In 2010, I wrote about Church Service Missions (CSMs) as an excellent opportunity for members who are unable to live away from home, to contribute in a meaningful way to the building of the Lord’s kingdom by serving in a variety of capacities. CSMs were always available for young people, but in recent years, the LDS Church has expanded this and created the Young Church Service Missionary (YCSM) program.
Who Is Eligible for a Young Church Service Mission?
The YCSM program is designed for young men who have been honorably excused from serving a proselyting mission for physical, mental, and emotional health reasons or who have returned home early from a full-time mission for reasons other than worthiness. The program is also for young women who desire to serve a mission but can’t fulfill a proselyting mission for reasons other than worthiness. The key requirement, as you are seeing, to be eligible for this program is that the youth must be worthy to serve a mission.
Other requirements to serve a YCSM are that the candidate, or the family, must be able to financially support the mission, including providing for living expenses (most YCSMs live at home), transportation, insurance, and health related needs. YCSMs must be the standard age for a mission by young adults, between 18-25 for young men, and 19-25 for young women. They must have a strong desire to serve a mission and show that they are willing and able to fulfill the assignment they are given.
What You Do as a Young Church Service Missionary?
Young church service missions are customized to meet the needs of each individual. The schedule is developed by the YCSM and the family with input from the Bishop and Stake President. YCSMs are not given regular proselyting or temple assignments, though weekly exchanges with the full-time missionaries or time for temple attendance may be included in their schedule. YCSMs usually serve with a Church department such as Deseret Industries, Family History, Information Technology (IT), Publishing Services, Facilities Management, Seminaries and Institutes, or Welfare. They can do a variety of tasks such as office support, building maintenance, computer support, special needs assistance, event support, cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc.
Young church service missionaries typically live at home and they can serve for anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Family involvement, from parents or other extended family, is generally a crucial part of helping the YCSM succeed as they will not have a missionary companion. YCSMs serve as close to full-time as possible and this can be accomplished with a single assignment or a combination of part-time assignments. Though assignments may largely center around temporal work, the Young church service mission should be a spiritual experience as well.
Here is a list, provided by the Church, of suggested places where young church service missionaries can serve.
How Do You Apply to be a YCSM?
If you desire to serve a Young church service mission, first meet with your bishop and discuss it with him. He will direct you to the online mission papers / recommendation system or give you the actual paper forms. Alternatively, you can download the Young Church-Service Missionary Recommendation Form. You will discuss the potential places to serve and you will begin to make those arrangements. Once the paperwork is completely filled out, the bishop and stake president will interview you, verify your worthiness, sign the application, and forward the application by email to the Young Church Service Missionary department at church headquarters, or mail it in.
How Will You Receive Your YCSM Call?
Once an appropriate mission service plan has been agreed upon by you, your family, and the Church operation, the application will be processed by Church Headquarters. The call letter will be sent to the Stake President. He will then extend to you the formal mission call, and you will be set apart as a missionary by your bishop. Your YCSM service is recorded on your individual membership record as serving a mission just as it is for a proselyting mission.
After you have been set apart, you should contact the church operation where you will be serving. The operation will supervise and train you in your mission assignment. Your stake president and bishop will remain your ecclesiastical leaders during your mission. They will interview you regularly, to see how the mission is going, and the stake president will basically serve as your mission president.
Click here to go to the official Young Church-Service Missionaries website and learn more about this program.