"The Joy of Unselfish Service" by Sister Cristina B. Franco Discussion Ideas

Have you gotten the point that we need to really focus on serving and loving one another more yet? "The Joy of Unselfish Service" by Sister Cristina B. Franco is another example of what more we can be doing. If you are already overwhelmed and it seems impossible to add one more thing to your life, remember, it’s not necessarily about doing more. It’s about doing it better! We could take the same 5 minutes and really help and lift another rather than just drop off a plate of cookies.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suggests the following for this talk:

“To teach that ‘love is made sacred through sacrifice,’ Sister Franco shares two stories—one about Victoria and one about a widow. You might invite two members to come prepared to share what they learn about love and sacrifice from these stories. What other experiences can we share that teach the same principle? Showing a video that depicts the Savior serving others (such as “Light the World—Follow the Example of Jesus Christ” on LDS.org) could lead to a discussion about how we can follow His example of ‘service coupled with love and sacrifice.’”

Questions to Ponder

  • How do you think serving God shows our love for Him?

  • What can we do to focus on others needs more than our own?

  • Are you remember to add your secret ingredient as you go forth to serve?

  • What motivates your acts of service?

  • How can we share our talents in service? Are we hiding our talents because we are fearful to use them?

  • What could you give up in your life to allow you to serve more?

  • Who have been examples of unselfish service in your life?

  • When we serve, are we asking, “What’s in it for me?” or “Whom can I help today?” or “How can I better serve the Lord in my calling?” or “Am I giving my all to the Lord?” When we get stuck in the selfish mode, what can we do to snap out of it and get our focus straight again?

  • “Are we giving our all to the Lord without reservation? Are we sacrificing of our time and talents so the rising generation can learn to love the Lord and keep His commandments? Are we ministering both to those around us and to those we are assigned with care and with diligence—sacrificing time and energy that could be used in other ways? Are we living the two great commandments—to love God and to love His children?”

  • What are some necessary sacrifices as we go about to serve? Why are they necessary? How do these sacrifices help our service?

  • How can we be like the widow who gave everything? What can we learn from this story?

  • Why do you think loving God involves loving our fellow man?

  • How are you ministering to those you aren’t assigned to?

  • How do you use your time at Church to serve (beyond your calling)? What things can you start doing to be more service oriented at Church?

  • How can you make serving others a way of life? How has service brought you happiness?

  • How can you and your family reach out and serve more?

  • What blessings has Church service brought into your life? How does this attitude of service change the way you approach your calling?

  • What keeps you from serving? What distracts us from serving? How can we overcome those obstacles?

  • How does service bring light into your life? How does it bring light into the lives of others?

  • What ills of yours have been cured through service?

  • What types of service have been meaningful for you to receive? Why?

  • 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 recognize those in need of service? How can we know the best way to serve them?

  • What keeps us from asking for help when we need it? How can we become more comfortable asking for help?

Discussion Ideas

These are my ideas. My hope is reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class.

  • List three columns on the board and write “Good, Better, and Best” as the heading to each column. Ask class members to share an act of service and discuss how one could perform that act of service in a good way, then a better way and the best way. List in each column and discuss the differences. Then use my bookmark handout to help everyone define the difference between each. In the photo, I used the example of service given to me and my family while I was in the hospital for months last year. All the service was very much appreciated but you can easily see the difference the impact of the best service versus simply the good. If we can’t figure out what the best service is to do yet though, go and do the good while praying about the best! Any act of service is still worthwhile! You may want to also discuss how sometimes our service comes in degrees as we come to better know those we are ministering to and that’s okay! However, if we would take an extra few minutes to really think and pray about what is needed, not only would we help others better but we would also be using our own time more efficiently.

  • Read or watch the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) then discuss how using our talents helps us develop them and serve God or how we can lose them and stunt our progress by not sharing them. How are you using your unique talents to love and serve others? How does your talent allow you specifically to serve?

  • Share the story of the chocolate cake in the talk. Discuss in pairs a time when someone has given up something to serve you. How did that make you feel? Have you passed that kindness on to someone else? Was there a time someone gave you service but you were not receptive to it? Were you wanting help but “not that kind of cake”? What can help us accept service even when it might not seem as the “right” kind?

  • Show the Lift video to the class. Discuss how these members changed over time with their selfless service. What helped these members to not grow weary in well doing? How can we do the same? Why is it hard to give continual service? What sacrifices are we willing to make? How can we make sure we don’t simply forget those that need our constant or long-term service?

  • Listen to the youth song from 2015, “Embark in the Service of God,” then discuss things the youth might have learned that year. What can we learn from the youth and this song? You may also want to discuss the work “embark.” It’s just a beginning! You could also use the theme poster for that year to discuss what it means.

  • Service can be as simple as using encouraging words or refraining from the negative ones. Challenge your class to focus on the words they say the week before your lesson. Then have them share how they purposefully used words or refrained from some to serve. (Psstt… have you downloaded my free ministering texts and graphics yet? You can access them for free when you become a newsletter subscriber- it’s free!)

  • Give time to your class to ponder possible service opportunities for the week during class (You can use these free handouts). Give everyone paper and let them think and write down whatever comes to mind. Challenge them to take the opportunity to do this every day after they say their prayers and see what happens. Maybe they can even keep a service journal- not what they did but what they learned and felt as they did serve.

  • Have class members search for scripture stories that demonstrate selfless service from the life of the Savior. Many of these stories can be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Have them share the stories and discuss how we can take these stories for our examples.

  • Discuss how Sister Franco didn’t appreciate the chocolate cake her primary teacher brought at first. Are others trying to serve us but we either turn them down or don’t appreciate it? How can we learn to appreciate sincere service efforts even when it doesn’t seem to fit what we see as our need? How can it bless us anyway? Do we sometimes pray for help but then refuse it? Why? How can we be more accepting and appreciative of service given to us?

  • Hanging in my Relief Society room from another ward (so I don’t know who to give credit) is this saying. I love the simplicity as well as personal nature of it. Recognize those needs right before your eyes and go to town! Discuss this quote and hang it in your classroom as a continual reminder.