Monday, November 29, 2010

Sharing the Gospel 2.0

Throughout the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the means of which missionary work is performed has changed.  I will apologize up front for my thoughts being unorganized.  This is a draft for the historical content section of our final project. 

Early Church
Dan Jones preaching in Wales
When the church first started, missionaries were often sent on missions alone and often taught to large groups of people.  

Two missionaries in the early 20th century.
In the early 20th century, missionaries taught the gospel in companionship's.  Many of those serving missions left wives and families at home while they were out preaching the gospel.  


Memorized Discussions 
 For many years, missionaries shared the gospel by giving memorized discussions to people investigating the church.  This was known as the 'Uniform System for Teaching the Gospel'. 

Preach My Gospel
In 2004, missionaries throughout the world began using Preach My Gospel as their guide for missionary service focusing on teaching by the spirit instead of giving a memorized lesson.  This tool gives missionaries the flexibility to prepare and teach lessons to meet the specific needs of those investigating the church. 

Learn more at
Missionary Work 2.0
As a member of The Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have been counseled to share my beliefs with others.   What impedes you from sharing the gospel with others?  Is it fear of hurting your reputation? is it the fact that it requires effort and hard work and you don't get paid for it?  Tim Wu, Professor of Law stated that we are living in more of an exposure culture, where 'getting noticed is everything'.  What are are motives of sharing the gospel?

The Wisdom of Crowds:  Think of how much good could be done and lives could be touched if all 13 million members of the church became actively involved in missionary work online.  Everyone working together for with the same goal in mind: to invite others to come unto Christ.  The church would have such an edge over the evil in the world.  Evil is everywhere but it is a  bunch of mini groups attacking from different directions.

Folksonomies: individuals acting individually yet producing a collective result.  This is what happens when we share the gosple online.  We are working individually to help the church (collectively as a whole) grow and gain more exposure.  We do this by posting links to church sites from our blogs, facebook, twitter, etc. 

Online missionary work creates a giant 'Network effect'.  Think of how many people you connect with on facebook, myspace, through e-mail, twitter, or online each day.  Fellow-shipping has become that much easier.  Investigators and recent converts have instant access to hundreds and thousands of members who are reading and willing to help.  It is always easier to make changes in our lives when we have an instant support group when times get hard. 

Fortunately official church sites and doctrine online are not an 'open but a closed API'.  Imagine what would happen if anyone could have access to editing and changing the doctrine shared on church websites.  It would be a mess?  It would lead to another apostasy or falling away from the truth. 

There are many ways in which we can become involved in missionary work online.  I'll post more about this next time.

1 comment:

  1. You're off to a great start! Since I'm doing the Mormon Message final project I thought about the Church's online missionary efforts in light of Web 2.0 as well. You are correct--openness in this case would be disastrous. But I feel that in the Church's efforts to increase user generated content, they have made the site much more personable, and easier for investigators to find people they relate to. All of a sudden it's not just an interface--it's a million faces behind an interface. (P.S. I've been kinda fixating on this idea of the face behind the interface recently--check out my blog to learn more.