A minister’s job is never done. As disciples of Christ we are called to “feed [his] sheep.” But, how?
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Who Is a Minister?
The race of mankind would perish did they cease to aid each other. We cannot exist without mutual help. All therefore that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow-men; and no one who has the power of granting can refuse it without guilt.Sir Walter Scott
Simply put, a minister is someone who cares.
Who Needs a Minister?
In the weird, chaotic, stressful, and inconvenient times of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone needs a minister. Everyone can use someone who is watching out for them. Sometimes that watchcare looks like alerting your neighbors which store finally has 25 lbs bags of flour back in stock, other times it’s doorbell ditching them a 4-pack of toilet paper to show you care.
In this time of social distancing, our need for ministering – or caring – for one another may look very different than our normal ministering efforts. And that’s ok. Get creative. Have fun with it. Allow your own twist on ministering to inspire you on how to care for others.
Ways to Minister
Below you’ll find ways to minister to those around you. This list is obviously not exhaustive. My hope is that something on this list of ministering ideas can help inspire you in your own ministering efforts. Please comment at the end of this post if you’d like to add more ways to minister.
Take paper goods over before an event/trip
So, maybe no one is taking a trip these days. #ThanksCoronavirus But taking over some cute paper goods can bring some variety to this social distancing monotony. And everyone knows variety is the spice of life.
Send them a relevant article
From mental stimulation to laugh-out-loud drivel, it’s fun sending a little digital message to those you want to minister to. Below you can check out some of my favorite blogs and websites that offer informative and inspirational material that’s perfect for sharing:
- A Jubilant Hope (feel good)
- Choosing Wisdom (feel good)
- LifeTales Books (family history and record-keeping)
- AspireHer (working outside the home)
- Mommy in Flats (lifestyle and fashion)
- Coffee + Crumbs (motherhood)
- The American Moms (civic responsibility)
- Healthy ADHD (health)
You can also click here to check out more of my favorite media to share.
Pick up something that reminds you of them while out and about
Staying home and staying safe most likely means you’re not getting out to fun stores as often. If you happen to need to go to a store, keep your friend in mind and see if anything screams their name. It could be as simple (and affordable) as a Twix bar – the point is to show them someone was thinking of them.
Write down milestones and follow up
Upcoming birthday, baptism, anniversary, or other special event? Take note of it and jot it down in your favorite planner or calendar. My husband I use Google Calendar to sync noteworthy dates of mutual interest. Otherwise, I add a note in my Leafy Treetop Planner.
Ask if they have satisfying support in their life
Sometimes we assume that everyone has a stable, fulfilling support group surrounding them. That’s simply not always the case. It’s not your job to judge their family dynamic, but you can be a minister to them and be the earthly cheerleader/supporter/shoulder to cry on they may be missing.
Click here to read some thoughts I’ve shared for anyone who feels like they’re the “black sheep” of their family.
Connect them with needed resources
Is someone you minister to looking to selling their home? Connect them with your trusted realtor. Want to help your friend access the tools she needs to help her child learn to read better? Do some digging and send the discovered resources her way. Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual and sometimes it’s more of who you know who knows what you don’t know that makes all the difference. (Could I have said that in a more confusing way?)
Grieve and celebrate with them
We are called to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort (Mosiah 18:9). That means meeting them where they are, not forcing them to slap on a happy face and pretend the job loss isn’t scary or the delay in a home construction isn’t disappointing and frustrating, or that a loved one’s loss doesn’t hurt. And as Christ taught in his parable of the lost silver, it’s good for us to gather and rejoice over one another’s accomplishments and blessings.
“Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
“And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.”Luke 15:8-9; emphasis added
Learn about their interest
Ask questions. Be curious. I know, I know, there’s a very thin line between curious and nosey. Use the Holy Ghost to know how far might be too far. But you can never go wrong with some of these questions:
- What did you want to be when you were a kid?
- What are your interests?
- If you had a million dollars (and couldn’t spend it on anything responsible) what would you spend it on?
- Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
There are even more general “get to know you” questions in this post.
Teach them something
I love learning new things! I’m a YouTube tutorial junkie and have a premium membership to Skillshare. You could minister to someone else by sending them a YouTube video on watercolor painting or DIYing some bathroom shelves; a book recommendation on the gut and brain connection or Japanese Internment Camps; or FaceTime/Skype or otherwise connect with them and teach them something in real time.
Click here to check out 2 months of premium Skillshare for free.
Be vulnerable with them
This can be a scary one. Again, you have to use the Holy Ghost to know how far to go here. The idea isn’t to share all the skeletons in your closet, but if you struggled with postpartum depression and the person you’re ministering to is a first-time mom, consider bringing up the subject. If you feel insecure about how you’re doing as a mom, consider sharing that. Feeling connected to someone else increases your oxytocin and creates opportunities for more sharing.
Invite them to an event
Ok, not an in-person event, but an online event. People are getting more and more creative as social distancing time is being lengthened. Check out Facebook, your local library’s website, and your favorite bloggers to learn about virtual get togethers that you might both enjoy. And when social distancing is done, plan to go to an event together IRL (that’s in real life).
Congratulate or at least recognize their efforts
If you caught that the person you want to minister to has been having trouble getting the laundry done/taking “me time”/finishing her bachelor’s/eating better/exercising more/etc… take a moment to just say “great job! I’m proud of you!” Again, don’t assume they are hearing this from others. And even if they are, what’s one more pat on the back going to hurt?
“We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.”Thomas S. Monson (Source)
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Help them help their family
Moms wear so many hats: teacher, doctor, nutritionist, arbiter, laundress, task manager, personal stylist, entertainer and the list goes on. It can be an overwhelming gig, regardless of how one is tackling it. Moms with one kid or ten, Single moms or married moms, everyone can use help sometimes. So, help those mothers you minister to by helping them help their families. Offer to watch the little one so Mom can help big sister with homework. Share your favorite bedtime routine tips that work for your family. And maybe just cheer her on by dropping off her favorite drink or treat so she can refuel and continue momming on.
Why are moms so tired all the time? I’ll tell you why in this post.
Send them snail mail
Sending a physical letter via good ole USPS kinda feels like a lost art only our mothers and grandmothers carry on. However, that’s not how it has to be. Whether you’re next door neighbors or live states away, it could really brighten someone’s day to receive a cute card or letter in the mail amongst all the boring junk mail and the stressful bills.
Go Forth and Minister
You never know what a small act of thoughtfulness can do for a person. It could help cheer up their spirits, help them feel less lonely, or give them that extra push to follow their dreams.
Both women and men can benefit from being ministered to, so you don’t have to limit your ministering efforts to just your circle of lady friends. So, send that text, schedule that FaceTime, and mail that letter – go forth and minister, my friends.
Did I miss a ministering idea? Comment below and share.