I was always told that service projects are not proselyting activities. Yet there is interest in my ward from a couple of people who are wanting to have printed proselyting type tshirts for everyone to wear while doing service projects. I’m trying to find something saying this is okay or is not okay, and was wondering what your thoughts were. Thanks Gramps!!!
Thank you for your question. I personally find great satisfaction in serving others and hope that you and your Ward Family find the same in your service projects.
We are encouraged to offer service to others when possible, regardless of their religious affiliation. Service is a wonderful way to show love to others as well as to our Father in Heaven. Mosiah 2:17 reads:
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
I have heard others share your similar concern, “I was always told that (service) projects are not proselyting activities.” Offering service to others should not be contingent upon our ability to share the gospel with them, but at the same time we should not shy away from the opportunity to share the gospel with all mankind if the occasion presents itself. We should learn to offer service to others unconditionally and out of love. It is perfectly fine however, to let others know where, why and who offered that love and not shy away from who we are. I feel that often times scriptures regarding fasting or fast offerings erroneously get applied to service as well. In the scriptures we read:
4. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly 4. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:4
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 3 Nephi 13:18
There is a distinction between trying to show the world what we personally are doing or have done something in an effort to bring attention and praise to “ourselves.” Bringing praise to our Father in Heaven publicly and conspicuously via a service project is a noble cause. Even the missionaries, those charged with sharing the gospel are given guidance that I believe applies to us all. In the Missionary Handbook under the section “Community Service” it reads:
Although you should serve out of a sincere desire to help others, look for teaching opportunities that arise from your service.
Cutting trees downed in a storm my be a great blessing and relief to someone in need. Sharing the gospel of Christ, however, is an even better blessing.
Regarding your T-shirt question. The Church already has T-shirts and vests printed for service projects under the name “Mormon Helping Hands.” You can order these from the Church’s website here. Here is a recent video released by the Church that I personal enjoy:
Thank you Jadie again for your question. Perhaps soon enough we will see you and your Ward out helping others in your “yellow shirts” and sharing the love of the Savior through your examples of service.