The Lord’s prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has called each of us to “a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others” (“Ministering,” April 2018 general conference). This call brings with it the opportunity to involve our young men more actively in ministering. For many years, Melchizedek Priesthood home teaching companions have helped young men learn how to teach and serve.
This inspired emphasis on ministering will help Aaronic Priesthood holders see their service as more than just an obligation to fulfill or a program that helps the ward run smoothly. They will learn the difference between ministering and administering. Administering helps organize the work and maintain order. Ministering, on the other hand, is about lifting, teaching and serving others as Christ would.
Train and trust
An assignment to minister alongside an Aaronic Priesthood companion is an opportunity to teach true ministering by example and help prepare a young man for a lifetime of loving service in the Lord’s kingdom.
President Henry B. Eyring taught: “All of us in the priesthood have an obligation to help the Lord prepare others. … More powerful than using words in our teaching the doctrine will be our examples of living the doctrine. … In priesthood preparation, ‘show me’ counts more than ‘tell me’ ” (“The Preparatory Priesthood,” October 2014 general conference).
The foundation of true ministering is genuine love, born of the Holy Ghost. A Melchizedek Priesthood holder can show his Aaronic Priesthood companion what that love looks like as they counsel together about the needs of the individuals or families they serve, as they pray together for the gift of charity, and as they act promptly on any impression or opportunity they have to minister.
The pure love of Christ comes to those who earnestly seek it and are true followers of the Savior. Your example of ministering in this holier way will increase the gift of charity within you and help your Aaronic Priesthood companion receive it as well. And you will be filling the Lord’s command: “If any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:106).
By engaging a young ministering companion fully, you show him you trust him. President Eyring testified that “a father or a bishop or a senior … companion who shows that he trusts a young priesthood holder can change his life.” That trust begins as you choose to see your young companion as God sees him. You communicate your trust as you fully engage him in ministering as an equal partner.
An Aaronic Priesthood holder can receive revelation on what the Lord would do to bless a family, just as a Melchizedek Priesthood holder can. He can organize and mobilize service efforts, and he can teach powerful lessons. He may know additional ways to reach out to bless others through social media. Your success and joy as a ministering brother will be greatly enhanced as you help your Aaronic Priesthood companion become and do great things. Together in unity and purpose, you can be and do more than you could each do alone.
One way you can accomplish this is by involving your Aaronic Priesthood companion in ministering interviews. Before you go to the interview, discuss with your companion what you are learning about the people to whom you are ministering, what needs you should discuss with the elders quorum leader, and ways you can bless the individual or family. During the interview, invite your companion to share his thoughts and insights. If specific plans are made in the interview, make sure the young man understands his role in accomplishing them.
The preparatory priesthood
The opportunities for Aaronic Priesthood holders to minister in love and compassion will provide vital preparation for them to be powerful missionaries and faithful, lifelong priesthood servants. These opportunities will help solidify in their hearts the two great commandments, to love God and love our fellowman (see Matthew 22:36–40). They will have greater desire to serve as missionaries — and share the gospel throughout their lives — as they feel the joy that comes from being instruments in God’s hands in answering the prayers of His children.
We pray that our fellow Melchizedek Priesthood brothers will see this higher and holier ministering as an opportunity to also lift their Aaronic Priesthood fellow servants, to help them see their capacity as holders of the priesthood of God to invite others to come Christ.