The LDS lady missionaries, called “Sisters,” are visiting us now, and my 11-year old daughter has heard snatches of our conversations. I see this as a good thing. Anyone who comes to our home willing to talk about the Gospel is welcome. My wife and I have listened to them pray, give their lessons and explain their beliefs.
Just before a recent visit, my daughter told me, “I think I’ll stay and listen to everything today.” And that’s what she did.
I know that most Christians would not let Mormon missionaries into their homes, much less expose their children to LDS teachings. After all, doesn’t the Bible warn us against receiving them into our houses? Is the minimal chance of benefit worth the risk?
The LDS Sisters talked with my wife and me for an hour. Their language was evangelical and winsome. I was not sure how my daughter would react. After the missionaries left, she said, “Daddy, they believe like we do. Let’s visit their church.”
Actually, that’s not what she said. Her real words were, “Daddy, it’s so sad that they believe that!” She heard what Mormons believe directly from them. She heard me ask questions about discrepancies between LDS teaching and the Scripture. She listened to their answers. The Holy Spirit developed spiritual discernment in her.
There was something else that pleased me. Rather than expressing scorn, she felt sadness as she heard our discussion. That was the tender heart of the Savior in her. The sum total is that the Holy Spirit had arranged a double disciple-making experience. While discussing the Gospel with the missionaries I was, at the same time, discipling my daughter. It was pure joy.
Maybe you are thinking, “I would never talk to Mormon missionaries (or anyone else who challenges my beliefs). I wouldn’t know what to say.” When I started, I didn’t either. But I have learned a few things that have led to worthwhile conversations about the Good News.
Talk to the Holy Spirit. Don’t know anyone who is not following Jesus? Ask the Holy Spirit to connect you with one; then get ready for Him to do it.
Ask questions. This is often more helpful than knowing the right answers. When I started talking to Mormon missionaries, I mostly listened. When I did not understand, I asked. Now, when I notice a problem, I have them read a relevant Scripture and ask them to explain the discrepancy. The result has been progress. Asking questions also takes off a lot of pressure.
Practice. Most of us, me included, do not think quickly during impromptu conversations. What if our churches began preparing us with conversational approaches for discussing the Bible with unbelievers? Role-playing, “what-would-you-say-if” scenarios and similar exercises are good ways to test whether we can communicate what we know. We should be asking our church leaders to make this kind of equipping a normal part of church life.
Have you been captured by the reality that Jesus has made you His own so that you can participate in what He is doing in the world? He is bringing others into full participation in His life and ministry, and He is calling us to that. Join Him—for the joy of it!