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Can the Church take the gospel to the world?


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Conference is emphasizing missionary work.  President Nelson made the following statement:

“His gospel is the only answer when many in the world are stunned with fear. This underscores the urgent need for us to follow the Lord’s instruction to his disciples to ‘go ... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’”  “We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives."

I am a numbers guy so I am curious how the Church preaches it's gospel to every creature.  We have approximately 55,000 missionaries or 27,500 companionship's.  If each companionship teaches 20 people a week (an extremely high number in my experience), 52 weeks a year, that equals 28,600,000 people taught in a year.  The current number of people born each year is 140,000,000.  Just to teach those born each year would require 5 times as many missionaries teaching the same amount.  Just to get through 1 billion people would require the current missionary force 35 years.  How many nonmembers listen or watch Church broadcasts?  I would guess less than a million.

How do we even meet the first objective to preach to every creature?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

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8 minutes ago, kimpearson said:

Conference is emphasizing missionary work.  President Nelson made the following statement:

“His gospel is the only answer when many in the world are stunned with fear. This underscores the urgent need for us to follow the Lord’s instruction to his disciples to ‘go ... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’”  “We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives."

I am a numbers guy so I am curious how the Church preaches it's gospel to every creature.  We have approximately 55,000 missionaries or 27,500 companionship's.  If each companionship teaches 20 people a week (an extremely high number in my experience), 52 weeks a year, that equals 28,600,000 people taught in a year.  The current number of people born each year is 140,000,000.  Just to teach those born each year would require 5 times as many missionaries teaching the same amount.  Just to get through 1 billion people would require the current missionary force 35 years.  How many nonmembers listen or watch Church broadcasts?  I would guess less than a million.

How do we even meet the first objective to preach to every creature?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Maybe it helps to ask, what did the Savior mean or expect when He commanded His 12 apostles to “preach to every creature”?

For myself, I don’t think He meant it literally, because that wouldn’t be possible.

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How many of those already living already know of the gospel?  How many already know the first principles, especially that Christ is Lord and Savior.

The command to spread the gospel has always been about accountability more than about conversion.  A small percentage of those who hear the gospel are ever going to accept it (and even fewer live it and stick with it).

If people have heard enough of Christ to make the educated choice to believe on his name or not then we fulfilled the responsibility.

As you quoted President Nelson the responsibility is "with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives.". That's not everyone.

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7 minutes ago, kimpearson said:

Conference is emphasizing missionary work.  President Nelson made the following statement:

“His gospel is the only answer when many in the world are stunned with fear. This underscores the urgent need for us to follow the Lord’s instruction to his disciples to ‘go ... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’”  “We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives."

I am a numbers guy so I am curious how the Church preaches it's gospel to every creature.  We have approximately 55,000 missionaries or 27,500 companionship's.  If each companionship teaches 20 people a week (an extremely high number in my experience), 52 weeks a year, that equals 28,600,000 people taught in a year.  The current number of people born each year is 140,000,000.  Just to teach those born each year would require 5 times as many missionaries teaching the same amount.  Just to get through 1 billion people would require the current missionary force 35 years.  How many nonmembers listen or watch Church broadcasts?  I would guess less than a million.

How do we even meet the first objective to preach to every creature?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

The notion that our view of God actually is  one of worshipping the ideal Human Being, whom we can emulate both in this life and in the afterlife, to "be all we can be" and eventually become an Ideal Being ourselves, is what attracted me.

We are the ultimate Human Potential Movement, but no one sees it that way.

We need to change that.  More humanity. More helping the needy, homeless, more seeing God as not a transcendent cloud, but as our Father with whom we can communicate.

That's what we have, that no one else has, and what the world needs NOW, and makes us the only true and LIVING church.  Who else has that?  :)

 

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16 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Maybe it helps to ask, what did the Savior mean or expect when He commanded His 12 apostles to “preach to every creature”?

For myself, I don’t think He meant it literally, because that wouldn’t be possible.

You just need to learn to speak squirrel!

But seriously, we CAN do that because we can continue our message even after we have passed on!

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Perhaps before we can speak to the OP's question, we need to have a mutually understood and shared definition of "the gospel." The word euangelion or "gospel" is used approximately 77 times in the New Testament. It comes from two words meaning the "good" "message." At different places in the New Testament from Matthew to Philemon it is used in connection with: fellowship, mystery, peace, salvation, truth, grace, Christ, a way of life, a blessing, a power, and a kingdom. Of course I may have missed some, but these words are clearly used in connection with the gospel. Most often the word gospel is used in connection with Christ and/or His kingdom. So we might say that the gospel is the good message (news) of Christ and His kingdom (perhaps both here on earth and in eternity). The kingdom has been described simply as the place where "His will is done." I like that.

So, Biblically, the gospel, in its differing contexts involves good news, fellowship, mystery, peace, salvation, truth, grace, Christ, a way of life, a blessing, a power, and a kingdom. I do not believe the gospel, as such is the exclusive domain or property of any specific or unique Christian group, institution, entity, or denomination. Some define the gospel as summarized in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and glorified life of Christ. Some require of the term much more. I would disagree with the much more part, but that won't matter to those who require much more. Some require the social gospel. I think that is a manifestation of the lived gospel, but is not its essence. Others add more concepts and requirements to the gospel; others understand that they and their group alone are the only purveyors of the only gospel. I would disagree with any form of that kind of exclusivity, but again those who require that wouldn't particularly care what I believe or think about the subject.

How do we take the gospel to all the earth? By being the physical and visible representation of all that the gospel represents to the world. We are the burning bushes, the shekinah glory, the incarnation, the only physical and visible presence of God on earth in these times.  The gospel is lived more than it is taught or preached. It is not something we take to the world as much as it is what we show to the world. By our lives we can touch thousands of those who live, work, play, and in any way associate with us. That is how we can hope to take the gospel "to the world." It is in the every day actions and words of the Christian that the gospel is either shared or denigrated. It is better lived than preached.  Thanks for letting me share.

Edited by Navidad
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5 hours ago, kimpearson said:

..........................

I am a numbers guy so I am curious how the Church preaches it's gospel to every creature.  We have approximately 55,000 missionaries or 27,500 companionship's.  If each companionship teaches 20 people a week (an extremely high number in my experience), 52 weeks a year, that equals 28,600,000 people taught in a year.  The current number of people born each year is 140,000,000.  Just to teach those born each year would require 5 times as many missionaries teaching the same amount.  Just to get through 1 billion people would require the current missionary force 35 years.  How many nonmembers listen or watch Church broadcasts?  I would guess less than a million.

How do we even meet the first objective to preach to every creature?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Doing the numbers requires a deep dive, along with discernment of the kinds and types of numbers being bandied about:  LDS Missionaries are divided into proselyting and non-proselyting (service) missions.  However, teaching the Gospel is not limited to tracting or cold calls by proselyting missionaries.  More important are member referrals.  More important than that, however, are the high tech multipliers:  The LDS Church itself has a massive internet outreach, and that is accompanied by dozens of member-operated blogs, and websites both large and small (Fairmormon, Book of Mormon Central, etc.) which broadcast the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Members also participate in all the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to discuss what they and their families are doing - along with inviting people to read the Book of Mormon (freely distributed and available online) or to come to Sunday services.

Over and above that are the widespread non-LDS activities by various Christian organizations, such as the American Bible Society (and other Bible societies), to which some LDS actually donate -- because the Bible is part of our Canon.  Missionary activities of other Christian churches also spreads the Gospel and prepares people to hear the Gospel from an LDS viewpoint later.  There are billions of Christians already on the planet (1/3 of humanity).  It is not as if we LDS are starting from scratch.

The Great Commission has been an ongoing pursuit since it was first issued by Jesus to that hopelessly small group 2,000 years ago.  They did not respond by calculating the impossible numbers problem.

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4 hours ago, Navidad said:

Perhaps before we can speak to the OP's question, we need to have a mutually understood and shared definition of "the gospel." The word euangelion or "gospel" is used approximately 77 times in the New Testament. It comes from two words meaning the "good" "message." At different places in the New Testament from Matthew to Philemon it is used in connection with: fellowship, mystery, peace, salvation, truth, grace, Christ, a way of life, a blessing, a power, and a kingdom. Of course I may have missed some, but these words are clearly used in connection with the gospel. Most often the word gospel is used in connection with Christ and/or His kingdom. So we might say that the gospel is the good message (news) of Christ and His kingdom (perhaps both here on earth and in eternity). The kingdom has been described simply as the place where "His will is done." I like that.

So, Biblically, the gospel, in its differing contexts involves good news, fellowship, mystery, peace, salvation, truth, grace, Christ, a way of life, a blessing, a power, and a kingdom. I do not believe the gospel, as such is the exclusive domain or property of any specific or unique Christian group, institution, entity, or denomination. Some define the gospel as summarized in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and glorified life of Christ. Some require of the term much more. I would disagree with the much more part, but that won't matter to those who require much more. Some require the social gospel. I think that is a manifestation of the lived gospel, but is not its essence. Others add more concepts and requirements to the gospel; others understand that they and their group alone are the only purveyors of the only gospel. I would disagree with any form of that kind of exclusivity, but again those who require that wouldn't particularly care what I believe or think about the subject.

How do we take the gospel to all the earth? By being the physical and visible representation of all that the gospel represents to the world. We are the burning bushes, the shekinah glory, the incarnation, the only physical and visible presence of God on earth in these times.  The gospel is lived more than it is taught or preached. It is not something we take to the world as much as it is what we show to the world. By our lives we can touch thousands of those who live, work, play, and in any way associate with us. That is how we can hope to take the gospel "to the world." It is in the every day actions and words of the Christian that the gospel is either shared or denigrated. It is better lived than preached.  Thanks for letting me share.

For us typically in our context "the gospel" typically does include the general beliefs in Christianity you mention, but much more, it includes  LDS beliefs in temple worship etc, in fact it is more likely to include ONLY the LDS "gospel".

You hear terms like "our Gospel" or "The Covenant Path", and virtually never means any gospel other than the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Clearly that is the way it is being used in this thread.

How did you like General Conference?

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9 hours ago, kimpearson said:

Conference is emphasizing missionary work.  President Nelson made the following statement:

“His gospel is the only answer when many in the world are stunned with fear. This underscores the urgent need for us to follow the Lord’s instruction to his disciples to ‘go ... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’”  “We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives."

I am a numbers guy so I am curious how the Church preaches it's gospel to every creature.  We have approximately 55,000 missionaries or 27,500 companionship's.  If each companionship teaches 20 people a week (an extremely high number in my experience), 52 weeks a year, that equals 28,600,000 people taught in a year.  The current number of people born each year is 140,000,000.  Just to teach those born each year would require 5 times as many missionaries teaching the same amount.  Just to get through 1 billion people would require the current missionary force 35 years.  How many nonmembers listen or watch Church broadcasts?  I would guess less than a million.

How do we even meet the first objective to preach to every creature?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

1. Get off our butt

2. open our mouth

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I’m astounded at some of these responses.

God didn’t give us a command we cannot keep. We will do it if we trust Him.

What we need is momentum or forward thrust. If every member shared the gospel with one person every month for the next year, we could potentially reach between 204,000,000 and every person on earth within a year.

 

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3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

For us typically in our context "the gospel" typically does include the general beliefs in Christianity you mention, but much more, it includes  LDS beliefs in temple worship etc, in fact it is more likely to include ONLY the LDS "gospel".

You hear terms like "our Gospel" or "The Covenant Path", and virtually never means any gospel other than the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Clearly that is the way it is being used in this thread.

How did you like General Conference?

I tend to disagree with some of this. The "Good News" is that we can be forgiven of our sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The rest of it, such as temple worship, are appendages. Necessary appendages, of course, but the core of The Gospel is deliverance. After deliverance comes exaltation, if we are worthy, but deliverance is first.

Joseph Smith was asked, “What are the fundamental principles of your religion?” He answered: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 30.)

That is to say, the atoning sacrifice of the Lord is the center of all things, as far as we are concerned. God our Heavenly Father created us, without which we would have no existence. And Christ the Son has redeemed us, without which there would be neither immortality nor eternal life.

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5 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

You hear terms like "our Gospel"

Is that phrase that common?  Perhaps I am not paying close enough attention, but I don’t remember it being such in conversations I have had or materials I have read.  I only found one usage*** of it from over 30 years ago on the Church’s website too, so if used, am thinking it is used in casual conversations.

***https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/1980/04/the-glorious-gospel-in-our-day?lang=eng

Quote

We have yet to gather Israel into the stakes of Zion, to be established in all nations. We have yet to build up Zion and to establish her stakes as places of refuge among all people and in all nations. Ours is a message for all men; our gospel—and none other—has the power to save and exalt.

 

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, Avatar4321 said:

What we need is momentum or forward thrust. If every member shared the gospel with one person every month for the next year, we could potentially reach between 204,000,000 and every person on earth within a year.

Yeah, but there are people very much invested in discouraging or downplaying such possibilities.

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4 hours ago, Calm said:

Is that phrase that common?  Perhaps I am not paying close enough attention, but I don’t remember it being such in conversations I have had or materials I have read.  I only found one usage*** of it from over 30 years ago on the Church’s website too, so if used, am thinking it is used in casual conversations.

***https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/1980/04/the-glorious-gospel-in-our-day?lang=eng

 

Wow! That's a lot of work, to read the context of every mention of "gospel" in 30 years!!

I am talking about our testimony meetings

We have "gospel" preachers on every corner, and they are not attending our ward. ;)

The folks hereabouts are often talking about how we are NOT like the others.

"I couldn't find a church, and then I found this gospel and...."

I also opened the church website and searched for "our gospel" - with quotes- and found tons of references 

 

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 4/3/2022 at 11:23 AM, kimpearson said:

How do we even meet the first objective to preach to every creature?

I'm thinking something like an artificial intelligence missionary program operating in an open world, church generated VR space. 

Or maybe robots. Whatever is easiest. ;)

 

Edited by Amulek
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23 hours ago, Navidad said:

So, Biblically, the gospel, in its differing contexts involves good news, fellowship, mystery, peace, salvation, truth, grace, Christ, a way of life, a blessing, a power, and a kingdom. I do not believe the gospel, as such is the exclusive domain or property of any specific or unique Christian group, institution, entity, or denomination.

Great!  And we also have more scriptures that clarify it further

That's what we believe too!  And that's why we are virtually Universalists!  There was a talk about that in conference, which I am sure you enjoyed :)

 

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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Quote

I am a numbers guy so I am curious how the Church preaches it's gospel to every creature.  We have approximately 55,000 missionaries or 27,500 companionship's.  If each companionship teaches 20 people a week (an extremely high number in my experience), 52 weeks a year, that equals 28,600,000 people taught in a year.  The current number of people born each year is 140,000,000.  Just to teach those born each year would require 5 times as many missionaries teaching the same amount.  Just to get through 1 billion people would require the current missionary force 35 years.  How many nonmembers listen or watch Church broadcasts?  I would guess less than a million.

How about the best 20% of missionary companionships (5500) provide compelling online messages the have about 2 million views each (similar to The Chosen episodes) and 11 billion people have now heard the gospel.

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On 4/3/2022 at 10:23 AM, kimpearson said:

We have approximately 55,000 missionaries or 27,500 companionship's.  If each companionship teaches 20 people a week (an extremely high number in my experience), 52 weeks a year, that equals 28,600,000 people taught in a year.

Since you're a numbers guy, make sure you add to the formula a successful conversion rate, and the number of new converts who then engage in missionary work, and their success rate.  Then chart the growth over time.

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

There was a talk about that in conference, which I am sure you enjoyed :)

 

I didn't watch any of the general conference. I did follow along with Ken's comments. I find that the stake conferences and the general conferences are LDS family events. My watching the GC would be like if I showed up at your family reunion. I wouldn't belong and would most likely feel like an outsider. I wish you all the very best with these family events. I know I will hear summaries of all the talks over the next few years in the ward. If you have a talk especially in your mind that I should listen to, please let me know. I will be happy to do so. Best wishes.

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On 4/3/2022 at 11:20 AM, Navidad said:

Perhaps before we can speak to the OP's question, we need to have a mutually understood and shared definition of "the gospel." The word euangelion or "gospel" is used approximately 77 times in the New Testament. It comes from two words meaning the "good" "message." At different places in the New Testament from Matthew to Philemon it is used in connection with: fellowship, mystery, peace, salvation, truth, grace, Christ, a way of life, a blessing, a power, and a kingdom. Of course I may have missed some, but these words are clearly used in connection with the gospel. Most often the word gospel is used in connection with Christ and/or His kingdom. So we might say that the gospel is the good message (news) of Christ and His kingdom (perhaps both here on earth and in eternity). The kingdom has been described simply as the place where "His will is done." I like that.

So, Biblically, the gospel, in its differing contexts involves good news, fellowship, mystery, peace, salvation, truth, grace, Christ, a way of life, a blessing, a power, and a kingdom. I do not believe the gospel, as such is the exclusive domain or property of any specific or unique Christian group, institution, entity, or denomination. Some define the gospel as summarized in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and glorified life of Christ. Some require of the term much more. I would disagree with the much more part, but that won't matter to those who require much more. Some require the social gospel. I think that is a manifestation of the lived gospel, but is not its essence. Others add more concepts and requirements to the gospel; others understand that they and their group alone are the only purveyors of the only gospel. I would disagree with any form of that kind of exclusivity, but again those who require that wouldn't particularly care what I believe or think about the subject.

How do we take the gospel to all the earth? By being the physical and visible representation of all that the gospel represents to the world. We are the burning bushes, the shekinah glory, the incarnation, the only physical and visible presence of God on earth in these times.  The gospel is lived more than it is taught or preached. It is not something we take to the world as much as it is what we show to the world. By our lives we can touch thousands of those who live, work, play, and in any way associate with us. That is how we can hope to take the gospel "to the world." It is in the every day actions and words of the Christian that the gospel is either shared or denigrated. It is better lived than preached.  Thanks for letting me share.

Unfortunately, facts are not in our favor. in practice LDS people are rather insular, withdrawn,, elitist and quite pharisaic in life style. The evidence is that in 5 years there has not been ONE baptism in my current ward. We are known for many things but not for being truly Christ-like in real life at a personal level.  I was just reflecting a "testimony" by a member a month ago where went on to give thanks for "...being able to pay tithing, for fasting, for personal righteousness, for the holiness in his home..." Truly it sounded like the prayer in the temple court by the Pharisee in Luke 18:11. He left the pulpit pretty pleased with himself while completely oblivious 0ot what he had said. more importantly, what the Savior had said about the likes of him. 

Can you imagine of every family in the ward would pour itself out and truly loved one person and showed them the same level of care, attention, interest, love and affection they spend on themselves? If every family would bring JUST 1 person into the church in a year, the church would double in size. But that will never happen, based on what has happened in the last decade or so. 

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4 minutes ago, Islander said:

The evidence is that in 5 years there has not been ONE baptism in my current ward.

Despite all the disruptions of COVID, my ward has had two convert baptisms in the past six months (both through member missionary work), and one of my mates is currently preparing to be baptised before the end of the month.

So yeah, not everyone has lost the plot.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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14 hours ago, Amulek said:

I'm thinking something like an artificial intelligence missionary program operating in an open world, church generated VR space. 

Or maybe robots. Whatever is easiest. ;)

 

“Non-believer detected. Activate conversion protocol.”

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