8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.
I’ve been thinking today about the importance of extending invitations as part of sharing the gospel. It’s one thing to share what we have experienced, and that is important. But it is another thing to invite other people to take actions which will enable them to experience spiritual growth in their own lives.
In the passage above, Alma invites a group of people he has been teaching to be baptized. I’ve learned a few things about effective invitations as I’ve pondered his words today:
- He begins by acknowledging and reinforcing their noble desires. He knows that they want to come into the fold of God and bear one another’s burdens. They would like to organize themselves into a more formal relationship with one another, with responsibility for looking after each other. They would also like to declare themselves to be followers of God.
- He confidently promises specific blessings which they will receive if they accept and act upon his invitation: they will be redeemed of God, be numbered with those of the first resurrection, have eternal life, and receive His Spirit “more abundantly.”
- He invites them with a question: “What have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord…?”
- His tone is confident and optimistic, and they respond in kind. Clapping their hands, they exclaim, “This is the desire of our hearts.”
Today, I will invite others, including my own children, to do things which will strengthen their faith and bring them closer to Christ. I will extend invitations with confidence and with enthusiasm, knowing that the people I interact with have righteous desires and will receive blessings from God as they respond favorably to invitations to do good.