The 19 Least-Awkward Ways to Invite a Total Stranger to Meet the Missionaries

Two women not speaking on a bus

The most difficult part of inviting someone to learn more about the church is to turn the conversation into talking about the church. Here are some relatively painless ways to help you out.

  1. Wear your faith. T-shirts from youth conference, BYU or LDSBC apparel.
  2. Start to answer a question with, “When I was a missionary . . .”
  3. Ask them what they’re doing this weekend. When they ask you, mention that you’re going to church.
  4. Ask them for an idea to help with your calling (I’m planning an activity for Cub Scouts, or what would get your attention for a lesson about . . .)
  5. Use a talk or lesson you or your kids are giving at church as an opening for an invitation.
  6. Leave a flier or pass-along card with a tip. Never ever in lieu of a tip.
  7. Bring physical scriptures to read while you’re waiting. People often ask others about books they’re reading, but rarely what they’re looking at on their phone.
  8. Mention service you are receiving. Offer the local missionaries to help them with service they need.
  9. Connect what you’re doing to something you’ve seen or heard at church (I had a meal like this at a potluck or someone mentioned this building in a talk at church)
  10. Bring up an action or attribute of a distant relative. That you know this may inspire questions.
  11. Start with a past missionary experience, “Just the other day I had a fascinating conversation with a total stranger about ___________, what do you think?”
  12. Just start talking. When we meet someone new, we are often too worried about saying the right thing. But the best way to connect with a stranger is to say anything. Connecting to the gospel can happen next.
  13. Often when we meet strangers, we’re opening our wallet. So think of the inside of your wallet like a billboard for conversation starters, with a picture of your family or Jesus or a temple recommend.
  14. Live your faith. You never know when turning down a morning coffee or walking away from a dirty joke will catch someone’s attention.
  15. Unique jewelry could inspire a comment from others, such as a CTR ring, Young Women’s Medallion, or Duty to God pin.
  16. Say the word “God” a lot. As in “Thank God” or “God bless you.” It introduces your faith to others in a very nonconfrontational way.
  17. Often we meet strangers with kids of similar age. Invite them to primary activities or playgroups with other Latter-day Saints.
  18. Connect how you meet to the invitation. If you met at the library invite them to the Relief Society book club. At the gym, invite them to an early morning walking group, etc.
  19. Once you’ve discovered what they’re good at, ask them for help (join the ward choir, fix something for my home teaching family, etc.)

Many Latter-day Saints have social circles that are dominated by other members. If you find yourself in this situation, doing missionary work can be difficult. Hopefully, these ideas help you to find a way to continue to be a member missionary.


Christopher D. Cunningham is the managing editor for Public Square Magazine and contributor to Third Hour. He loves emphatically celebrating the normal healthy development of his sons Albus and Whitman, writing about the Church of Jesus Christ, finding the middle ground on most controversies, and using Western Family generic brand lip balm. Christopher is a proud graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, and a resident of San Antonio, Texas.