5 Tips for Giving a Great Homecoming Talk

 It’s one of the first things every missionary goes through after returning from their honorable service to the Lord. You’ve barely gotten off the plane and hugged your family members for the first time in years when you receive a call from the bishop asking you to speak on Sunday about your missionary experience. Which at this point probably doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as it would have been before your mission. After all, you’ve been teaching people about the gospel of Jesus Christ every day for the last two years (or eighteen months)! Depending on where you served, it’s quite likely that you were also called on to give several last minute sacrament meeting talks as well.

But how do you sum up the incredible lessons you learned from your missionary service? What can you do to share experiences that will be inspiring and spiritually uplifting to your ward members? Here are a few tips for giving a powerful homecoming talk.

  1. Don’t forget your topic. It can be tempting to turn your homecoming talk into a travelogue and just share some of your favorite stories from your mission. However, most bishops give a particular topic they want the recently-returned missionary to address. Make sure that the experiences you share tie in to the gospel topic the bishop has asked you to speak about.

  2. Share your experiences! Everyone is eager to hear your personal experiences from your missionary service. There is nothing wrong with sharing a funny anecdote or two, but remember, the primary purpose of your homecoming talk (or any sacrament meeting talk) is not to entertain, but rather to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ and inspire and uplift those to whom you are speaking. The best type of mission experiences to share are those that are inspiring, spiritual, and relate to your assigned topic.

  3. Don’t neglect the scriptures or quotes from General Authorities. Even though the primary source for your remarks will be your mission experiences, you should still try to include some references from the scriptures or from the General Authorities of the Church. After all, you have been using them to teach throughout your entire mission; there’s no reason to stop now!

  4. Make a basic outline for your talk in advance. Even if you have gotten used to giving sacrament meeting talks on the fly, it is still a good idea to come up with a basic outline for your remarks. Make a list of the main points that you would like to share, as well as mission experiences or scripture references that support those points. This will also help if you find yourself running short on time and need to cut down your remarks. Pray for guidance if you need help deciding what you should share in your talk.

  5. Bear testimony and share how serving a mission has blessed you. This is the most important part of all, especially if you have non-member friends or family in the audience. The experience of serving a mission has undoubtedly changed your life and strengthened your testimony. Share how your missionary service has helped you grow as an individual and strengthened your testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Sincerely bearing your testimony can invite the Spirit into your remarks more powerfully than anything else you do.