Ministering as the Savior Does: Fourth Sunday Lesson

Greet and welcome your class. Follow-up with any assignments from previous lessons.

The objectives of this lesson are:

  • Demonstrate how we learn by observing the actions of others
  • Describe examples of ministering in your life
  • Discuss how Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of how to minister

We Learn by Observing the Actions of Others

One way that we learn is through observation. There was a classic psychology study done in the 1960s by Albert Bandura called the Bobo doll experiment to better understand observational learning. Boys and girls ages 3-6 we’re randomly assigned one of three conditions. In the first condition, children one at a time observed an adult model act aggressively toward an inflatable toy with a weight at the bottom. The second group of children observed the adult interacting in a quiet and subdued manner with the doll. The last group did not observe the adult model interacting with the doll. Then the children were placed in the room with the doll, and their behavior was recorded behind a two-way mirror. As you’ve likely guessed or learned previously, the children who observed the aggressive model imitated far more aggressive responses, such as hitting and kicking, than those who were in the non-aggressive or control groups. Even worse, they added to what they saw by including more weapons and verbal threats.

At the time of this experiment, many thought watching aggression would be somewhat cathartic and decrease aggressive acts. However, these results likely come as no surprise to parents. Young children are continuously imitating the actions of others.

Discussion question: When have you seen children learn by observing others?

Give your own example of this or share mine:

Recently when eating snacks with my two-year-old daughter. We sat at her play table with popcorn for her and apples with peanut butter for me. Instead of placing the bowl of popcorn on the table, she kept it precariously sitting on her lap. “Ashley,” I said, “You need to put the bowl on the table or the popcorn might spill.” She ignored me and continued eating. Frustrated, I prompted again, but this time while pulling the bowl toward the table. She gripped onto the bowl harder and pushed it more firmly on her lap. At that point we were in a full-on tug-of-war when I suddenly realized I had my plate of apples and peanut butter on my lap. I gently let go of the popcorn bowl and put my plate on the table. Without a word, she then also placed her popcorn bowl on the table.

Examples of Ministering Brothers and Sisters We want to Emulate

There are likely times you have observed others to learn. Maybe it was watching a cake decorating demonstration or your tennis instructor serve a ball across a tennis court. Just as we can further skills and talents by looking to those we trust, we can also look for examples of great ministering by our fellow brothers and sisters.

Discussion question: Who are examples of ministering in your life you strive to emulate?

Give your own example of this or share Jean B. Bingham’s example from April 2018 Conference:

A mother was diagnosed with cancer. Soon she began treatment, and immediately, the Relief Society sisters went to work, planning how to best help with meals, transportation to medical appointments, and other support. They visited her regularly, providing cheerful companionship. At the same time, the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum sprang into action. They provided labor in adding a remodeled bedroom and bathroom to make it easier to care for the sick sister. The young men lent their hands and backs to participate in that significant effort. And the young women got involved: they cheerfully arranged to faithfully walk the dog each day. As time passed, the ward continued their service, adding and adapting where necessary. It was clearly a labor of love, each member giving of him or herself, unitedly showing caring in individual ways that blessed not only the suffering sister but each member of her family.

After a valiant effort, the sister finally succumbed to the cancer and was laid to rest. Did the ward breathe a sigh of relief and consider the job well done and well over? No, the young women continue to walk the dog daily, the priesthood quorums continue to minister to the father and his family, and the Relief Society sisters continue to reach out in love to ascertain strengths and needs. Brothers and sisters, this is ministering—this is loving as the Savior does!

Jesus Christ is the Ultimate Example of Ministering

We can look to those we admire to better understand ministering, but no one we observe will be perfect. Jesus Christ is the perfect example.

Discussion Question: Why is Jesus Christ the Ultimate Example of Ministering?

Invite someone to read John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

A disciple is a follower. We show we are followers of Christ, by doing the things that he would do if he were in our position in life. We can look to his example to guide how we minister to others.

He ministers through Small Acts.

Through His supernal gifts of the Atonement and Resurrection—which we celebrate on this beautiful Easter Sunday—“none other has had so profound an influence [on] all who have lived and who will yet live upon the earth.”

He also smiled at, talked with, walked with, listened to, made time for, encouraged, taught, fed, and forgave. He served family and friends, neighbors and strangers alike, and He invited acquaintances and loved ones to enjoy the rich blessings of His gospel. Those “simple” acts of service and love provide a template for our ministering today.

If time permits, have small groups read one of the following scriptures and share their impressions with the class: 

Woman at the Well,  John 4:6-30

Nobleman with Sick Son, John 4:45-54

Heals Invalid by the Market Pool, John 5:1-17

Jesus Feeds 5000, John 6:1-14

Jesus Heals Man Who Descends Through Roof On Bed, Mark 2:1-12

(Taken from

Discussion question: What are small acts you can do to  minister as the Savior does?

The Savior is our example in everything—not only in what we should do but why we should do it. “His life on earth was [an] invitation to us—to raise our sights a little higher, to forget our own problems and [to] reach out to others.” As we accept the opportunity to wholeheartedly minister to our sisters and brothers, we are blessed to become more spiritually refined, more in tune with the will of God, and more able to understand His plan to help each one return to Him. We will more readily recognize His blessings and be eager to extend those blessings to others.

We can learn what it means to be a ministering brother or sister by observing the actions of our Savior Jesus Christ and striving each day to follow in his footsteps.

Close with any other impressions the Spirit has given you and bear your testimony.

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