“Opportunities to Serve Abound for Church-Service Missionaries,” Ensign, Aug. 2006, 78–79
Catching Elder Don Ziegler on the phone is difficult.
“Don Ziegler here, wondering if we can burn up some calories here playing phone tag,” he says in a voice-mail message. Chuckling follows. But if the Church-service missionary isn’t out burning calories while climbing the stairs of the Church Office Building, he’s busy promoting fruits and vegetables, planning health fairs, or posting the nutritional value of frozen yogurt in the cafeteria.
It’s part of the calling he and his wife, Sharon, share as Church-service missionaries.
A wide range of part-time Church-service opportunities are available for both young and old. Church-service missionaries must be temple worthy, physically and emotionally able to perform required duties, able to support themselves financially, and at least 19 years old. 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 www.lds.org/csm/0,17022,1,00.html.
Doctors, hosts, grounds crew—even someone to change the tires in the fleet garage—they are all enlisted to help the Church run smoothly.
More than 12,000 Church-service missionaries are currently serving worldwide, but Elder Blaine P. Jensen and Sister Clarice T. Jensen, director and administrative assistant of the entire Church-service missionary program, feel there would be more positions filled if more people knew about the opportunities available.
These missionaries live at home while serving part-time, anywhere from 8 to 32 hours a week, and magnifying their talents in the service of the Lord.
Those who work with Church-service missionaries around the world agree that they bring a special spirit into the workplace.
Elder and Sister Jensen serve as full-time missionaries while they oversee operations of all Church-service missionaries, but they attest that part-time service missions are divinely inspired, just as full-time missions are.
“In Church-service work, as well as all missionary work, you see the Lord’s hand in calling and placing members of the Church,” Elder Jensen says.
However, 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.
Elder Jensen emphasizes that Church-service missions are a secondary choice to full-time proselyting missions.
“But they are an excellent alternative if full-time service is not an option,” he says. “Many who go on service missions end up serving full-time missions later. It’s excellent preparation.”
Some opportunities are age specific, such as the annual call for 35 young (ages 19–24) performing stage and band missionaries to take part in a summer of musical productions in Nauvoo.
Elder Jensen notes what a blessing young service missionaries are, such as those serving in the Audiovisual Department who bring with them a “fresh knowledge” of computers. More than 300 young adults who could not serve full-time missions currently work as Church-service missionaries, but there are still many opportunities for others who wish to serve.
In fact, Sister Mary Alice Hansen, who is 102 years old, put in her request to serve for three years as a host in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. She has served as a Church-service missionary for the past 20 years.
“I’ve just loved it,” Sister Hansen says. “It’s been fun meeting all the people.”
Elder Jensen says: “A Church-service mission is a wonderful and exciting thing for members to do. This sacred service blesses not only the lives of individuals but the entire Church. The rewards of Christ-like service are felt by all involved.
The list of positions can be found online at LDS.org, and many wards and branches print the list of opportunities in their area to display in their building.