Church announces social media missionary efforts

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.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

10 thoughts on “Church announces social media missionary efforts

  1. But seriously, I only caught bits and pieces of today’s meeting, so I don’t know the details. But I have to wonder what the effect will be of mass members of our missionary force spending loads of time online. Will missionaries spend time on blogs and social media, searching out conversations about Mormonism that they can enter. Because if so, that sounds fascinating, but also seems like a huge hot potato.

  2. I’m not worried about potential downsides – sometimes the Church has to learn from its mistakes too. (Case in point: to save on plumbing, my stake center and the stake centers to the NE and SW each have one set of bathrooms, with water fountains only on that same side of the building. It’s a long walk to them from anywhere in the building except for the YW area, the kitchen, and one corner of the gym.)

    I don’t see tracting (or other direct finding – I would love to see more streetboards in downtowns here like we did in Italy) going away. The point I saw made last night was to keep the missionaries busy enough that they don’t have time to do that, but the fact remains that they will have at least some. (I would like to see the Church ramp up TV and Internet ads a bit – they would reach more people who want to hear than door to door.)

    I do think having the meetinghouse open for tours, or even to meet and have lessons, is a good idea. That way investigators don’t walk in on Sunday to a crowded building and have no idea what’s where or how things work. Some folks on BCC are griping that some of our buildings are too shabby for that, but they’re what we have, and they’re where potential converts will have to go anyway. (And we can dispel the myth that are meetinghouses, like the temples, are closed to nonmembers, even for funerals.)

  3. Good point, Aaron B. I gathered that members will be encouraged to add their local missionaries to their Facebook feed, Google+ circle or whatever, so ideally there will be some overlap between the local area and the internet work. That itself could be a little sticky, though, if missionaries are trying to use it as a direct conversion tool and time use.

  4. Members should be reminded to upload a photo for them and/or their family on the LDS.org unit directory. This will allow missionaries to get to know the members better.

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