In the most recent General Conference, major changes were made to how members of the church serve one another.
The new initiative is called ministering and is “a newer, holier approach to caring and ministering to others.”
I was excited and inspired. Then, in all honesty, I was skeptical. Really, skeptical.
On the whole, my home teachers and visiting teachers didn’t come visit me when they had a message handed to them on a platter and someone asking about it every month.
Why should I believe they will suddenly start caring about me?
I know, I know. Harsh.
I think there are many people who have not had the most positive experiences in the past with service in the church and may have felt alone or left behind. In seeking to soften my heart and truly find hope in ministering, I spent a lot of time thinking how I could personally embrace the call we’ve received from the prophet and the Lord.
Start Slow & Remove the Pressure
Home and visiting teaching was often uncomfortable because there were so many expectations attached to a very narrow sort of relationship. Ministering completely flips this around. There is a lot of room to build a natural friendship with those you visit.
It is important to start slow and figure out what works best for you and those you minister too. There are not any set rules or expectations you need to meet. Removing this pressure also removes the anxiety that can hold you back from acting. Interactions are never productive when they are forced.
Seek God’s Advice
If we try to minister without God’s direct involvement, we will not succeed. We can seek God’s advice on how to serve and love through prayer, fasting, and actively following promptings. This isn’t always easy. It takes consistent effort and work. God can help with this too if we will let him. Our loving Heavenly Father knows our needs and the needs of others. He can direct us in surprising ways to serve exactly as he would serve.
Care for More Than Your Own Comfort
The process of ministering to others isn’t always going to be comfortable. We may have to experience a few awkward interactions and make room in our busy schedules. We may have to wrestle with God for answers and revelation. All of these things can be tackled if we truly open our hearts and care. Care enough. Care more than enough.
Think of Jesus Christ. Doing the right thing and embracing God’s will to minister led him down uncomfortable, lonely, and even painful paths. This isn’t to say our experience will be painful or has to be. However, we should be willing to walk where Christ walk as we minister as he ministered.
Heavenly Father is completely committed to his work and glory: us. He is absolutely serious about saving us. He has done so much to show just how serious he is about our exaltation in sacrificing his perfect son, Jesus Christ. Do we take the call to minister seriously? Do we recognize we have covenanted to serve as Christ served and follow the prophet’s counsel?
Take your call to minister seriously. Do not put it on the backburner in your mind. Commit to God, as he has committed to you.
What struggles did you face in home and visiting teaching? How can we more fully embrace the call to minister to resolve this struggles?