Brigham Young Unviersity President Kevin J Worthen opened the 2018 BYU Women’s Conference by sharing his thoughts about ministering by following the Spirit.
Worthen noted a pattern he has seen over the last fifteen years of Church teaching practice becoming more focused on revelation.
“The Lord has efficiently and effectively – though not always obviously – been preparing us, as a people, to be able to strengthen one another in the Lord in the new and holier way of ministering that was outlined in general conference,” said Worthen.
- Preach My Gospel in 2005 trained missionaries to teach by relying on the Spirit instead of scripted lessons
- Come, Follow Me youth curriculum in 2013 shifted lessons from a script to rely on revelation from the Spirit for the youth in that class.
- Come, Follow Me adult curriculum announced in 2017 allowed for Priesthood Quorums and Relief Society lessons to be flexible and individualized according to the Spirit.
The latest change being ministering instead of traditional home and visiting teaching. Ministering eliminates the scripted Ensign message and allows for more Spirit-directed service.
“In retrospect, I see a common thread throughout all these changes: a shift (now seismic) from a pre-scripted formulaic teaching method to a spirited-directed, flexible, individualized effort to bring people unto Christ,” said Worthen. “By learning to teach in the Savior’s way, we are now better prepared to minister in the Savior’s way.”
Worthen shared five things that could enhance our ability to strengthen one another in the Lord through inspirited ministering.
1. Don’t lose sight of the big picture.
Don’t get caught up in what counts as a ministering visit. The big picture is exaltation, which is possible through making and keeping covenants with God, such as in the temple.
“We will be more constant, more efficient, and more effective in our efforts if we understand the full purpose, the ultimate aim, of our ministering efforts,” said Worthen.
2. Develop charity and the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
He said these traits are critical to successful ministering. Earnest and constant prayer help us develop these qualities.
“The Holy Ghost can sanctify us, which enables us more fully to feel God’s love for His children,” said Worthen. “And, the expression of love for others facilitates receipt of the Holy Ghost.”
3. Recognize the ways and contexts ministering can happen.
Ministering will look different for different people. We don’t need an assignment in order to minister to someone. He shared personal examples of a friend visiting his aging mother for years, and of how a gentleman helped his wife with their young kids during church.
“Most, if not all, effective ministering is done one-by-one,” said Worthen.
4. Uniting with others will make our efforts more productive.
He noted how the consolidation of Melchizedek Priesthood quorums, urging coordination between the Relief Society and the Elders Quorum, and involving young men and young women show ways to work together to minister better.
“We will also need to think about how other efforts, in areas such as missionary work and family history and temple work, can be used as tools in the ministering effort,” said Worthen.
5. True ministering occurs only when we invite and encourage others to come unto Christ.
Ministering doesn’t end by meeting temporal needs. People need to be brought to Christ through making and keeping covenants.
“We may temporarily meet the immediate needs of those around us, but only [Christ] can provide the living water and the living bread that will allow them to be continually nourished in such a way that they realize their full potential as ‘beloved spirit son[s] and daughter[s] of heavenly parents’ with ‘a divine nature and destiny,’” said Worthen.