“The ultimate goal of our ministering is to help others become more deeply converted to the Savior Jesus Christ and grow toward their divine potential. The program’s added flexibility isn’t meant to encourage relaxing our efforts; it’s meant to provide greater opportunity for the Spirit to guide our efforts.” 1
In the First Presidency Letter of April 2, 2018, titled “Ministering with Strengthened Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums and Relief Societies,” the wonderful adjustments that lead us to ministering in the Savior’s way were introduced to the general membership of The Church Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ministering has been described by President Russell M. Nelson as a “newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others.” 2 The adjustments in ministering by Melchizedek Priesthood quorums, Relief Societies, and including the youth, were to elevate our efforts to “watch over their people, and … nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness” (Mosiah 23:18).
Now is an opportune time for each of us to consider where we are in our progress. Are we near to becoming the ministering brothers and sisters that will ably represent our Lord Jesus Christ in all that we do in His name? Let us consider the following areas in our self-evaluation:
Ministering as one coordinated effort between elders quorums and Relief Societies
Ministering with the youth
“An enhanced ability to minister to others is one of the intended and natural outgrowths of the increased strength of restructured priesthood quorums and the resulting unity with Relief Society. Ministering becomes one coordinated effort to fulfill the priesthood duty to ‘visit the house of each member’ and to ‘watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them’ and the Relief Society purpose to ‘increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement; strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and work in unity to help those in need.’” 3
Questions to evaluate:
Have I received an assignment of a companion?
Have we received an assignment of individuals and/or families to minister?
Are elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies meeting quarterly to discuss needs of individuals and families learned through ministering interviews?
Following that meeting, are elders quorum and Relief Society presidents meeting quarterly with their bishop to address the needs of individuals and families?
From the previous section on the coordinated work of elders quorum and Relief Societies, one may understand the importance that ministering interviews have in driving the Christlike care of the spiritual and temporal needs of the ward members. At least quarterly, the ministering brothers and sisters have the opportunity to counsel with their respective leaders about the circumstances of those they serve and about their ongoing ministering efforts. 4
“Between interviews, ministering brothers and sisters communicate other information as needed—in person or through phone calls, texts, emails, or otherwise. They share confidential information only with the elders quorum or Relief Society president—or directly with the bishop.”5
Are ministering interviews done at least once quarterly?
In delivering our report, do our respective elders quorum and Relief Society leaders provide us with counsel on our ministering efforts to our assigned families and individuals?
Do the elders quorum and Relief Society presidents feel more busily engaged now in the Lord’s work of salvation than before ministering?
Ministering is a wonderful opportunity for the youth in the Church to grow in their capacity to fulfill their duties and responsibilities, as they are able to minister to those that have been assigned to their companionships. Laurels and Mia Maids may be assigned as companions to Relief Society sisters. As this happens and they minister together, they will come to know each other. Instead of a transition to Relief Society from Young Women when they are 18 years of age, it will be a natural progression as they fully join that great sisterhood. The young Aaronic Priesthood holders will do likewise as they join a now stronger elders quorum.
1.Have the Laurels and Mia Maids been considered to be assigned as companions to Relief Society sisters?
2.Have priests and teachers been assigned as companions to Melchizedek Priesthood holders?
3.Have the youth participated in the ministering interviews?
We will be blessed in our personal growth and development as disciples of Jesus Christ as we continue to learn and better put into practice the revealed ministering principles. We will be able to better collectively serve and care for each other as members of the ward, a ward that will continue to grow as a large, loving family. The gathering of Israel and the preparations for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will be according to the scriptures and modern revelation through a living prophet. What a glorious time to live and to serve this is!