The purpose of the Lord’s church is to further the progress of every son and daughter of God toward the ultimate blessings of eternal life. …
Our mission to perfect the Saints, particularly the challenge of activating those who have separated themselves from full activity in the Church. These members, who are our brothers and sisters, at present live apart from the Church and the influence of the gospel.
To all such individuals, we, as members of the Church and followers of the Lord, must extend and renew our love and heartfelt invitation to come back. “Come back. Come back and feast at the table of the Lord, and taste again the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints.” (Ensign, March 1986, p. 88.)
The challenge before us is great. … We must exercise great faith, energy, and commitment if we are to reach these brothers and sisters. But we must do it. The Lord expects us to do it. And we will!
Now is the time to apply the Savior’s teaching of the good shepherd to the challenge before us of retrieving lost sheep and wayward lambs.
How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
“And if [it] so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.” (Matt. 18:12–13.)
As we discuss the concept of a true shepherd, we recognize that the Lord has given this responsibility to priesthood holders. But sisters also have callings of “shepherding” in the charitable and loving service they render to one another, and to others. Thus, we must all learn to be true shepherds. We must manifest the same love to others that the Good Shepherd has for all of us. Each soul is precious to Him. His invitation beckons every member—every son and daughter of God.
We are particularly concerned that new converts be integrated into full fellowship in the Church. They must be welcomed with opened arms.
Let us be united in our efforts to bring the less active back into full activity in the Church. In doing so, we will all be more fitly joined together in accomplishing the mission of the Church—to bring the gospel, with all of its blessings and ordinances, more fully into the lives of all Church members. The Church “hath need of every member” (D&C 84:110), and every member has need of the gospel, the Church, and all its ordinances.
May we all seek the blessings of the Lord to strengthen us and give us the necessary power and influence we will need as we work together in this great labor of love.