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God has invited you to minister to an individual or family in your ward or branch according to their needs. How do you find out what those needs are? The principle of counseling, which has been such a focus in the Church, is key.

After discussing what we might consider counseling about, we will explore:

  1. Counseling with Heavenly Father.

  2. Counseling with the assigned individual and family.

  3. Counseling with our companion.

  4. And counseling with others assigned to the same individual or family.

Counseling with our leaders is also essential. A future Ministering Principles article in the Liahona will explore counseling with leaders as well as the role of ministering interviews in that process.

What We Counsel about

Understanding needs is essential to ministering to one another. But what forms can those needs take, and is there something more than needs that we should find out?

Needs can come in many forms. Those we serve may face challenges that are emotional, financial, physical, educational, and more. Some needs are higher priority than others. Some we will be equipped to help with; others may require us to enlist help ourselves. In our efforts to help meet temporal needs, don’t forget that our call to minister includes helping others progress along the covenant path, preparing for and receiving the priesthood ordinances essential for exaltation.

In addition to counseling about an individual’s or family’s needs, we should seek to learn their strengths. What don’t they need help with? What abilities and gifts do they have that could bless others? How are they uniquely suited to help build the kingdom of God? An individual’s strengths may be as important to understand as his or her needs.

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