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How to Be an Online Missionary

As a follow up to my post on Church Service Missions, I’d like to go into a little more detail about how sign up to be an online missionary. This is particularly in response to several people who have mentioned to me that they have the time and resources to be a part-time missionary from home doing computer work online, but they are not sure how to get started.

Search for Opportunities

church-service-mission-technology-computer-opportunitiesThe first thing you will want to do is to go to the Church-Service Mission website to check out the open opportunities, get answers to frequently asked questions, and to get the Recommendation Form for a Church-Service Mission. Once there, click on “Current Opportunities” or “Search for Opportunities” (both links take you to the same place). And on that page you’ll see a link to view all At Home Service Opportunities.

At present, there are only a couple of At Home opportunities listed, but hopefully there will be more in the future. Another alternative for finding at home opportunities is to go back to the search page, find the “Select and Interest” drop down menu, and select “Information Technology and Computer Science.” (see screen shot above)

Though these opportunities are not specifically listed as the work at home type, many of them could be done from home. If you find an online or computer-related opportunity that you would be interested in, click on the “Request Information” link to send a message to the person who listed the opportunity.

church-service-mission-request-information The Church encourages members to make contact and discuss service opportunities with the person listed in the posting. This allows potential missionaries and the Church sponsor to determine if there is a good fit. Also remember to prayerfully consider the assignment to determine if the service opportunity is right for you.

How to initiate the mission call

Once you have confirmed that a given opportunity is available and is one you want to pursue, you must complete a form entitled Recommendation for Church-Service Missionary and give it to your bishop. Print the form and carefully fill out each section of the recommendation, including where you are going to serve, how many hours each week, when you are going to start, and how long of a mission you would like to serve.

Once your bishop receives the completed recommendation forms, he will review it, interview you for worthiness, and discuss with you the selected choice for service. He then signs the form and forwards it to the stake president who will also interview you, and then forward your application to the local Church-service missionary coordinator.  The coordinator advises the stake president by letter when the processing is complete and the stake president  will extend the call to you.

Informal Online Missionary Service

Please also remember that you don’t need a formal call to be an online missionary. Recall what President David O. McKay used to say, “Every member a missionary.” This Mormon Missionary Prep website that you are now reading is an example of my informal online missionary work. No one in the Church called me or asked me to create this site. I simply felt promoted by the Spirit of the Lord. I have other projects in the works as well, such as the site I am setting up dedicated to Our Savior Jesus Christ. That site is not quite ready for prime-time yet, but when it is filled out, I expect it to be another great online missionary tool.

You too, without a formal missionary calling, can set up a website or blog or otherwise participate in the online conversation about the Church and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. So get out there, share your beliefs, try to reach people and touch their hearts. In the process you will become an online member missionary, and do great things to move the work of the Lord forward.

Church Service Missions

Mormon Church Service Missions Church service missions are a type of missionary work that members from age 19 to 119 can do. Church service missions are an excellent opportunity for elderly members who are unable to travel away from their home town area. They are also a great alternative for young men and women who are unable to serve full-time missions.

Church service missionaries live at home while serving part-time, anywhere from 8 to 32 hours a week. As of 2006, there were nearly 12,000 Church service missionaries serving worldwide, and Church leaders feel there would be more positions filled if more people knew about the opportunities available.

Church service missionaries have been helping to build and support the operations of the Church worldwide since 1979.  The Church-Service Missionary Program provides a growing and varied number of ways to serve. This important missionary workforce helps many Church operations provide the necessary products and services. And serving others brings great blessings to those missionaries and to the Church.

“There is a wide range of part-time Church-service opportunities available for both young and old. To be recommended as a Church-service missionary, one must be temple worthy, physically and emotionally able to perform required duties, able to support themselves financially, and at least 19 years of age. There is no upper age limit.

The Church maintains listings of these needs on LDS.org. The postings, submitted by Church-service missionary coordinators worldwide, are updated regularly and published online at the Church-Service Mission site. Doctors, hosts, grounds crew—even someone to change the tires in the fleet garage—they are all enlisted as volunteers that help the Church run smoothly…

“The call to fulfill a Church-service mission comes a little differently than a call for a full-time mission. Worthy individuals willing to serve are encouraged to select an open position they feel they are qualified for. In addition to being interviewed by their bishop and stake president, they are often interviewed by the given department or job manager to ensure they are up to the tasks required. They are then called by their stake president—not the prophet—and set apart by their bishop.” (from News of the Church, March 2006, “Many Opportunities for Church-Service Missionaries”)

The Church-Service Mission site has a listing of current openings, answers to frequently asked questions, information on the new Young Church-Service Missionary (YCSM) Program, and the recommendation form for a Church-Service Mission. There are also several good videos on the site which I have posted below for your enjoyment. Enjoy!

Go to the LDS Church-Service Mission website

Video: Addiction Recovery Program: Mormon Church Service Mission Part 1

Not long after Elder and Sister Olsen were married, they felt a desire to serve a mission together. They chose the Church’s Addiction Recovery Program where they learned to serve with unconditional love.

Video: Opportunities for Young Adults: Mormon Church Service Mission Part 2

Elder Warner was serving a full-time mission in Brazil when he had to come home for medical treatment. A little disappointed at first, he chose a Church-Service mission where he could find joy serving God in an unexpected way.

Video: Serving from Home: Mormon Church Service Mission Part 3

Elder Schoonmaker had polio as a child which made a full-time mission impossible. He and his wife chose a Church-Service mission with Family History and were able to work from home.

What is a Mormon Mission?

What is a Mormon mission? On the surface that may seem like a silly question because most of the audience knows exactly what it is already. But I believe, for the benefit of future missionaries as well as for non-Mormon friends that come to this site, it is worth discussing.

A mission, whether religious in nature or not, is defined as “a specific task with which a person or a group is charged.” A religious mission is “a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith.”  Consistent with these definitions from Webster, a Mormon mission is when members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the official name of the Mormon Church) are given the task to actively share their faith with others.mormon missionaries talking to man in street

Varieties of a Mormon Mission

Proselytizing Missions: Nearly all Mormon missionaries serve proselytizing missions in which they devote the majority of their time to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to those unfamiliar with our faith. All missionaries also spend time in community and personal service to others.  The Church even recently announced missionaries will be using Facebook in their work to meet and teach people. Missionaries teach the fundamentals of the gospel of Jesus Christ:

  • that God is our Heavenly Father, He loves us and has a plan for our eternal happiness.
  • that Jesus Christ is our Savior and only by following his teachings can we receive salvation.
  • that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Lord’s instrument in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ after a long period of apostasy.
  • that repentance and baptism are the gateway to eternal life.
  • that through prayer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God guides each of us.

Young Men:  At age 18, young Mormon men are asked to leave their homes for two years and dedicate their lives to missionary service.  Former Church President Spencer W. Kimball was asked a few years ago, “Should every young man who is a member of the Church fill a mission?” He responded with this answer: “Yes, every worthy young man should fill a mission. The Lord expects it of him. And if he is not now worthy to fill a mission, then he should start at once to qualify himself.” (From “President Kimball Speaks Out on Being a Missionary,” New Era, May 1981) Every Church president since then has reiterated that call for all young men to serve a full-time mission.

Young Women: Young Mormon women, called sister missionaries, can go on a one and a half year mission when they turn 19 years old.  Former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, regarding  young sister missionaries, “They perform a remarkable work. They can get in homes where the elders [male missionaries] cannot. But it should be kept in mind that young sisters are not under obligation to go on missions. They should not feel that they have a duty comparable to that of young men, but some will wish to go. If so, they should counsel with their bishop as well as their parents.”  (From “To the Bishops of the Church,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, June 2004)

Senior Couples: When married couples are no longer in  the full-time work force, they are encouraged to go on a proselytizing missions, humanitarian missions, and other types of missions.  Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said this of senior missionaries: “I feel a deep responsibility to speak to you today about a pressing need in the Church. My greatest hope is that as I speak, the Holy Ghost will touch hearts, and somewhere a spouse or two will quietly nudge his or her companion, and a moment of truth will occur. I will speak on the urgent need for more mature couples to serve in the mission field.”  (From Robert D. Hales, “Couple Missionaries: A Time to Serve,” Ensign, May 2001)

church service missionariesChurch Service Missions, Temple Missions, and Others: The types of missions mentioned above are the most common, but there are a wide variety of other types of missions available for older single women, for young people who for health reasons can’t serve a full-time mission, and for others.  “For those [youth honorably excused from full-time missionary labors] . . . , bishops may . . . identify appropriate local opportunities for Church or community service for a specified period of time (usually 6 to 24 months).” (From First Presidency letter, Jan. 30, 2004). See my article for more information on Church Service Missions.