In other non-sicky news, I was reading through this month's Ensign last night, and I found a "Gospel Classic" from President Packer titled "Strengthening the Less Active", adapted from an address he gave back in 1969. I won't recap the whole thing for you here, but I felt like the crux of it was that we should ask less actives to participate more in the areas where they are able to (prayers, giving short talks and testimonies) and not be so worried that they'll be scared off if we ask them to participate. Pres. Packer compares activity/participation to medicine and says that by not giving less actives opportunities to participate, it's like we invite them to the hospital but then take all the medicine for ourselves:
When a home teacher brings a lost sheep to meetings, it is only a beginning of his being found. Where can he be used for his spiritual benefit? Actually, there aren’t many places in which a leader can use a person who is struggling for worthiness. Unfortunately, it seems that those few situations in which we could use them—to offer prayers, to make brief responses, to bear testimony—are almost invariably reserved for the active: for the stake presidency, for the high council, for the bishopric, for the patriarch, for the auxiliary leaders. Indeed, we sometimes go to great lengths to import speakers and participants—to the loss of our hungry ones.
At a ward sacrament meeting I attended recently, a sister had been invited to sing whose husband was not active in the Church. He was, however, at the meeting. The bishop wanted a very special program for this occasion. His first announcement was: “Brother X, my first counselor, will give the opening prayer.” His second counselor gave the closing prayer.
How unfortunate, I thought. The three men in the bishopric struggle with such concern over the spiritually sick, then take the very medicine that would make those people well—activity, participation—and consume it themselves in front of the needy!
There are some fantastic stories that he shares and it just reminded me that what's important isn't so much that the talks and prayers and everything that happens at church be perfect, but that we give people opportunities to learn and grow. That participation is probably more important than sitting and listening to others participate, even though both are important.
He closes with a fantastic story of the principle in action in a stake conference he presided over, where opportunities were given to some who otherwise probably would not have been asked to speak, and great things happened. Anyway, I really liked the article and recommend it.