Continue to Minister

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While reading my scriptures this morning on the bus ride to work, I came across a scripture that made an impression on my mind and heart.

When it comes to home teaching, the scriptural support we hear frequently for this practise are such things as the elders are “to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church” (D&C 20:42).

A scripture I read this morning gave me added hope that my seemingly fruitless efforts are purposeful. The words I read are direct from the resurrected Saviour and found in 3 Nephi 18:31–32:

[If] he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.

The Saviour’s words express the love He has for all humankind, even the unrepentant sinners. His words express His apprehension with the chance the sinner could spiritually harm His people, yet at the same time He recognises the worth there is in people attending church and receiving spiritual nourishment. He illustrates to us that we should make the sinner feel welcome at church, going so far as to proactively helping them. He extends this to a statement of hope by telling us that we cannot tell will return to his fold, but when they do, they could very well be ready to roll up their sleeves, lace up their boots and go to work building the kingdom of God.

He’s preaching to the converted on this point. I grew to understand the importance of home teaching years ago when I was first called into an elders quorum presidency shortly after my mission. The saviour’s words simply reiterated what I already know and that to which I am already committed.

There are some people I have been home teaching for over three years (the length I’ve been in this ward) and they have never come to church. They turn down all my requests to come out to ward socials and to come out to church. Yet I go there every month as a representative of the ward leadership and, hopefully, a disciple of the Christ. I pray daily that these spiritual siblings of mine might have their hearts pricked and return to church where we can sit side by side as brothers and sisters armed in the battle against evil.

I hope I can be there the day my prayers are answered.

4 thoughts on “Continue to Minister

  1. Kim, take heart, brother. My grandfather was assigned to home teach a family for 23 years. I was his companion for 6 of those years (from age 12 to 18), and we never got in the door. The father met us on the porch each month with either a cigarette or can of beer in his hand.

    To make the long story short, about 10 years later I got a christmas card. Enclosed was a photo of this man and his wife dressed in white in front of the temple where they were called as workers. In the nice note he wrote, he mentioned specifically the faithful performance of my grandfather as their home teacher as a factor in their reactivation.

    You just never can tell. Keep trying, sometimes people do surprising things.

  2. Our Bishop and I were just discussing this at great lenghts last night and this morning received an email directed at all of us auxiliary leaders. I had told him last night that at times I think we “pussyfoot” around the inactives too much and that maybe there may be times when they just need a greater “kick in the butt”.

    We are so concerned at not offending them so that they won’t come back and I said for what? They aren’t coming to church in the first place!!! Instead of going to HT or VT them as a friend and just chew the fat why are we not going as specific leaders and representatites of the Lord’s church?

    And that was what the email was about this morning. As leaders we need to take a more direct approach with the inactives in our areas, visiting each in their homes, delegating to our councilors to spread the load.

    For 5 years I had a dedicated VT who never missed a visit even though she knew I wasn’t active for several reasons. Faithfully she came out to see me, some months a couple of times. Every Sunday she would call me with the RS announcements and anything pertinent to the ward. When I walked back into our ward she was the one that was waiting by the front door for me with open arms.

    She didn’t do her stewarship with hopes of reward one day. She did it because she loved me enough to do it. That is the same process I am going to be using today as I work out a visiting schedule with my councilors to go and see the parents of our inactive children.

    Kim you can only continue the dedicated and committed work that you do. You may never see the fruits of your labors just like when you were on a mission. But the Lord sees your efforts and you will be greatly rewarded.

  3. Hey Sally, can I split a few hairs with you?

    I understand that you believe that ‘getting tough’ with the inactives is what you have been mandated to do.

    I understand that you believe it is in their own best interest, and an act of love.

    What you don’t seem to understand ( and I believe this applies to many members) is that there are things called boundaries.

    Non-members families would look at what you’re doing and call it harassment. At the very least, they would call it being nosey and annoying.

    Semi-active members often share in this feeling as well. For every faith promoting story of,” I stuck with it for so long and then they came back to church” there is a,”…and they wouldn’t leave me alone, so I finally had to resign my membership” story.

    Give these people some time to exercise some free will and if they’re meant to come back, they will.

    Hey, I absolutely know that you have the best intentions, but sometimes being over-zealous is just a bit socially unacceptable.

    The church wants to give everyone a chance to enjoy the blessings of the gospel. These semi or non active members have been given their chance. I think getting tough with these ‘lost sheep’ as you call them is akin to binding investigators and throwing them into the font. You’d never consider the latter act acceptable, perhaps you should re-think the former.

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