Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching: What Counts?

It might feel like something to check off every month. But home teaching and visiting teaching are about more than just delivering a scripted message. 

"Every good thing you do 'counts,' so report it all!" -Jeffrey R. Holland

Home teaching and visiting teaching are supposed to be “the Church’s first source of help” for its members (see True to the Faith, Priesthood”), but these assignments can often feel like a chore. Many of us have sat through Relief Society or elders quorum lessons about home teaching and visiting teaching and have felt guilty that we weren’t visiting our assigned members more regularly. But fulfilling these responsibilities doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck. In his talk “Emissaries to the Church,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explains what home teaching (or visiting teaching) can really mean and invites us to “lift [our] vision.”

Elder Holland recognizes that it’s not always easy to visit every home every month to provide a message, but he gives a new perspective on home teaching that we can easily follow. While a monthly visit is still ideal, it’s not much help to visit the family on the last day of the month to give a stilted message from the Ensign that you barely looked up before you went to visit.

Instead, Elder Holland suggests that we look for ways to truly care for those we are assigned to minister to. Anything we do to serve those to whom we’re assigned “counts” as home teaching or visiting teaching—even if it’s a greeting over text, a phone call to chat, or an invitation to hang out. It doesn’t have to be formal, and in many cases it shouldn’t be. What we really need to do is be a friend to them—someone in the ward who they can turn to when they are in need.

If we do this, we can minister to their needs and become, as Elder Holland says, “God’s emissaries to His children.”

Read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s “Emissaries to the Church.”

Source: October 2016 general conference

—Michela Fleshman, Mormon Insights

feature image courtesy of lds media library

Find more insights

Read or watch President Thomas S. Monson‘s address “True Shepherds.”

Read Jennifer Johnson’s Mormon Insights article “Teaching Tips from the Apostle Paul” to learn how you can learn to teach more like the Savior taught.

Read Mariah Critchfield’s Mormon Insights article “Sisters, No Effort Is Lost” for encouragement when you do not feel the significance of the little things you do.

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