Part 4: Ministering to Others Is Commandment and Covenant

Contributed By Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president

  • 23 June 2016

"Ministering to those around us is a part of what we each have covenanted to do." In a scene from the LDS Bible Videos, Mary walks through the streets with her cousin Elisabeth and another woman.

Article Highlights

  • Ministering as the Savior did includes offering others healing, comfort, encouragement, and love.
  • Young Women class presidencies are called to watch over and care for others in their class.
  • Everyone who has been baptized has covenanted to minister to those that stand in need of comfort.

“Our young women can touch hearts and reclaim souls in ways that adult leaders cannot. Youth may need counsel and gentle reminders, but with support and guidance, young women do amazing things.” —Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President

This article is the fourth in a series on Young Women class presidencies.

Not long after I received my current calling, I was sitting in a meeting with several General Authorities discussing the topic of sacrament meeting. One of the priesthood leaders turned to me and said something like this: “The young men of our Church have the opportunity to prepare and pass the sacrament each week. What significant opportunities for service do our young women of the Church have?”

Minister as the Savior did

The question took me by surprise, and I didn’t have an immediate answer. But I have since given it serious thought and prayer, and I think I know the answer. All of our young women—but especially members of our class presidencies—have the opportunity to offer Christlike love and service by the way they minister to one another.

In this series about elevating the roles of our Young Women class presidencies, we have written about the importance of spiritual preparation and counseling together. Ministering—the third principle of leadership—is perhaps one of the most important.

We use the word minister often, but do we understand what it means, and more important, do we help the members of our class presidencies understand that ministering is one of the most important responsibilities in their callings?

The Savior Jesus Christ set the ultimate example of ministering. He sought out individuals, one by one, and offered them healing, comfort, encouragement, and—most of all—love. Charity is the hallmark of the Savior’s life, and Christlike love defines what ministering is all about. Jesus Christ is the Master at conveying to others that they are important, that they are precious in the sight of their Heavenly Father, and that they have infinite worth. He teaches that we are to leave the ninety and nine in order to find the one lost sheep (see Luke 15:3–7).

What our class presidencies can do

The members of our Young Women class presidencies have the opportunity to reach out just as the Savior did by strengthening young women in their classes who are struggling and in need of encouragement. The Savior taught, “Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).

When class presidencies are set apart by one holding priesthood keys, inherent in young women’s calls is the charge to watch over and care for others in their class. As leaders and parents, we need to make sure we impress upon them the importance of that responsibility and teach them what it means to minister. Handbook 2 offers the following ideas young women presidencies can use to minister to members of their classes:
• Remember their names and become acquainted with them.
• Love them without judging them.
• Watch over them and strengthen their faith one by one as the Savior did.
• Establish sincere friendship with them and visit them in their homes and elsewhere.
(See Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 3.2.3.)

As young women in class presidencies seek for the Spirit and counsel together about who needs their attention and what needs to be done, the Lord will give them inspired answers. They will think of ways they can reach out and minister to the young women who need their love. As they then act upon those spiritual impressions, miracles will occur in the lives of those to whom they minister, as well as in their own lives. President Henry B. Eyring said: “[The Savior] called us to serve others so that we could strengthen our own faith as well as theirs. He knows that by serving Him we will come to know Him” (“Watch Over and Strengthen,” Ensign, May 2000, 66). What a great principle to teach our young women: as we serve others as the Savior did, we ourselves are blessed in wonderful ways.

Young Women leaders often ask how to reach those who are less active. I always tell them that they have a powerful and wonderfully effective resource for accomplishing that goal. I encourage them to use their class presidencies to help bring back the lost sheep. I suggest they encourage these young women to reach out to their peers and offer a hand of love and fellowship. Our young women can touch hearts and reclaim souls in ways that adult leaders cannot. Youth may need counsel and gentle reminders, but with support and guidance, young women do amazing things.

A responsibility for all

Ministering to others is not just a responsibility that comes with a specific leadership calling. Each person baptized into the Church has committed “to come into the fold of God, … to be called his people, and [is] willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; yea, and [is] willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8–9). Ministering to those around us is a part of what we each have covenanted to do; leadership callings just give a special focus and direction to our care and concern.

Our Young Women class presidencies are amazingly effective leaders. As they understand and act upon the principle of ministering as the Savior did, lives will be eternally changed—both the lives of those to whom they minister and their own.

Leadership lessons for class presidencies, titled “Leading in the Savior’s Way,” can be found on the Young Women website under Leading in the Savior's Way.

Other articles in the series

Part 1: “Called to Lead”: The Influence of Young Women Class Presidencies

Part 2: Spiritual Preparation Foundational for Young Women Youth Leaders

Part 3: “Come Now, and Let Us Reason Together”