Mission Callings
Chapter 13: Unite with Leaders and Members to Establish the Church

“Chapter 13: Unite with Leaders and Members to Establish the Church,” Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2023)

“Chapter 13,” Preach My Gospel

Hear Ye Him, by Simon Dewey

Chapter 13

Unite with Leaders and Members to Establish the Church

Consider This

  • How can I work with ward leaders and members to establish the Church?

  • What are the responsibilities of stake and ward leaders in missionary work?

  • What should happen in the weekly coordination meeting with ward leaders?

  • How can I support leaders in sharing the gospel and strengthening new and returning members?

Missionaries work with local leaders and members to find people to teach and lead them to the Savior. You are united by your love for God and His children. He will magnify your efforts to the degree that you work in unity with local leaders and members. Make working with them an important part of your goals and plans.

As you come to know and love local leaders and members, you will see ways you can support them in their callings and missionary efforts. Offer your gifts and talents in ways that uplift and strengthen them.

This chapter explains how you can work with members in sharing the gospel and strengthening new and returning members. For more information, see chapter 23 of the General Handbook.

Personal or Companion Study

Review the conversion story of King Lamoni, his wife, and his people in Alma 18–19.

  • What was Abish’s role in this conversion? What could she do that Ammon could not do?

  • What do you learn from her example about members and missionaries working together?

Consider these other examples of members helping with missionary work:

How can you encourage leaders and members to follow their examples?

Build Relationships with Local Leaders and Members

Local Church leaders and members are your partners in God’s work. Build relationships that help you work together to bring the restored gospel to Heavenly Father’s children. These relationships can bless you for the rest of your life.

Build trust and genuine friendships with local leaders and members. Visit with them and learn about their families, backgrounds, interests, and Church experience. Be genuinely interested in their lives.

When you visit, do so with a purpose. Show that you are anxiously engaged in the work of finding and teaching. Respect their time and schedule.

When you meet or teach the gospel in their homes, seek to help them strengthen their faith. Prayerfully seek to have the Spirit with you. Share experiences you have with missionary work in your area.

group meeting

Support Local Leaders in Their Roles

Some leadership callings have responsibilities for missionary work. Understanding these responsibilities helps you support these leaders. The following descriptions are from chapter 23 in the General Handbook.

Stake president: Holds the priesthood keys in the stake for sharing the gospel and strengthening new and returning members. He and his counselors give overall direction for these efforts.

Bishopric: Coordinates with the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies as they lead the ward’s efforts to share the gospel and strengthen new and returning members.

Elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies: Lead the ward’s day-to-day efforts to share the gospel and strengthen new and returning members. They work together to lead these efforts with the ward council, under the coordination of the bishop. See General Handbook, 8.2.3 and 9.2.3.

Ward mission leader (if called): Coordinates the work of ward members and leaders, ward missionaries, and full-time missionaries. If a ward mission leader is not called, a member of the elders quorum presidency fills this role. See General Handbook, 23.5.3.

Regularly ask yourself, “Am I a blessing to local leaders?” Develop an attitude of “How can I help?”

Companion Study

Schedule time to visit briefly with a ward leader. Ask how you can better support him or her. Make plans to improve.

council meeting

Weekly Coordination Meetings

Coordination with local leaders—including youth leaders—is essential to being united in your missionary efforts. If a ward mission leader is called, he conducts weekly coordination meetings. Otherwise, the member of the elders quorum presidency who fills this role conducts.

In these brief, informal meetings, local leaders and you coordinate efforts to share the gospel and strengthen new and returning members (see General Handbook, 23.5.7). Meetings may be held in person or remotely. Coordination should also happen in other ways during the week, including phone calls, texts, and emails.

Elder Quentin L. Cook

“A united effort and focus where missionary planning and goal setting align with ward or branch planning and goal setting can be very helpful to accomplish the work of gathering Israel” (Quentin L. Cook, “Purpose and Planning,” mission leadership seminar, June 25, 2019).

Prepare for the Weekly Coordination Meeting

Support ward leaders by coming prepared to participate in the weekly coordination meeting. Before the meeting, take time during companionship study to discuss how you can participate effectively.

Keep your records updated in the Preach My Gospel app so leaders have current information about those you are working with. Prepare to report on assignments from previous meetings.

Participate in the Weekly Coordination Meeting

Weekly coordination meetings are intended to focus on the needs of individuals. During the meeting, offer how you can support ward members, including youth, in helping meet individuals’ needs.

A weekly coordination meeting usually covers the following four topics:

How can we help those being taught? Possible discussion items:

  • Which members could participate in the lessons this coming week? Who will invite them to participate?

  • What are the challenges for those being taught? How can members help?

  • What are the needs for those with a scheduled baptismal date? Has the baptism been planned? (See “The Baptismal Service” in chapter 12.)

How can we help those who were recently baptized? Possible discussion items:

  • Which new members in their first year of membership are attending sacrament meeting? How can we help any who are not attending?

  • Which new members have friends in the ward? How can ministering brothers and sisters help? How can youth quorums and classes help?

  • Which new members have an assignment or calling?

  • How can we help new members begin researching their deceased ancestors so temple ordinances can be performed for them? Do new members have a temple recommend? If a temple is nearby, how can we help them go to the temple to perform baptisms for these ancestors?

  • Which lessons from chapter 3 still need to be taught again? How can members participate?

  • Review My Covenant Path progress for each new member.

How can we help returning members? Possible discussion items:

  • Which part-member families can the missionaries visit and teach?

  • Which returning members can the missionaries visit and teach?

  • Which returning members have friends in the ward and appropriate opportunities to serve?

  • How can we help these members?

How can we find more people to teach? Possible discussion items:

  • How can we help individuals, including youth, and families apply the principles of love, share, and invite? (See “Unite with Members” in chapter 9.)

  • How can we help members, including Primary leaders, invite friends to ward activities?

Companion Study

Watch the video of a weekly coordination meeting in General Handbook, 23.5.7. What did you learn that you can apply in the next weekly coordination meeting? How can you better prepare to discuss needs and plan with ward leaders? In your next planning session, set goals for how you will improve.

Support the Ward’s Plan for Sharing the Gospel

The ward council creates a simple plan for sharing the gospel (see General Handbook, 23.5.6). Become familiar with this plan. In weekly coordination meetings, look for ways to help leaders work toward their goals. Keep leaders informed about what you are doing to support members in sharing the gospel.

If you are invited to attend a ward council meeting, be prepared to give a brief update on the progress of those you are teaching and any assignments you have received (see General Handbook, 29.2.5). See this opportunity as a time to build ward leaders’ confidence and trust.

people shaking hands

Adjust to the Needs of the Local Area

Each ward or branch has unique needs for you to adapt to. You may serve in a small branch or a young single adult ward, or you may serve multiple wards. Some leaders will have more experience and some less. Some leaders will have more time available than others.

Look for ways to help local leaders. They might ask you to help support members in their ministering assignments. They might ask you to encourage new members to invite their friends to attend church. You can provide valuable insights about missionary work as leaders and members learn ways to share the gospel.

Where the Church is relatively new, branch leaders might ask you to help new members understand how the Lord has organized His Church.

Your work with leaders may be different in different areas, but all these activities are essential to blessing individuals and establishing the Lord’s Church.

Help Members and Leaders to Love, Share, and Invite

Encourage members to share the gospel in normal and natural ways. The General Handbook offers instruction and videos to help members and leaders do this by living the principles of love, share, and invite (see General Handbook, 23.1.1, 23.1.2, and 23.1.3). Keep these principles in mind as you work with leaders.

You will be a blessing to leaders as you support their efforts in this work. In turn, their example will help members become more involved in sharing the gospel and strengthening new and returning members.

See “Unite with Members” in chapter 9 for ideas about supporting members in their efforts to share the gospel.

Scripture Study

Study the following verses. How did the Savior and these disciples love, share, and invite? What actions do these examples inspire in your teaching? How can you help members share the gospel in normal and natural ways?




Each time you study, record what you learn.

men talking

Support Local Leaders in Strengthening New Members

When people are baptized and confirmed, they become “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19; see also 1 Corinthians 12:12–27). Work with local leaders to help new members be “nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, … relying alone upon the merits of Christ” (Moroni 6:4).

Elder Ulisses Soares

“New converts come into the Church with enthusiasm for what they have found. And we must immediately build on that enthusiasm. … Missionaries can help introduce and connect the people they teach and the new converts to the faithful members who will reach out to them, listen to them, guide them, and welcome them to church even before they are baptized. … As we [minister] to those who enter the waters of baptism, we will see many more of God’s children endure to the end and receive eternal life” (Ulisses S. Soares, “Convert Retention,” mission leadership seminar, June 25, 2018).

Help New Members Attend Sacrament Meeting

You have an important role in helping new members attend church. Work with leaders to ensure that you or ward members help them attend. The key indicator showing a new member’s sacrament meeting attendance can help you and ward leaders see when he or she may need extra encouragement.

New members are much more likely to continue attending sacrament meeting and partaking of the sacrament when they have friends in the ward. Help them feel a sense of belonging, especially during their first year of gospel living. (See Doctrine and Covenants 84:106, 108.)

Reteach the Lessons in Chapter 3

Help new members continue to strengthen their faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel. The truths and principles of the gospel take deeper root as new members continue to learn by the Spirit.

After confirmation, teach the missionary lessons again. You take the lead in teaching. However, coordinate with ward leaders so ward missionaries or other members participate. Reteaching the lessons in chapter 3 is an important way to help new members be “nourished by the good word of God” (Moroni 6:4). As you teach, encourage new members to keep all the commitments in the lessons.

Read the scriptures with new members, especially the Book of Mormon, and teach gospel principles. Help them share the gospel with their friends and family. Each new member has specific needs, and you can help him or her feel loved and welcomed.

Covenant Path Progress Report and My Covenant Path

Local leaders have resources for their missionary efforts just like you do. One of these is the Covenant Path Progress report, found in the Member Tools app or Leader and Clerk Resources. This report lets local leaders see important experiences a person needs to keep progressing on the covenant path before and after baptism.

My Covenant Path is a resource to help new members “stay anchored to [their] faith in Jesus Christ and feel at home in the Church” (My Covenant Pathiv). It introduces new members to activities and opportunities, such as family history and helping deceased ancestors receive sacred ordinances in the temple. Encourage local members to guide new members through these experiences. Give support as requested.

Personal or Companion Study

Study My Covenant Path. What did you learn about your role in helping members strengthen new converts? How can you support the efforts of the ward council? Each time you study this chapter, record what you learn.

Support Local Leaders in Strengthening Returning Members

Some members choose to stop participating in the Church. Local leaders and other members strive to build strong relationships with them and reach out to them. The Savior said:

“Unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them” (3 Nephi 18:32).

Local leaders might ask you to help returning members build their faith. Often these assignments will be with part-member families. Prayerfully consider how you can invite the Spirit into the homes of returning members as you teach them gospel principles and invite them to act. Show empathy and compassion for their concerns.

As circumstances allow, teach the gospel to those in the household who have not yet been baptized. Your love and support can help them deepen their faith in Christ and increase their desire to make and keep covenants.

Coordinate with local leaders when you work with returning members. These efforts can have a lasting impact on individuals and the local congregation.

Scripture Study

What did Jesus Christ teach about helping those who may be struggling?

Alma and Amulek taught many who had fallen away from the Church. What can you learn from their experiences about strengthening returning members?

Ideas for Study and Application

Personal Study

  • Use the Preach My Gospel app to make plans to talk to new and recently returned members who are changing their lives and attending church. What has helped them most? In your study journal, write your thoughts about their experiences. What have you learned that will help you work with those you are currently teaching?

  • Study 2 Nephi 31:18–20, Alma 26:1–7, Alma 32:32–43, and Moroni 6. Write what you learn from these verses about strengthening new members.

Companion Study and Companion Exchange

  • Read and discuss chapter 23 in the General Handbook. How can you support local leaders in their responsibilities?

  • During weekly coordination meetings, ask ward leaders if there are any returning members in your area they would like you to visit this week. As you visit them, seek to build their faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Identify all who have been baptized and confirmed in the last year. Review the record of one of them and discuss how you can work with leaders in the next weekly coordination meeting to help this person. Record your ideas and suggestions in the Preach My Gospel app. Repeat this for all the recent converts in your area.

District Council, Zone Conferences, and Mission Leadership Council

  • Invite a bishop or other ward leader to talk about strengthening new and returning members. Ask this person to emphasize how missionaries can help.

  • Discuss the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son (see Luke 15). Invite missionaries to share what they are learning and how they can apply it in their missionary work.

Mission Leaders and Mission Counselors

  • Work with local leaders to encourage them to help new members:

    • Be ordained to a priesthood office (for males of the appropriate age).

    • Be assigned ministering brothers (and ministering sisters for women).

    • Receive a temple recommend to be baptized in the temple for their deceased ancestors.

    • Prepare the name of a deceased ancestor to take to the temple.

    • Receive an assignment or calling to serve in their ward or branch.

  • In coordination with the stake president, teach local leaders how to hold effective weekly coordination meetings.

  • Occasionally follow up with new members to find out how they are doing and how missionaries and members can help.

  • Invite new members to speak to missionaries and relate their experiences in the Church.