5 Highlights for “Ministering” by Elder Gong

by | Apr 28, 2023

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5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions

See also Teaching Helps

You can find his full talk here. Unless you opt to spend a lot of time on a particular quote, try to pick around 2 questions per quote. Choose the questions that resonate the most with you and make a meaningful discussion for your group of personalities. These highlights and questions fit with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.

All blue quotes by Elder Gerrit W. Gong (unless otherwise noted).


Lesson Prep

  • If I were teaching this lesson, I would probably do quotes 1,3,2,4 and 5 in that order.
  • Don’t worry if you only get through a couple of quotes. Discussion is golden; it resonates and teaches more than a lecture covering all points will.
  • This topic would also make a great 5th Sunday lesson as well. – Please see Ministering Made Simple for links, quotes, videos, infographics, etc.
  • Note: Sometimes, the Church website links don’t work on Chrome browsers, at least not on my computer. Consider using a different browser to view them (They work well on Firefox).

Quote #1 (doing good)

This is the central theme of the whole talk! You could spend the entire hour discussing creative ideas, memorable experiences, and divine strategies.

It is said that those who understand the true spirit of ministering do more than before, while those who do not understand do less. Let’s do more, as our Savior would.

Our Savior is our perfect example. Because He is good, He can go about doing good. He blesses the one and the 99. He is ministering personified. We become more like Jesus Christ when we do “unto … the least of these” as we would unto Him, when we love our neighbor as ourselves, when we “love one another; as I have loved you,” and when “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.”

Jesus Christ ministers. Angels minister. Followers of Jesus Christ “minister one to another,” “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep,” “watch over [and] … nourish [the people] with things pertaining to righteousness,” “remember … the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted,” let His name be known through our ministry. As we minister as He would, we witness His miracles, His blessings. We obtain “a more excellent ministry.”

Two Possible Activity Ideas

  1. Have the class help you pull out ways the Savior ministers from Elder Gong’s quote. List them on the board (accept all reasonable answers – they do not need to be exact).
  2. Or provide your group with the following two lists and ask two questions:
    • What stands out for you today from these two lists and why?
    • Can you give a real-life example of ministering you’ve experienced (whether given or received) that matches an item from either of these lists?

Note: a printable pdf of these lists can be found at the bottom of the post.

Elder Gong’s Ministering list

  • go about doing good
  • do unto the least of these thy brethren
  • love neighbor as ourselves
  • love one another
  • the greatest among us minister
  • celebrate and be happy for others
  • comfort those who are sad
  • be concerned about their spirituality
  • Remember the poor (relief)
  • Remember the needy (comfort)
  • visit the sick and afflicted
  • testify of Christ

Church’s Ministering Website list

The Six Priorities

  1. Make contact with those to whom you have been assigned to minister. This can be done in a variety of ways. Reach out to them by phone, text message, or social media; or even with a letter.
  2. Get to know them. Learn about their lives, relationships, and circumstances. By doing so, you’ll be able to anticipate their needs and either meet those needs yourself or call on your ward leadership to access additional resources.
  3. Become a friend by letting them know that you care. Make the effort to be the kind of friend that they need.
  4. Pray for them and for guidance. Nobody knows the needs of those you are assigned to minister to better than Heavenly Father. Seek His help and pray for inspiration to serve them in the best way—His way. Finding inspired answers to questions you have and using all available methods for making contact are key to inspired ministering.
  5. Minister to them in individualized and customized ways to fit their needs.
  6. Maintain the relationship. Life can change quickly for people. Regularly touch base with those to whom you minister, and you’ll be better prepared to help and serve them when needs arise.

Possible quick discussion question: What does “going about doing good” mean to you? What especially impresses you from Elder Gong’s list? What stands out for you from the Church’s Ministering list? Are poor and needy the same? What has been your favorite ministering experience, either to give or receive?

Quote #2 (quality connections)

The new ministering program did away with home visits as the prescribed norm. This is an inspired move! Quality connections can happen in a variety of ways.

“Ministering does not include a set monthly message in the Church magazines nor a prescribed way to keep in contact, such as in-home, face-to-face visits each month-even though visits are important when they are possible….” (President Nelson ~ Church News)

simple: easy, uncomplicated, undemanding

flexible: adjustable, variable, responsive

However, “simple and flexible” doesn’t mean we do less as ministers. The point is to make real and meaningful connections that fit the needs of the people we are assigned to. Home visits (whenever that’s an act of love and friendship and is appreciated) are an excellent way to care for others. Include home visits in your ministering efforts if people want them.

Also, be sensitive that some people don’t care for them and prefer chats, texts, and phone calls. Myself ~ most of the time, I love chatting at Church and feeling connected to others on the Sabbath more than I enjoy a home visit. I entertain a lot, so I don’t need home visits. Still, a home visit once in a while is pleasant. It helps personalize the relationship.

In some places in the Church, we have a ministering gap. More say they are ministering than say they are being ministered to. We do not want checklist concern. But often we need more than a sincere hello in the hall or a casual “Can I help you?” in the parking lot. In many places, we can reach out, understand others where they are, and build relationships when we regularly visit members in their homes. Inspired invitations change lives. When invitations help us make and keep sacred covenants, we draw closer to the Lord and each other.

Find out what kind of ministering someone needs by simply asking them. “What would make you feel like you have been ministered to? What feels best and works for you?

Possible discussion questions: How can we ensure brothers and sisters feel ministered to? (Ask them what they prefer and start there. Add things as you strengthen the relationship.) Saying hello at Church is a friendly, meaningful way to fellowship at Church. What happens when that is the only thing you do as an assigned minister ~ is it possible for someone to think they are not being ministered to? Why? What are some creative ways we can increase the quality of our ministering?

Quote #3 (olive trees)

Inspired ministering blesses families and individuals; it also strengthens wards and branches. Think of your ward or branch as a spiritual ecosystem. In the spirit of the Book of Mormon allegory of the olive trees, the Lord of the vineyard and his servants bring forth precious fruit and strengthen each tree by binding together the strengths and weaknesses of all the trees. The Lord of the vineyard and his servants repeatedly ask, “What more can I do?” Together, they bless hearts and homes, wards and branches, through inspired, consistent ministering.

I love that phrase, “Binding together the strengths and weaknesses of all trees.”

Through ministering, other people’s strengths and happy moments become important to us. Other people’s weaknesses and challenges become important to us. Ministering helps us realize we’re all in this together.

Possible discussion questions: How does a healthy ministering program help bind us together? (accept all reasonable answers – I would say ministering is an act of service and love, and people are softened, endeared, and encouraged through service and love – both to give and receive. Also, Ministering is a step towards Zion – one heart, one mind.) If you were to ask yourself, “What more can I do”? – how fast do you think you will get an answer?

Possible Activity

  • Give everyone a piece of paper (can be small) and make sure they have a pencil.
  • Tell them to look into their hearts and ask the question, “what more can I do”?
  • Give them 1-2 minutes.
  • Write down at least 1-2 ideas that come to mind.
  • Notice how quickly you are prompted to do something.

Remind your group of people the Spirit will always have an answer. The answers will come easily if you’ve gotten to know your ministering assignments already. But for now, the answer may be, “It’s time to get to know them better.” When and where will you start contacting them? Make a plan – give yourself a deadline.

Possible follow-up question: Who doesn’t mind sharing something they wrote down?

Quote #4 (bountifully)

We may tire physically. But in His service we do “not weary in well-doing.” We diligently do our best, do not run faster than we have strength, but trust, as the Apostle Paul teaches, that “God loveth a cheerful giver.” For God who “ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown.” In other words, God enriches “every thing to all bountifulness.” They “which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

Did you notice? Elder Gong points our focus outward toward others and Jesus Christ throughout this talk. Isn’t the main point of ministering about ourselves and our actions? This is not a gripe topic about others’ lack of ministering. Joy and well-being come from giving. As soon as we focus on the shortcomings of others, our giving loses some of its cheer.

Possible discussion questions: **What does “God loves a cheerful giver” mean – can you be an uncheerful giver? Why is it more important to focus on what we sow – rather than what other people do for us? Where does the Savior focus? Have you ever felt weary in well-doing? How can we cultivate a cheerful mindset?

Quote #5 (let us)

This is a beautiful closing statement if you have time!

“…let us reach out and care as our Savior would, especially to those whom we are privileged by love and assignment to minister. In so doing, may we draw closer to Jesus Christ and each other, becoming more like Him and the followers of Jesus Christ He would have us each be.

Summary

Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Elder Gong’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.

Final Comment

Ministering is the golden door for ward and branch health. Bless your heart for picking up this important topic to teach to others. I hope you have lots of success and set goodness into motion. If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.” Please put the quotes in any order that makes sense to you.


Extra Resources

Ministering Interviews

One of the greatest blessings a ward or branch has is an Elder’s Quorum and/or Relief Society presidency that faithfully conducts quality ministering interviews every quarter. The effects are contagious. Elder Gong shares a great example:

In Hong Kong, an elders quorum president modestly shares how their quorum consistently conducts 100-percent ministering interviews. “We prayerfully organize companionships so everyone can care for someone and be cared for,” he says. “We regularly ask each companionship about those for whom they minister. We do not check boxes; we minister to the ministers who care for our people.

References

“Each member of the Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidencies conducts ministering interviews. Even in a large ward, leaders will find that interviews are manageable when a few are held each week by each presidency member. Ministering interviews do not need to be long to be effective.”[vi]

“Ministering interviews can and should be held throughout each quarter – and not reserved for the last week or last month of the quarter. As leaders hold interviews regularly, they will find that can accomplish the spiritual and temporal purposes of ministering.”[vii]

[vi] https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/ministering/ministering-additional-faq?lang=eng
[vii] https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/ministering/ministering-additional-faq?lang=eng

Thoughts on Church Culture

Some people have difficulty adjusting from home teaching and visiting teaching to ministering. It may take years.

“We have made the decisions to retire home teaching and visiting teaching as we have known them. Instead, we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as “ministering.” (President Nelson)

retire: withdraw, depart, exit, adjourn

How is ministering completely different than home teaching and visiting teaching? (Please see the infographic from quote #2 or visit the Ministering Made Simple page.)


PDFs for Download – click the blue link to view online.


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10 Comments

  1. Marie

    Thank you for this! It was helpful for my lesson

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      I’m tickled!

      Reply
  2. Douglas Davis

    Thanks for your insights to these Conference talks. My Elders Quorum lessons have more participants in the discussions than ever before.

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      I am thrilled to hear that! That makes for a better Sabbath every time.

      Reply
  3. Jodi

    Thank you so much for this! I was having a hard time organizing good questions for discussion and tying it all together. It helped me get my thoughts organized, this is such a blessing to me.

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      I hope you lesson on Elder Gong’s talk went well! Thank you for taking the time to add your gracious words to my life. It is so wonderful to be connected with teachers who bless our Kingdom so much. Thank you for preparing and seeking to deepen your efforts.

      Reply
  4. Lalu

    Your 5 highlights were awesome, thank you. It really did help me prepare for my lesson

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      Lalu, I’m so glad! I hope your lesson went well and that you felt good about the gift of understanding and enlightenment you brought to your group of people. Bless you for preparing yourself and looking for resources – that is awesome.

      Reply
  5. Julie

    Your highlights are so helpful and informative. Would you consider preparing one for ‘Hosanna to the Most High God by Elder Ronald Rasband? They’ve asked me to teach this lesson next month. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      You’d be my only vote for Elder Rasband – probably because it is an Easter talk. Here is my suggestion. I did do a post on all his footnotes and comments that he attached to the talk after he published it. And there’s even a pdf printout you can use as a handout. Ideas for Lesson delivery are at the end of the post. This would be a great way to cover his talk.

      Reply

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