“Friendshipping Tips,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 70–71
Visiting a less-active member can at times be intimidating. When I received a new visiting teaching route that included a less-active sister, I put the assignment on my refrigerator door, where it stayed for a month while I mustered up the courage to call her. When I finally did call, I got a chilly reception.
While I was struggling with this assignment, I happened across a scripture that changed my attitude: “Lovest thou me? … Feed my sheep” (John 21:16). I realized that as a disciple of Christ, I needed to reach out to His sheep that have strayed. Instead of thinking of this woman as hostile, I began to think of her as my sister—a child of God—who needed to be loved back into the fold.
As I visited with this sister, and later with other less-active members, I discovered a number of things that have improved our friendships.
• Be a true friend. At first less-active members may act cold toward home or visiting teachers, but don’t give up. As you continue to come by with a smile and show interest in them as you try to share a message, they will realize that you are sincere in your offer of friendship.
• Keep them informed. Call less-active members and keep them informed of upcoming ward events. While some may not be ready to attend church, they may be willing to join other ward or branch activities.
• Offer rides. Invite them to ride with you to ward or stake meetings and events. Arrange for Primary, Scout, or Mutual teachers and advisers to offer rides to family members who may not otherwise be able to attend auxiliary functions. Once they attend, they will likely make friends with other ward members.
• Bake a treat. Once, when a sister would not return my calls, I left cookies on her doorstep along with an inspirational message. She called the next day to thank me.
• When appropriate, share a gospel message. Some sisters really do long for a spiritual uplift despite their unenthusiastic response. Share a short spiritual message or leave one in a note. Include your testimony of the love Heavenly Father has for her, and include your own feelings of love for her family.
• Seek common interests. Invite a sister to go with you to take a class, shop, or attend a sporting or cultural event.
• Remember special days. A birthday card or telephone call shows you care, and bringing special treats on holidays can brighten any family’s day.
• Pray for them. As you remember your less-active sisters in your daily prayers, you’ll find you have increased awareness of their needs and new ideas of things you might do that may further soften their hearts.—Kersten Campbell, College Station Second Ward, College Station Texas Stake