Saturday, January 23, 2010

Doubling Convert Baptisms, Retention, and Reactivation

The Late Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Gordon B. Hinkley challenged the LDS people to double the number of convert baptisms and improve upon our retention of those who have been newly baptized into the church. This past year, our ward and mission as well as neighboring missions have worked to apply the principles President Hinkley gave several years ago and have successfully doubled our convert baptisms as well as increased retention. Here is what we are doing.

First, our bishop has doubled and tripled the number of ward missionaries. Since every member needs a calling, there should be plenty of members who could assist the missionaries. Next, our ward mission leader conducts a missionary meeting twice-a-week. The first meeting, usually held after church on Sunday, the full-time Elders together with the ward missionaries discuss splits/exchanges/teamups, and assign home teachers or ward missionaries to teach new member discussions. After an individual has been baptized into the LDS church, there is still alot to be learned. However, the responsibility of new member discussions has been given to ward missionaries and home teachers which helps the new member form permanent and lasting relationships with members in the congregation and weans them from their temporary relationship with the Elders.

The second missionary meeting is held 30 minutes before youth night activities. In this meeting, the missionaries and a representative from each axillary meet to discuss all the families and individuals that the missionaries are working with. Since, leadership are generally at the church on youth night anyways, this meeting is not difficult for them to attend. With the auxiliaries present as well as a member of the bishopric, home and visiting teaching is assigned, fellowshipping is arranged, rides to church are organized, and new member discussions are planned. This second meeting with leadership from the Relief Society, Elders Quorum, Young Men, Young Women, High Priests, and Primary is amazingly productive. These meetings really help coordinate the ward in taking care of the needs of the families and individuals that the missionaries are working with. At the same time, the leadership can request that the missionaries help them in visiting and assessing the needs of members who may not be actively attending and participating in church.

Just as Pres. Hinkley encouraged, the result of these missionary meetings together with the coordination of priesthood auxiliaries has been a doubling of convert baptisms and an increase in retention and reactivation. These result have been seen throughout our mission and also in neighboring missions in the South East Area

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