Church leadership held a special broadcast on missionary work Sunday and, among other things, announced that missionaries would be spending time on social media networks in an effort to improve missionary work.
Elder (L. Tom) Perry also announced changes Sunday in how missionaries will spend their time finding people to teach. Because many people prefer to connect online, missionaries will use the Internet and digital devices in their ministry, Elder Perry said. He noted that missionaries will use “mormon.org, Facebook, blogs, email, … text messages” and other platforms to reach out to people. “The Church must adapt to a changing world,” Elder Perry said.
Speaking earlier in the day to new mission presidents, Church leaders said that missionary use of the Internet and digital devices such as iPads will begin in phases and only in designated missions for the rest of this year. The Church anticipates these tools will be available to missionaries throughout the world sometime next year.
Church leaders also announced a surge in interest in missionary work.
The number of missionaries continues to rise since President Monson’s October 2012 announcement of lower missionary age requirements. At the time of the announcement, 58,500 missionaries were serving; as of this week, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, more than 70,000 missionaries are serving — the most ever at one time in Church history.
Female missionaries comprise more than 20 percent of that number, with 14,650 serving. As the Church announced in April 2013, the increasing number of female missionaries has led to the creation of a mission leadership council that will include both men and women as missionary leaders. This council will consist of the mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders and sister training leaders — a newly created role.
As the Church reported in February 2013, 58 new missions were created to accommodate the influx of missionaries, bringing the total number of missions to 405. By year’s end, the Church anticipates having 85,000 missionaries.