Position or leadership will come to those who the Lord feels can do the work or to those who need a particular calling. Each calling you receive prepares you for additional service and for a future calling. Every calling prepares you for the next one—you just don’t know what it will be.
As missionaries, each one of you is a leader. Even though you must work under the direction of the bishops and ward mission leader, even though you are cautioned not to get too pushy with members, even though you are reminded that you are here to assist the members in their missionary work—nevertheless, you must gently persuade, remind, guide, and move the work along. Surprisingly, the members expect this of you. The bishops expect this of you, and the ward mission leaders expect this of you. If you sit back and do nothing, they soon lose confidence in you. If things are not going well in a ward, you cannot sit back and blame the bishop or ward mission leader. As missionaries (leaders), you must find a way. If the work is going well, you must give credit to others. You must follow the Lord’s counsel:
“Only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile” (D&C 121:41–42).
1.Persuasion. It’s not so much what you say that counts; it’s the total impression you convey. Enthusiasm, persistence, awareness, empathy, and patience are all virtues of persuasion. Aggressiveness, impatience, and pressure do not persuade.
2.Long-suffering. Work with the members and leaders. Recognize that they do not yet have the commitment to missionary work that you have—that their time and interests are divided among their family, employment, Church callings, and other responsibilities. One of your challenges is to teach them how to include missionary work in their list of top priorities.
3.Gentleness. “There is nothing so strong as gentleness, and there is nothing so gentle as real strength,” said St. Francis de Sales (in Favorite Quotations from the Collection of Thomas S. Monson, 210). Gentleness is consideration, tenderness of feeling, and love. Take time to be gentle.
4.Meekness. Meekness is the quality of being teachable and open-minded. “Teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; . . . Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart“ (Alma 37: 33–34).
5.Love unfeigned. Everyone can sense when a person is not being genuine. As a leader, you must learn to love your fellow Saints and to work closely with them. Unfeigned love is love with genuine concern. You must really care.
6.Kindness and pure knowledge. Learn how to build people up, to make them better, to make them happier, to bring them closer to God. An act of kindness is an act of love. When you do something for others, you are generally the one who gains the most. The more you know about God (pure knowledge), the more you become like Him.