Picture this: You walk into your apartment and there is a plate of cookies on the table. You don’t know where they came from. Who do you think brought them? 80% of the time it was probably your ministering brother or sister.
While cookies are great and most people love them (me included), their purpose in ministering is to be an ice breaker. So many people drop off cookies without even asking what their person’s name is or where they are from. Maybe they’re gluten-free! The point is that we need to stop using cookies as a way to make ministering a checklist item. As Sister Bonnie H. Cordon said,
We are quick to meet a need with a helping hand or a plate of cookies. But is there more?
Here are 7 ways to minister that don’t include baking cookies.
1. Offer to be of service.
Pick them up from the airport or give them a ride to a job interview. Help them move or even offer to do a service project with them. Remember that King Benjamin said, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
2. Don’t have a car? That’s okay!
It only takes 10 minutes of your day to walk with someone to a class. There is a lot you can learn about them in 10 minutes that you probably didn’t know. Enjoy the fresh air and the fresh company.
Everyone has something to say. The best and most effective way to minister is to be an effective listener. College is stressful, and the best way to minister is to open your ears and your heart to another person.
4. Plan to do something that they love.
Invite them to go bowling, hiking, eating, you name it. By doing this you will show them that you care. You can even ask them to invite some friends and you can invite friends. Remember that you can minister to anyone, not just the person you are assigned to.
5. Ask for a blessing.
This one goes for everyone who has a ministering brother who holds the priesthood (which should be pretty much everyone). People often struggle in silence but you don’t need to! If you need a blessing, ask for one. Likewise, if you notice that the person you are ministering to is struggling, offer them a blessing from a worthy priesthood holder. We often forget that we have the ability to receive guidance directly from God through his worthy sons.
6. Invite them to a ward activity; Come, Follow Me group study; or family home evening activity.
In our busyness, it can be hard to remember that you are wanted at church. Always make sure that you make the person you minister to feel welcomed and needed in the ward. Even the strongest members can feel this doubt sometimes.
7. Listen to the spirit, and actually follow through with promptings.
While this list is full of ideas, the Spirit is the only one that can guide you to serve the one. Think of them as individuals and pray about their needs. Ponder how you can help. Even if it’s just to send them a text to have a good day, that’s ministering. They may need it more than you think they do.
Which of these ideas will you implement into your ministering this year?