“Where Did My Home and Visiting Teachers Go?” Ensign, December 2018
One of my friends recently asked me in bewilderment, “Where did my visiting teachers go?” From the time her husband passed away, they had been so caring and attentive, but since the announcement of the new ministering program at general conference in April 2018, she hasn’t seen hide nor hair of them.
We are all adjusting to a new way of doing things, and some ministering brothers and sisters may not have understood that although a home visit isn’t the only way to minister, it is certainly a wonderful way to show love and genuine interest—and many members still need it.
For some, the problem may be misunderstanding the purpose of the change. The purpose behind replacing home and visiting teaching with ministering wasn’t simply to change how we take care of each other but to help us be more guided by why.
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.
So whether or not someone needs a visit today should be based in large part on what will help them move forward on Heavenly Father’s path for them.
Despite the initial uncertainty about what is expected of us as we minister, our sisters and brothers are reaching out to one another. Wherever I’ve traveled, it has been exciting to hear from countless women (and many men) sharing their stories of the positive impact their ministering—or being ministered to—is having on relationships and personal growth.
I recently came back from North Carolina, USA, where a ward Relief Society president shared some ideas she had received from stake leaders. With a few clarifications, I thought they were spot on and worth sharing.
We are all learning together as we embrace “a newer, holier approach” to ministering.1 Perhaps some of us feel overwhelmed or intimidated. It helps to remember that “newer and holier” does not mean “flawless and unachievable.”
Whether you are still uncertain about the purposes of ministering and how it works or you think you have it down, I invite you to watch and read the resources at ministering.lds.org and study the Ministering Principles articles published each month in the Ensign (see page 8 in this issue). These materials will help align your ministering efforts with the Savior’s work.
Thank you, wonderful sisters and brothers, for loving and caring and reaching out and giving of yourselves. You are truly remarkable, and your ministering will be “something extraordinary”!2