From Come Follow Me:
To help members better understand the value of focusing on the needs of others as we minister, you could compare ministering to giving and receiving gifts. Have we ever received a meaningful gift from someone who clearly knew what we needed or wanted? How is ministering similar to giving a thoughtful gift? Consider discussing stories from the most recent general conference that demonstrate how people ministered according to the needs of others (see, for example, Jean B. Bingham, “Ministering as the Savior Does,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018). Members could also share other stories that demonstrate this principle.
How can we learn what others’ needs are? Invite each member to make a list of some of the people to whom they minister. Next to each name they could write an answer to the question “What does this person need to come closer to Christ?” As applicable, encourage members to include ordinances each person may need to receive. Invite members to continue to think about this question and seek inspiration to help them meet the needs of others.
How is ministering similar to giving a thoughtful gift?
- you think about the individual
- you think about their needs
- it takes time and effort
- it is done with love
- it is personal
The Bible often uses the Greek word di·aʹko·nos for “minister.” The Encyclopedia of Religion explains that this word represents “not status but the serving relationship of the minister to the one served: following the example of Christ . . . is at the heart of the Christian understanding of ministry.”
In harmony with this definition of ministering, the Saviour spent his ministry giving of himself according to the needs of others.
Matthew 20: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
‘In our discipleship, we have many demands, concerns, and assignments. However, some activities must always be at the heart of our Church membership. “Wherefore,” the Lord commands, “be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” Doctrine and Covenants 81:5 emphasis added.]
This is the Church in action! This is pure religion! This is the gospel in its true sense as we succor, lift, and strengthen those in spiritual and temporal need! Doing so requires us to visit them and to assist them, [See James 1:27] that their testimonies of faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement will be anchored in their hearts.’ (Russell M Ballard, General Conference, April 2018)
How can we learn what others’ needs are?
36 ¶ But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
‘In the New Testament we read often that Christ was “moved with compassion” Matthew 9:36 14:14 upon the people as He responded to their needs. He had compassion when He saw that they were hungry and He fed them, or when they were sick and He healed them, or when they were in need of spiritual enrichment and He taught them.
Compassion means to feel love and mercy toward another person. It means to have sympathy and desire to relieve the suffering of others. It means to show kindness and tenderness toward another.
The Savior has asked us to do the things which He has done, [See John 13:15] to bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who need comfort, to mourn with those who mourn, [See Mosiah 18:8–9] to feed the hungry, visit the sick, [See Mosiah 4:26] to succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, [See Doctrine and Covenants 81:5]and to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.’ (Barbara Thompson, General Conference, October 2010)
Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
- Good communication is at the heart of happy relationships of all kinds. It’s about understanding others’ needs and having our needs heard.
- Shift your focus away from yourself.
- Be friendly and make connections.
- Know people individually.
- Know their situations.
- Check in in people.
- Ask people questions.
- Pay attention.
- Learn to see another person’s point of view.
- Observe body language.
- Being able to learn what people think and need will depend on trust.
What are the distractions that prevent you from focusing on the needs of others?
What can you do to shift your focus onto the needs of others?