from Mormon Newsroom—
President Russell M. Nelson announced Sunday afternoon that the Church’s home and visiting teaching programs will be replaced by a coordinated, more personalized approach known as “ministering.”
Commentary & Opinion
Here at Mormon World, we wonder, ponder, hope, and dream these things
The city of Enoch
Did they have assignments such as Home and Visiting Teaching, or even the new ‘ministering’ in the city of Enoch? A city so righteous that it couldn’t remain on Earth probably didn’t have to give assignments in an attempt to ensure that everyone feels cared for and loved.
Perhaps, if we undertake this new way of ministering with dedication, the Church as a whole could someday be righteous enough that all Heavenly Father would have to say is, “make sure everyone is ministered to, one by one, with great love.” And somehow, someway, we would all be spiritually sensitive enough to make that happen without assignments. The only way to get there is to embrace this next step of ministering wholeheartedly.
Then again, maybe the city of Enoch did and still does have ministering assignments. We’re guessing they were (and are) excellent at it.
Who would get left out if there were no assignments?
What would happen if the Bishop of your ward actually did announce that there are no ministering assignments. What if he said that every member is equally responsible for ensuring that every single person in the ward is ministered to, with no one left out? If someone just came to your mind that you think would be overlooked or left out under such a plan, go minister to them. You don’t need an assignment. If you think they’d be forgotten under the “no assignments” plan, they’re probably being overlooked already.
When they ask if there’s something you need, you say “yes”
There is now so much freedom in what ministering is. So, when the people assigned to minister to you inquire about how they can best serve you, tell them. Maybe you want the traditional chat, lesson, and prayer because you always found that tremendously uplifting. There were miracles under the home and visiting teaching programs.
Of course, there are times in our busy lives when what someone really needs is less talk and more action. We here at Mormon World hope that the busy mom who would like nothing more in the world than a clean bathroom will say so. Maybe there’s a shy person who secretly longs for a few ‘likes’ and comments when they post something on social media instead of crickets. For someone, that’s the ministering they need right now. There are many small acts of kindness that it’s OK to ask for. Sometimes people say no, but often they’re glad to do it.
Where there is quarterly interviewing, there is a risk of gossiping instead of giving an account of the ministering. There is a difference between gossiping and talking about your ministering, although it’s sometimes hard to define outright. Pray to know the difference when you have your quarterly reports, whether you’re in leadership or an everyday member.
If someone you’re ministering to asks you to keep something confidential, then don’t include that tidbit in your report to your leader, except for very rare exceptions when serious harm will likely occur if you don’t break confidence.
The Lord doesn’t think like we do
We all need to remember that the Lord doesn’t think as we do.
If a business or bureaucracy of some kind announced an amazing new way of doing something, dumping the old vernacular and introducing new lingo and fresh catch-phrases, it’s as likely as not they’d just be putting lipstick on a pig. All their fancy talk would just be propaganda, smoke and mirrors. That kind of thing happens all the time in the world we live in.
The Lord doesn’t do that. When He says that home and visiting teaching are done, and we are now going to be ministering to each other, we can expect Him to pour His Spirit out upon this new endeavor.