Excerpts from a Letter to Home Ministering Priesthood,

Recapping our Commitments To Visit ALL the Saints...

...Making a commitment, however, is not all we discussed on Sunday:  we took a close look at ourselves, where we have “met the mark” as home ministers, and where we have not.   Life teaches us that:

 ‘Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.’

Consequently, we had an honest discussion (at our meeting) over why most attempts at home ministry have fizzled out in recent years....

...The answer very likely lies within ourselves as ministers and members.  Several honest answers were offered, and a common theme surfaced: 

the Priesthood have  usually felt a lack of  continuing purpose or focus when visiting members’ homes (i.e. “Why am I really here?”), and equally important, families receiving ministry have also wondered what the real purpose is (i.e. “Why are THEY really here?”).

It is my belief that home ministry was not just added to the D & C in 1830, to augment the ministry of the restoration movement, but rather was a priesthood function restored, as were all the other functions of the priesthood, since the church of the firstborn.

The “Program”

To some, the idea of a “program” to coordinate home ministry first connotes images of a dry, spirit-lacking, dead-end effort of man to put structure to what should be a free flowing manifestation of the spirit. 

I wouldn’t challenge any brother in this regard, but would simply ask all to consider this:  Do we have the fruit to bear today that our response to God’s Holy Spirit has produced consistent ministry in the homes according to the commandments given? 

Of course the workings of the Holy Spirit has to be the first and foremost part of our purpose, and I believe it will be, if we are found anxiously engaged in a good cause. 

But how can we 'shepherd the flock' if we don’t purposefully count the sheep?  Our ultimate desire is to minister, but sometimes we need to “ad-minister” in order that the Saints receive the ministry they deserve. 

As I see it, the structure of the home ministry “program” can be summed up in three words:  to encourage discipline.

Simply put, the most important element to  home ministry is being there--being in the homes. And that is the main purpose, to get ministers to the Saints’ homes in a consistent manner. If we are willing to move our feet, I believe the Lord will direct our path.

When we shared testimonies on Sunday relating why we “failed” to maintain consistent home ministry in the past, no one ever shared any evidence that a force or policy external to the congregation required us to discontinue home visiting. 

Furthermore, no one could recall that families receiving ministry ever responded negatively, or indicated they were not pleased with having the priesthood in their homes.  After all, its mainly “ourselves” visiting “each other.”  The conclusion revealed that a lack of purpose, without a commonly understood goal among the men visiting, caused an eventual lack of enthusiasm, lack of focus, and ultimately lack of visiting priesthood.  

Communion Comparisons

In considering the need and purpose for home ministry, I have found it convenient to compare it to the Saints’  need for communion, the Holy Supper of the Lord.  Consider several parallels:

·        Communion is to be a regular part of our spiritual “dietary requirement”, not a haphazard occurrence; the Saints needs home visiting on a regular basis, too.

·        Communion is administered to the body of assembled Saints according to an orderly plan to make sure everyone is served; an order is needed to insure Saints are visited in the homes, too.

·        No one priesthood member is asked to shoulder an undue burden in administering the sacrament, the workload is divided appropriately to be handled easily and efficiently; if we take on reasonable responsibilities, no one individual will feel over-burdened.

·        All baptized members are to receive of the communion according to the plan; with home visiting, it’s great to visit members as special needs and inspiration directs, but all need this ministry and it’s important we make sure all get counted.

·        No priesthood member is asked to serve himself the sacrament, but another comes and serves the sacrament for the first; likewise, each household, whether or not priesthood live within, need the services of another to come in, advocating their cause to our Heavenly Father.

·        The pastor presides over the communion settings; in the same manner, if we allow the authority that God has placed upon him, to work down to us, the will of God can surely come to pass.

·        The sacrament service emphasizes “service” to those receiving, rather than enamoring those ministering; in the same manner, we would do well if we wore emotional “blinders” when serving fellow families, not feeling like “what’s in it for me,” but recognizing home ministry as simply a sacrifice of love.

Home Ministry Goals

An outline of our home ministry commitments:

·        Become the advocates of these families to our Heavenly Father.  They will become your charges.

·        Each team will be assigned approximately 6-7 families to visit.

·        Visit your families every three months. Expect to dedicate about 12  hours of service in home ministering each quarter to accomplish this reasonable goal.

·        Schedule!  Make your appointments with your families early on rather than putting them off.  The Aaronic priesthood team member should be designated to make the contacts with families as much as possible. Also, visiting is possible any day of the week--we are not confining it to Tuesday nights.

·        Prepare for each home visit with prayer and devotion.  

·        Pray to have the courage and discernment to share the Gospel and teach as appropriate.

·        Learn names and interests of all children, family members. Seek them out at times of congregational fellowship.  Show a genuine interest in their lives and let them know you care (one idea could be to keep a list of the family members and call them on their birthdays), in addition to just seeing them in their home.

·        We are striving for 100% of the homes to be visited every 3 months, and we can easily do it if we all pitch in.

·        We will provide an accounting of our efforts to the pastor regularly, for the edification the pastor’s ministry and the congregation’s benefit.

·        As a group of home ministers, we will try to meet as a group once each three months to discuss how we’re doing, and receive instruction from the pastorate on principles and messages we should encourage in the homes.

A few final points:

...Lastly, my thoughts are reminded of an inspirational phrase reading: Remember, we shouldn’t be surprised that a small group of dedicated people should be called to change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

May we as God’s priesthood do our part to help change the world for Christ.