I recently listened to a podcast that was artfully guided by Kurt Francom while receiving inspiring information from Jason Noel. The podcast was Love, Share, Invite Isn’t Just a Missionary Effort.
While I was listening, my spiritual head exploded!
Have you ever had a HUGE light bulb moment and then said to yourself, “Why did it take me that long to make that connection?” That’s what this podcast did to my spiritual head.
Of note, after that spiritual head explosion, it is not the time to shame ourselves; it is time to recognize that we are ready to embrace and understand that wisdom and apply that insight.
Thus, after I listened to this podcast, I thought it would be beneficial to share Jason’s insights with the Leading Saints folks who do more reading on the site. Additionally, I’m so grateful that Jason not only followed through with his lightbulb moment regarding love, share and invite, but also tested the water with it as well and can share his success with us.
Jason’s calling is on the stake high council with a stewardship over missionary work. As he was collaborating with his stake peers and leaders, he discovered his lightbulb moment regarding the love, share, invite process. He then discussed with his stake leadership his ward council idea and was given permission to give it a test drive in the ward he supports.
Are you ready for this simple discovery? How we use the inspired “love, share, invite” approach can both be applied to individuals in our life and be the magic juice for a ward council’s efforts to truly minister to all those who live within their unit’s boundaries.
More Than a Missionary Tool
Although this was introduced as a missionary tool that we use to love our neighbors, share with them who we are and invite them to do something, it is truly more. More because in all our Church auxiliaries, and in our life, as followers of Christ we should be looking for opportunities to love those around us, share meaningful information and activities with them and then make a “next step” invitation to allow them to experience natural progression in some manner.
It’s easy to say, well, of course I love my neighbors and I show it in a variety of ways as I serve and care for them. Plus, I often share some insight or help, but it’s not natural to then invite them to do something. Well, read on and discover how there is an inspired natural progression in our love, share, invite efforts as followers of Christ.
Loving our neighbor doesn’t usually mean squishy, sappy feelings. (Not that we can’t have a special love for someone we are reaching out to.) But the “love” portion of “love, share and invite” is probably best described as compassion. We truly care about their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
As Jason so simply put it:
“Love is compassion…it’s really having a concern and a worry of what they must be feeling. And to me, that is love…. If they need help, do you care? That’s love. You care enough to care.”
Loving could look like:
- Seeing that one of our neighbors’ chickens escaped and rounding it up for them.
- Noticing that their lawn is exceptionally long and mowing it plus checking in to see if they are okay.
- Learning of a family illness and bringing in a meal, helping clean, or just asking if you can come and visit.
- When there is a mother/daughter or father/son activity, reaching out to that single parent and see if you can bring their child with you to the activity.
This is not a missionary tool. It’s the way of life for a follower of Christ. Love is noticing, compassion, understanding, and often action.
Initially, months ago when I learned about “love, share invite”, I thought the share portion was to share some sort of missionary-minded tidbit, some spiritual insight or giving them a Book of Mormon. However, this deeper understanding is that sharing could look more like sharing any experience that will help me connect and develop a relationship with that person. Most importantly, the sharing goes both ways. Either of us could initiate sharing something, but it’s invaluable to hear the thoughts and experiences of the other person. The sharing is most powerful and relational if we both share.
Sharing could include:
- a parenting failure that turned into a humbling and growing insight that grew our relationship with our child.
- some pure and simple insight shared by a loved one or friend that resonated with our heart.
- the fun activity we had at church, a sporting event, or our kid’s school.
- an insight from our personal scripture study.
- a concern we have and asking them to share their expertise on the subject.
The possibilities are endless. We just need to notice when an idea comes to our mind and not brush it away. Just act and share.
For me, the old school thought for what an invitation looked like was to invite them to come to church, have a missionary lesson or read the Book of Mormon. Yet that is an invitation that is way down the nurturing relationship road and ideally done when inspired to make that invitation. Think of all the invitations that Christ made that were simple: love God, love your neighbor, come sup with me, come down from that tree, mourn with those who mourn, be merciful, be a peace maker, comfort those who need comfort, come follow, come unto me.
Our invitations could include:
- “Want to go for a walk?” (or play pickleball, cards or a myriad of games.)
- “Some other dads and I are taking our sons camping. Want to come?”
- “Would you like to go to dinner, movie, the park etc.?”
- “You said you got a new fruit tree; can I help you put it in?”
- They can also be more spiritual in nature: “I’m getting a lesson ready for Church on healthy living (word of wisdom). You’re a personal trainer. Could you help me?”
- “I’m giving a talk at church. Would you like to come?”
- “My child is being baptized this Saturday. Would you and your child like to come?”
Let’s be sure to keep in mind, the more spiritual invitations come after lots and lots of loving and sharing and they naturally occur because that person is a trusted friend and part of our life.
Remember, people don’t change unless an invitation is extended. We can’t leave this piece out.
Applying This to Ward Councils
Now that we better understand what “love, share, invite” looks like, how do we bring it into our weekly ward council meeting?
What if we didn’t start with a “round table” of what each auxiliary brings to the table in the way of needs of their members and activities they are planning. What if we started with:
- Who’s been on your mind this week? Jot it down.
- Let’s compare notes to see if we have any common names/needs.
- How can we love them?
- What can we share with them?
- What can we invite them to do?
Then, with a knowledge of who has relationships with the person you’ll be ministering to, the appropriate ways to love, share, and invite will naturally bubble up along with assignments to the auxiliaries and their members to take those actions. Please note that the members of the ward council aren’t usually going to be the ones to carry out the actions; they just collaborate on how and who to best get it done and extend invitations to those with the relationships to do that next step.
Jason explained it this way:
“We wanted to make sure that if we talk about someone in ward council, they could be a nonmember that just moved in, they could be someone that’s less active or they could be someone that’s active. But the purpose was to use love, share, and invite. How do we love them? What can they share with us or what can we share with them? And what natural invitation can be extended this week to help them? Who would be that person that could do that? And so, the goal is for the ward counsel to come up with the things that need to be happening, then that goes to the auxiliary presidency meetings, ward mission leaders or missionaries, elders quorum presidents, maybe even the youth presidencies, and then they help fulfill those things that need to get done.”
Evolution of our Neighborhood
As the ward clerk frantically takes notes of the people and action items, it’s also essential that all members of the council are reminded and invited to follow up on their assignments.
Remember, ward activities will be a thing of the past and neighborhood activities are what will change lives for good. Lives of those deep in the trenches of living the gospel, on the fringes of living the gospel, or who have not been introduced to the restored gospel. All lives will be elevated for good.
Bear One Another’s Burdens
As Elder Holland so aptly said,
“To be called His people and to stand in His Church, we must be ‘willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.'”
As we apply this new understanding of love, share, and invite, we have the ability to more fully be “His people”. And as we lift the burdens of others, we will soon discover a sacred lifting of our own souls. As we look back on the panoramic view of our life, we will discover this lifting helped us more fully grow into our sacred role as covenant children of a loving Father.
Beth Young is a convert of 44 years; served a mission in North Carolina; has been married for 35 years to her sweetheart, Bob; has five adult children and two grandchildren. She raised her family in Texas for 25 years where she served in various capacities in church and in her community. She moved to Utah four years ago and loves writing, teaching, and inspiring others to make changes to their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Beth is the owner of 5 Pillars of Health, is a certified Tai Chi Instructor, serves as the written content manager at Leading Saints, and is a master gardener.