A few short weeks ago, the leadership of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a change in the way we minister to one another. They completely did away with the “program” or what we used to call Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching. Home and Visiting Teaching essentially administered our ministering efforts and I personally feel free from what I felt were unnecessary burdens of the old program.
What completely baffles me is how many of my peers in the Church seem to think that we can’t possibly minister to each other without burdensome “ad-ministering” of our efforts. It’s gotten bad enough that I feel that the title “Ministering” is simply the name of a new stick I’m to get beaten with every Sunday.
During the announcement of the change at the last General Conference, Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President made the following statement:
Ministering looks like elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies prayerfully counseling about assignments. Rather than leaders just handing out slips of paper, it looks like counseling about the individuals and families in person as assignments are given to ministering brothers and sisters. It looks like going for a walk, getting together for a game night, offering service, or even serving together. It looks like visiting in person or talking on the phone or chatting online or texting. It looks like delivering a birthday card and cheering at a soccer game. It looks like sharing a scripture or quote from a conference talk that would be meaningful to that individual. It looks like discussing a gospel question and sharing testimony to bring clarity and peace. It looks like becoming part of someone’s life and caring about him or her. It also looks like a ministering interview in which needs and strengths are discussed sensitively and appropriately. It looks like the ward council organizing to respond to a larger need.
Ministering is caring about one another; it’s not a program. We need to stop comparing it to what we “used” to do. We need to care about something other than administration, stop focusing on ourselves, and start moving forward vice looking back.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated that:
…we have a heaven-sent opportunity as an entire Church to demonstrate “pure religion … undefiled before God”—“to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” and to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort,” to minister to the widows and the fatherless, the married and the single, the strong and the distraught, the downtrodden and the robust, the happy and the sad…
We can’t effectively do this as a unified team as long as we’re bickering about what “Ministering” actually means. My recommendation: let’s stop talking about it and just start doing it.