The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a new website designed to recruit senior missionaries and help them find opportunities to serve.
Seniormissionary.lds.org aims to better connect potential senior missionaries with volunteer opportunities that best suit their lifestyles and preferences.
This is also part of an effort by the Church to better utilize technology in missionary work — in this case, helping members identify the right missionary opportunities for them.
“The website that we've created is a wonderful thing for us because we've taken all of the departments in the Church that need senior missionaries and who have been recruiting senior missionaries, and we've brought them all together on one website,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson, executive director of the Missionary Department.
“Senior missionaries are absolutely critical to our work, and we have thousands of them serving. But we only have about half of what we need,” explained Elder Nielson. “We hope that in the retirement plans of senior couples and their plans for what they want to do in their life, that included in that is the opportunity to go serve a mission.”
The new site is easy to use and interactive, allowing members to compile an online wish list of service opportunities. Candidates use tools to input their preferences, including how long they want to serve, the level of expenses they can afford each month and where they would like to live. They can also indicate special language skills, preferred assignments and any medical needs that could impact their service.
After searching, users can browse lists of available service opportunities that match the detailed criteria. They add their choices to a cart and submit them to their local Church leaders, who are responsible for forwarding their recommendation to serve to Church headquarters.
While finding these opportunities can greatly help Church leaders in making appropriate assignments for individuals and couples, the call to serve full-time ultimately comes from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“What we're trying to do is to allow a couple, in their very own home, to sit down at their own computer,” said Elder Nielson. “They can see at a glance all the opportunities all around the world — and technology has just opened up to us the ability to do that — and then to match their abilities with the needs that we have.”
For those unable to leave home to serve as full-time missionaries, opportunities for part-time and full-time Church-service missions are also listed on the website. These opportunities allow missionaries to live at home while serving in assignments within their own communities.
Missionaries serve voluntarily and at their own expense. Church leaders have regularly encouraged couples and single sisters to consider serving as senior missionaries. Opportunities for service include humanitarian work, family history, teaching, leadership training, public affairs, health and education and other areas.