During the last general conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced that ministering would take the place of visiting and home teaching. Ministering refers to attending to the needs of others.
“We have made the decision to retire home teaching and visiting teaching as we have known them,” President Nelson said in the April 2018 general conference. “Instead we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as ministering.”
Here are just some ways you can be a minister to those assigned to you, along with others:
1. Go visit the person in the home. He or she will be happy to know that someone genuinely wants to see him or her and cares about that person’s well-being.
2. Have scripture study together. One of the best ways to minister is to bring in the Spirit and learn about the gospel together.
3. Check on the person as you would a friend. You don’t have to be in their business constantly or know how to help in every situation. Being willing to text or call someone, or to listen when they have problems is enough to make them feel cared for.
4. Bring them treats. People do say the fastest way to someone’s heart is through the stomach.
5. Hang out with them. Go out to eat, go to a movie or go bowling. Any wholesome social activity can make for good memories and new friends.
“Ministering makes me want to be more unified with those around me,” said Amber Hartshorn, a sophomore studying art. “It gives me a chance to be a missionary to everyone around me.”
During general conference, Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, summarized the majority of what ministering looks like. “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.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve said the Savior did not leave so many steps or reports to be filled out to his apostles.
“He summarized their task in one fundamental commandment: Love one another; as I have loved you,” Elder Holland said. “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Whitney Workman, a sophomore studying psychology, said she feels that ministering mainly puts visiting and home teaching into another perspective.
“Ministering is doing what we were supposed to with visiting and home teaching from the get-go,” Workman said. “It helps me have a greater desire to bless people’s lives without it being a job or calling. I can do it because I love them.”