- We will no longer use home teaching and visiting teaching language. That is partly because much of our ministering effort will be in settings other than the home and partly because our contact won’t be defined by teaching a prepared lesson, though a lesson certainly may be shared if there is need for such. The primary purpose in this ministering idea will be, as was said of the people in Alma’s day, to “watch over their people, and … nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.”
- We will continue to visit homes as possible, but local circumstances such as large numbers, long distances, personal safety, and other challenging conditions may preclude a visit to every home every month. As the First Presidency counseled years ago, do the best you can.
He shares that there are many ways to fulfill our ministering assignments. There are many different ways to share the love of the Savior with others.
- In addition to whatever schedule you establish for actual visits, that calendar can be supplemented with telephone calls, written notes, texts, emails, video chats, conversations at Church meetings, shared service projects, social activities, and a host of possibilities in the world of social media. However, I should stress that this expansive new view does not include the sorry statement I recently saw on an automobile bumper sticker. It read, “If I honk, you’ve been home taught.” Please, please, brethren (the sisters would never be guilty of that—I speak to the brethren of the Church), with these adjustments we want more care and concern, not less.
Concerning reporting back to the Elder's Quorum each month, Elder Holland explains what is needed from each companionship.
- The only report that will be made is the number of interviews leaders had with the ministering companionships in the ward that quarter. Simple as that sounds, my friends, those interviews are absolutely crucial. Without that information the bishop will have no way to receive the information he needs regarding the spiritual and temporal conditions of his people.
Elder Holland reminds us that the ministering brother represents the Bishop and Elder's Quorum Presidency but that the Bishop and Elder's Quorum Presidency has more stewardship in addition to making sure this is taking place.
- Ministering brethren represent the bishopric and elders quorum presidency; they don’t replace them. The keys of a bishop and a quorum president go far beyond this ministering concept.
Elder Holland summarizes the need for ministering from a scriptural concept. Ministering is a demonstration of the love God has for each of his children.
- Brothers and sisters, we have a heaven-sent opportunity as an entire Church to demonstrate “pure religion … undefiled before God”—“to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” and to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort,” to minister to the widows and the fatherless, the married and the single, the strong and the distraught, the downtrodden and the robust, the happy and the sad—in short, all of us, every one of us, because we all need to feel the warm hand of friendship and hear the firm declaration of faith.
Elder Holland concludes with encouragement for each of us to help our Heavenly Father care for His children.
- Our prayer today is that every man and woman—and our older young men and young women—will leave this general conference more deeply committed to heartfelt care for one another, motivated only by the pure love of Christ to do so.
- May we labor side by side with the Lord of the vineyard, giving the God and Father of us all a helping hand with His staggering task of answering prayers, providing comfort, drying tears, and strengthening feeble knees. If we will do that, we will be more like the true disciples of Christ we are meant to be.
We each have an obligation to assist God in taking care of His children. People need to know that they are not alone in the journey of life. A little encouragement, push, and support can help someone stay on the path of righteousness or can provide a much needed feeling of the Spirit when hope is lacking in someone's life. We are part of the Lord's support team, sent to do what the Savior would do to strengthen one another. As I have seen good men and women minister to my family, I am blessed to know that servants of our Savior are trying to ease the burdens on our back, trying to strengthen us spiritually, and helping us manage our day to day responsibilities. Recently, my wife went out of town with her mother on a trip and to see people assist and help my family in her absence was a simple way others ministered to us in our time of need. How grateful I am for people that act like the Savior and assist Him in looking after my family and providing support to us in our times of need.