to read the scriptures regularly; to attend class; to explain, share, and testify; to apply what they have learned; to develop Christlike attributes—the list goes on and on. We welcome students as they are—with their challenges, fears, imperfections, doubts, and struggles—and then invite them to apply the principles of the gospel in a way that helps them become more.
As a youth, I had doubts and fears that affected my choices and behaviors. A seminary teacher and a Young Men leader invited me to be more than I could see in myself.
Because of some learning challenges and self-doubts about my abilities, I had avoided having very many spiritual experiences. Instead, I just insulated myself from them. My seminary teacher’s invitations in class to read, to share, and to feel opened my heart. I began to have a change of desire that led to a mission and more fully living the gospel. I began to prepare for the temple and to share my testimony with others—though I did not recognize it in that way at that time.
My Young Men leader inspired me by inviting in a different way. He never asked if I was going to serve a mission. Instead he would tell me that I was going to be a great missionary, and why. He invited me to fulfill my priesthood duties and helped me to be successful. He gave me confidence in my ability to serve a mission and to maybe even be a good missionary.
I didn’t need an invitation to enroll in or attend seminary—I was already there. I didn’t need an invitation to participate in the Young Men program—I loved it. I needed something more. I needed a seminary teacher and a Young Men leader to help me see where I was lacking, what I needed to experience, and what would help me understand and rely on the Savior and prepare for the temple and a mission. How thankful I am for two men who did just that.
The charge to Invite All is more than recruitment and enrollment—it is what we do!
Mark Spencer currently works in the training services division for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.
Share Your Experiences
We invite you to use the principles taught in the Process for Success not only on a program or area level but also with individual classes and even individual students. Identify where the gap is, and then create a plan to meet the needs and help fulfill the objective in students’ lives.
An important part of every priority is sharing effective practices and the success we experience. We invite you to do the following:
Collaborate with coordinators around the world about how you found your gap and made your plan. You can also find examples of what others are planning
You may also share your experiences in the S&I Worldwide News and Updates Facebook group.