When people asked why I decided to serve a full-time mission after joining the Church, I replied that I had found a treasure and wanted to share it with others. The joy the restored gospel of Jesus Christ brings into my life is the reason I do not shy away when it comes to sharing the gospel with others and inviting them to attend church with me.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Wherever you are on this earth, there are plenty of opportunities to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with people you meet, study with, and live with or work and socialize with.”1
Recently my wife, Sara, was assigned to give a talk in sacrament meeting. I told some of her friends and suggested that Sara would appreciate their coming to support her. One of her friends showed up with her husband and two children. A simple invitation made it possible for a friendship to be strengthened and for people we care about to attend church with us.
In general, people are genuinely interested in our beliefs and would like to know more. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The new Sunday meeting schedule represents an exceptional opportunity for members to successfully and lovingly invite friends and associates to come and see and feel a Church experience.”2
Over the years we have extended many invitations asking friends and relatives to join us for the children’s sacrament meeting, for our children’s baptisms, when we sang special musical numbers, when we gave talks, when there were special firesides or visiting General Authorities, and we have also invited many to our house for family home evening or to have dinner with us and with the missionaries.
The opportunities are endless. We can invite those who haven’t attended Church meetings in a while or a nonmember relative to be with us when we receive a new calling and maybe even as we are set apart. We can invite our nonmember friends to join us for sacrament meeting or for Sunday School. We can invite them if we are teaching a class or if we are going to share our testimony in sacrament meeting. We can even invite our friends to join us for a Church-sponsored service project, or to go minister with us in a hospital or a nursing home. We can invite them to our house for lunch after church.
Whatever the invitation, it will more likely be accepted if we pray for those we invite, if we seek for inspiration regarding the type of invitation to be extended, if we fast for them, and if we act accordingly. In most cases, inviting is not enough though; we may need to make plans for and with those we have invited. They may want to know what to expect, or they may need a ride.
At times, the ones we should help to attend church may be those we always attend church with. It may mean helping a family member by preparing their breakfast or ironing his shirt or her dress to help them be on time. It may also mean avoiding negative comments about the meetings or people so that those we are trying to help may focus on the positives and find joy in attending church.
We should invite everyone, even those we think won’t come. As we do so, may we find courage to invite in Elder Quentin L. Cook’s promise: “If we show love, kindness, and humility, many will accept our invitation. Those who choose not to accept our invitation will still be our friends.”3