Without a doubt, there is new energy under our wings following the historic general conferences of this past year. Many energized leaders are looking for inspired and creative ideas to cultivate opportunities for ministering. One unlikely area to consider exploring is in our preparation for sacrament meeting and involving the youth in unique and meaningful ways.
Ministering to the One
What if every single sister, or one whose husband is unable to sit with her during the sacrament, had another set of hands and hearts to help with her little flock? What if the lonely widow/widower or single had a friend that sat with him or her in sacrament? What if our sacrament hymns took on new and deeper meaning? What if testimony meetings began opening our hearts more fully to revelation?
Bishops, would you like the “secret answers” to the questions below?
If you answered an enthusiastic “YES” to any of these four questions, then here are a few ideas to consider in guiding our ministering efforts with the youth.
Help for Moms and Singles During Sacrament Meeting
No one likes to feel that they are a “project”, so it’s important to have elders quorum and relief society presidents link arms with the young women and young men leaders as they consider the needs of those moms/singles.
Case in point, about a year ago I broke my knee and had to rely on lots of folks to help with things I couldn’t do. It’s frustrating and humbling to be in a situation where you need extra help from others. I received much ministering at that time; however, the most profound experience I had was during an endowment session when I still had my knee brace on.
As I was attempting to put my slipper back on, a sister I had never met before ministered to me in a simple yet profound way….she knelt in front of me and helped me put on my slippers. Sounds simple? Yet I felt as if the Savior had knelt and put on my slippers. That’s ministering. As I’ve pondered on that profound experience I discovered it boiled down to three things:
- The sister saw a need;
- She recognized a prompting that her help would not offend the recipient;
- She took action.
Through inspiration, a young woman or young man could be paired with another sister or brother to minister each month to that frazzled mom or lonely single. As relationships develop, it would be natural to have them offer to sit with that person during upcoming sacrament meetings. Through a natural, inspired process, that mom or single won’t feel like a project, he or she will feel tender ministering.
Have Our Sacrament Hymns Take on New and Deeper Meaning
This would have an impact on both the redeeming effects of the sacrament and the reverence in our meetings. I know, crazy talk, right? Consider this, for a Sunday lesson or weekday activity, invite the young women and young men to take a closer look at the sacrament hymns, read the reference scriptures at the bottom and discuss what words touch their hearts. Then encourage them to write a short summary of insights they gleaned from each sacrament hymn.
Each week add one summary to the ward bulletin to consider with the sacrament hymn that day. If you want to be sure everyone has a chance to see that summary, you could have it as an insert to the bulletin or even have the youth slip that summary on the correct page in the hymn book. (If you’re looking for meaningful ways to involve the youth in the sacrament meeting, this could keep several engaged and contributing.)
Testimony Meetings That Open Our Hearts More Fully to Revelation
Thanks to the inspiration of the “Come Follow Me” curriculum, the youth are given many opportunities to ponder and act on things they learn each week. Perhaps your Sunday School teachers could challenge their class to keep a journal of the “light bulb” moments they have from class and invite them to share one each month during testimony meeting.
As easy as that, the “thank-a-mony-”, “travel-a-mony” and “ramble-a-mony” are no longer an issue in your meeting. Imagine the number of hearts that would be ministered to in this type of sacrament meeting.
Imagine the impact on our youth! As we are challenging them to help with a few of these ideas where seeking inspiration is paramount in their efforts, their depth of understating ministering grows exponentially.
Extraordinary ministering doesn’t have to take weeks of preparation; it just takes consistent efforts in seeking inspiration, collaboration, and action.
Beth is the written content manager at Leading Saints. She is a convert of 41 years; served a mission in North Carolina; has been married for 31 years to her sweetheart, Bob Young; has 5 children and one grandchild. She raised her family in Texas for 25 years where she served in various capacities in her community. This service included 18 years in Texas PTA; assisting several non-profits and developing relationships for the Church with local City management organizations. She has served in a variety of ward, stake and regional leadership positions including Young Women, Relief Society, and Public Affairs. She loves writing and inspiring others to make changes to their physical, mental and spiritual health.