Gavin Roberts, BMAA Missionary – Utah is known for the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” The state is home to some of the greatest skiing in the world. The southern part of the state boasts the “Mighty Five” national parks that attract tourists from around the globe. Within an hour’s drive from where my family and I live you can see snowy mountains or red rock desert. It is a beautiful place!
Depending on where your data comes from, Utah is also the least reached state in the U.S. with the gospel, including a number of areas with significant populations with little to no evangelical presence. That is why my family and I packed up and headed west!
We minister in Morgan, Utah, an incredibly picturesque mountain town. Snowcapped mountains sit above the town on all sides while the Weber River runs through the valley floor and keeps everything green. Morgan is a town of roughly 5,000 residents and the largest city in Morgan County, which has a total population of around 13,000. Geographically, it is the smallest county in the state. My brother, Chase Roberts and I pastor Morgan Grace Church, the only evangelical church in the city of Morgan and one of only two in the county.
While evangelical churches are few, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) thrives. Utah is the home of the Mormon Church. Many in our BMA family know Mormons from their missionary uniforms. You’ve likely had Mormon missionaries visit your home. Growing up in rural Arkansas, this was about the extent of my knowledge of the LDS church. So how does one minister to Mormons? How do we share the gospel with LDS friends?
It is not uncommon for folks in Utah to only know Christians from the South as the people who eat fried food, drink sweet tea and slam the door in their faces while they’re on their two-year mission with the church. Instead of politely telling missionaries you are a Christian and do not wish to hear their spiel, I would ask that you prayerfully consider a different approach — invite them in. Offer them something to drink. Listen to them. Talk with them. Ask them questions. Love them. They are real people just like you.
Our Mormon friends are professional evangelists. We have found that they are generally open to religious conversations. However, debating is often not the best approach. Instead of attacking the LDS faith, ask questions that cause both parties in the conversation to think critically about their faith. When people have only known one faith from birth, they may never have looked at God in a different light.
So ask good questions like, “Who do you think the Bible tells us that Jesus is?” or “What is the authority for how we are to live our lives and receive forgiveness of our sins?” Questions like these allow them to share their beliefs and allow you to share your own. Encourage your Mormon friends to read the Bible. Let God do what God does. He speaks through His Word. He brings life through His Word. God saves sinful people in need of His grace! Just like those of you reading this article.
Ministering to Mormons is about listening and loving. It is something that happens via relationships that take time. We are all broken people, so instead of shutting them out, open the door and open your ears. Win a hearing. Love them. Jesus said in John 6:63 (ESV), “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Listen intently. Show grace. God’s Word brings life. Trust God to do what He has promised to do — build His church.
Pray for Utah! Pray for us. Listen to the next Mormon missionaries you meet. Love them. Maybe God will call some of you reading this to be a part of what He is doing in Utah.
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