“Preach My Gospel Continues to Help Members and Missionaries Alike,” Liahona, Oct. 2009, N5–N6
Five years and nearly two million copies after it was first published, Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service continues helping missionaries and members in their missionary efforts.
While it was written as a full-time missionary reference tool, from the beginning Church leaders have encouraged members to become familiar with the manual as they learn to serve as member missionaries and as they prepare others to learn about the gospel.1
“Our own study of Preach My Gospel will not only help us to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for our missionaries, but it will help us in our own day-to-day life,”2 said Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy.
The manual, which the Church announced on October 15, 2004, in a mission presidents’ training meeting, teaches basic gospel doctrine as well as the principles of missionary service.
The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, other General Authorities, and a team from the Missionary Department oversaw the creation of the manual.
As a missionary resource, Preach My Gospel has “revolutionized missionary work,”3 said Elder Kopischke.
“Missionaries throughout the world now get into their minds and hearts the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, essential commandments, and the laws and ordinances of the gospel,” said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “These lessons are then given in their own words as guided by the Spirit. This focus has dramatically improved the effectiveness of missionaries that use it.”4
The president of the Japan Kobe Mission, William A. McIntyre Jr., said that as the missionaries in his mission have focused on Preach My Gospel, it has helped them to be happier and to be more effective, motivated missionaries because they learned how to be missionaries as well as how to do missionary work.
However, unlike previous missionary resources, Preach My Gospel was intended for broad distribution to the general Church membership because “missionaries are not alone in benefiting from Preach My Gospel,” said Elder Scott.
Elder Scott invited members to find out how the manual could help them as “a parent preparing a child for a mission, a Church leader helping a new convert, a member sharing the gospel, or an individual getting ready to serve.”5
“I feel the manual was intended to help all members of the Church, regardless of their understanding of gospel principles,” said Timothy L. Fry, president of the Ukraine Donetsk Mission. “It makes a wonderful and inspiring study guide. It helps [members of the Church] improve their knowledge and testimony of our Savior.”
Within the 13 chapters of the manual are essential gospel principles, such as how to better recognize and understand the Spirit, the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion, scripture study techniques, how to overcome addictive behavior, and how to find opportunities to share the gospel. The manual also has study pages and application ideas.
“Preach My Gospel is not really something you read, it’s something you study,” said Richard Heaton, administrative director of the Provo Missionary Training Center. “And the most important study you’ll do, based on Preach My Gospel, is the study of the scriptures.”
He said because the manual has so many scripture references it helps the reader to get into the scriptures to understand the doctrine. “It’s not a prescription; it’s not a checklist of how you do missionary work,” he said. “It’s a set of resources from which you draw as inspired in your teaching.”
The manual’s sixth chapter describes Christlike attributes and ends with a self-evaluation activity. Chapter eight teaches principles of time management such as setting goals, making weekly and daily plans, and being accountable.
The manual states: “Study the chapters. … Apply what you learn. Evaluate your work. Missionaries who strive to prepare themselves daily and seek to improve regularly will receive direction from the Holy Ghost and see blessings in their lives.”6
Elder Kopischke taught that Preach My Gospel has the potential to unify members and missionaries in moving missionary work forward.
“As the missionaries become immersed in Preach My Gospel, they learn and apply important doctrines and principles which make them more capable in their important service,” he said. “Despite this, they still need all of our help and support. … Preach My Gospel is full of powerful ideas and insights. We learn how we can help the missionaries find people to teach and how we as members can work hand in hand with the missionaries.”7
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The Church has over 50,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world. Preach My Gospel has helped make them the best teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ we have ever had in the history of the Church. … If you and I did more of the finding for the full-time missionaries and freed them up to spend more time teaching the people we find, great things would begin to happen.”8