LDS Teaching Helps for Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson's "The Needs Before Us"

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson emphasized our need to do service to those all around us in her October 2017 General Conference talk, "The Needs Before Us." It is important to note how good it is to serve those far away but how much more we can help if we serve those right in front of us.


Who is there in your neighborhood that could use a helping hand or loving friend? Who in your family could use a little boost? I love that Sister Oscarson says, "Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs." Think about that as you pray for ways you might serve today.


  • What types of service have been meaningful for you to receive? Why?
  • How has technology hindered your opportunities to serve? How has it helped you serve?
  • What distracts us from serving?
  • Do we recognize the small things we do as service?
  • How can we encourage children to serve and know that it matters?
  • How can we serve within our homes? Is it service?
  • What happens when we change our view of going to church from getting what we want to serving someone else?
  • How can we recognize those in need of service? 
  • What keeps us from asking for help?
  • What can you contribute?
  • How can you make serving others a way of life?
  • How has service brought you happiness?
  • What blessings has Church service brought into your life?
  • In what ways does service bring light into your life?
  • What does it mean to lose ourselves in service?
  • How does losing yourself in service help you discover your true self?

Teaching Ideas

From the Church, "One way to start a discussion about Sister Oscarson’s message is to give everyone a piece of paper with 'Who needs me today?' written at the top. Members of your Relief Society or quorum could take a few minutes pondering and listing answers to this question. Then they could search Sister Oscarson’s message for ideas about how they could serve the people on their list—or add names as inspired. Maybe a few could share what they have learned."

The following are my ideas. My hope is that reading my thoughts, they will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class. Remember you are leading a discussion, not teaching a lesson so you may only need one of these ideas.

  • Ask for people to share experiences they had during #LIGHTtheWORLD- both for those that served and those that received service.
  • Encourage people to continue to #LIGHTtheWORLD with my service flipbook. It has each of the scriptures mentioned this past December plus room for journaling experiences. Since there is no specific date tied to them, it is easy to use all year. Once you have done that scripture service challenge, record your experience and flip to the next one.
  • Text or email people for examples of how they have served last month before class. Write their answers on the board or put each one on a sticky note forming a heart on the board (or make quilt squares as mentioned in the talk). In class, discuss how these acts of service helped and what they did for both parties.
  • Use Sister Oscarson's question, "Who needs you?" Who needs you at home? at church? in the community? It reminds me of the Primary song, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam." You could all sing it, simply quote the words, or have some cute Primary children sing it for you. 
  • Discuss what "being present" means. How do we take ourselves out of the present? What can we do to ensure we are living in the present? Why is being present important to service?
  • Be sure your class is aware of the countless opportunities to serve by sending them to Volunteer on Church Projects page as well as (there is even an app). There are so many options! If you can, pull up the pages in class on a big screen and show people how to find and use these great resources.
  • In a previous Gordon B. Hinckley lesson on service (chapter 14), I made two handouts about service that you could use for this lesson as well (pictured above). I especially like the journaling part because if we want to remember the good, we need to record it! I also have a video over there if you need more ideas.
  • This lesson is a great one to plug Visiting and Home Teaching... even change the perception of it. If we forget our complaints about it and lose ourselves in the service, it isn't something to complain about but a joy- both on the receiving and doing end. Discuss how we can better in doing our part.
  • Service can be as simple as using encouraging words or refraining from the negative ones. Challenge your class to give out compliment cards this week and really focus on the words they choose to say. 
  • Charity never faileth. It is the answer to everything. Discuss what this means in terms of serving each other and how it doesn't fail.
  • Refer back to"I Was a Stranger." There are a lot of ways we can help others. That page also includes several video clips you may want to use. 
  • Spend time discussing service we do in the family and why it is really service. How does our attitudes change as we view so many of the daily things we do as service. What other ways might we need to serve in our families?