What Is Ministering?
Ministering is learning of and attending to others’ needs. It is doing the Lord’s work. When we minister, we are representing Jesus Christ and acting as His agents to watch over, lift, and strengthen those around us.
As members, we may determine through communication and inspiration the frequency and type of contact we will have with those to whom we minister. This customized contact will help us minister effectively and counsel quarterly with leaders regarding the needs of the individuals and families in our care.
What Can I Do?
The ways in which we can love and minister to one another are limitless. Every child of God is unique; therefore, effective ministering must be highly individualized and led by the Spirit. What works for one may not work for another. Leaders have encouraged Church members to begin ministering with prayer, keep it simple, and learn what works best for those they are called to serve. Ministering today no longer requires a formal visit. Interaction can take place at home, at church, or in any setting that is safe and convenient.
Sister Jean B. Bingham said, “Sometimes we think we have to do something grand and heroic to ‘count’ as serving our neighbors. Yet simple acts of service can have profound effects on others—as well as on ourselves.”1
In our ministering efforts, we can take advantage of the many tools at our disposal. As Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, “We have many means of contacting people to look after their welfare and help them on this path of returning to their Father in Heaven. … What works? What’s needed?”2
As we commit to being flexible and then prayerfully consider how to best love and serve others, we will be blessed with the inspiration and knowledge we need to minister as the Savior did.
What Should I Know?
Each household in the ward or branch will have ministering brothers—priesthood brethren—to minister to and care for the individual or family. Every adult sister will have ministering sisters—members of the Relief Society and possibly the Young Women as well—to minister to and care for her.
Ministering assignments will be provided by leaders, who will meet with ministering brothers and sisters—preferably as companionships—to counsel about the strengths, needs, and challenges of those to whom they minister.
How Do I Start?
- Make contact with those to whom you have been assigned to minister. This can be done in a variety of ways. Reach out to them in person; by phone, text message, or social media; or even with a letter.
- Get to know them. Learn about their lives, relationships, and circumstances. By doing so, you’ll be able to anticipate their needs and either meet those needs yourself or call on your ward leadership to access additional resources.
- Become a friend by letting them know that you care. Make the effort to be the kind of friend that they need.
- Pray for them and for guidance. Nobody knows the needs of those you are assigned to minister to better than Heavenly Father. Seek His help and pray for inspiration to serve them in the best way—His way. Finding inspired answers to questions you have and using all available methods for making contact are key to inspired ministering.
- Minister to them in ways that are individualized and customized to fit their needs.
- Maintain the relationship. Life can change quickly for people. Regularly touch base with those to whom you minister, and you’ll be better prepared to help and serve them when needs arise.