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Meanings of fellowship vary

SHARE Meanings of fellowship vary

*Fellowship all

*Proclaim gospel*Share Christ's love

Fellowshipping others involves a much broader connotation than many members may realize, said Elder M. Russell Ballard Saturday afternoon.

Many in the Church think the word "fellowship"is used to describe efforts to encourage the less active to return to full activity and to help new converts make the transition into the Church following baptism, observed Elder Ballard of the Council of the Twelve.

"I believe those meanings are valid," he said. "(But) I believe we members do not have the option to extend the hand of fellowship only to relatives, close friends, certain Church members, and those selected non-members who express an interest in the Church. Limiting or withholding our fellowship seems to me to be contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior offered the effects of His atoning sacrifice to all mankind."

Proclaiming the gospel to all mankind is a fundamental part of the mission of the Church, said the apostle.

"This big world is filled with billions of people," Elder Ballard noted. "Today more than 35,700 full-time missionaries are combing the earth looking for those of our Father's children who will listen to the message of the Restoration.

"These dedicated servants of the Lord are serving in 221 missions and ar teaching the gospel in 64 different languages. We expect that approximately 245,000 converts will be baptised during 1988," Eldre Ballard reported.

"We must ever keep in mind that missionary work throughout the world requires great sacrifice, and all of this sacrifice, effort, and exhaustive preparation of missionaries may be in vain if those who accept the gospel do not receive a loving and warm welocme by members of the Chruch," he said.

"We must ever keep in mind the time, effort, and other resources that missionaries and others spend to find and teach one of our Father's children. surely, every one of us ought to be alert, looking for ways to be of service to the newcomers, as the missionaries are taught to do.

"We must help with the conversion process by making our wards and branches friendly places, with no exclusivity, where all people feel welcome and comfortable."

Elder Ballard urged Church members to follow Elder LeGrand Richards' example. "Years ago, while walking up Main Street with his father, Elder Richards, then the Presiding Bishop of the Church, tipped his hat and greeted everyone. Upon arrival at their destination, President George F. Richards . . . said, 'Son, do you know all those people?' Bishop Richards responded, 'Yes, Daddy, I know them all - all but their names.'" The audience warmly responded to the story with laughter.

"We can share the love of Christ in simple acts," Elder Ballard counseled. "The warmth of a radiant smile and friendly greeting can go far in smoothing the way for good neighborly relations."