Sunday, September 5, 2010

Potential New Missions in Nations without a Latter-day Saint Mission

In an era of increasing opportunity for the Church to expand its presence worldwide but with no growth in the number of full-time missionaries over the past decade, there are many areas which appear suitable to have LDS missions established but have likely not had a mission organized due to inadequate missionary manpower. In the 1990s, many nations had their first LDS missions established but had fewer than 500 members and some with just one or two branches. Today there are many nations which enjoy religious freedom and experienced moderate to rapid membership and congregational growth. Below is a list of likely future LDS missions in nations without current LDS missions. Nations without LDS missions which appear most likely to have a mission headquartered in their country are all concentrated in Africa. These missions may be organized once the number of missionaries serving internationally increases, additional missionary resource redistribution occurs, or the complement (quota) of missionaries in established missions declines to allow the creation of additional missions.

  • Togo Lome Mission (to administer Togo and Benin - combined population of 15 million, currently 1,200 members in seven branches)
  • Cameroon Yaounde Mission (to administer Cameroon and the Central African Republic - combined population of 24 million, currently 1,250 members in six branches)
  • Ethiopia Addis Ababa Mission (to administer Ethiopia and Djibouti - combined population of 86 million, currently 1,000 members in five branches)
  • Burundi/Rwanda Mission (to administer Burundi and Rwanda - combined population of 20 million, currently less than 100 members in one branch)
  • Zambia Lusaka Mission (to administer Zambia and Malawi - combined population of 27 million, currently 3,100 members in 13 branches)
  • Angola Luanda Mission (to administer Angola - population of 12.8 million, currently 831 members in two branches and two groups)
  • Tanzania Dar Es Salaam Mission (to administer Tanzania - population of 41 million, currently 950 members in five branches)
If the above missions were organized, missionary outreach would not only expand in the nations covered by these prospective missions but also would allow for expansion national outreach in the nations in which current missions operate. For example, the Kenya Nairobi Mission administers Tanzania currently and Kenya alone has a population of 39 million, a rapidly growing Latter-day Saint population of 9,400, and 36 wards and branches. There are tens of millions of Kenyans which reside in areas without nearby Latter-day Saint congregations. Reducing the demands on the mission president while simultaneously developing indigenous missionary resources and increasing the number of missionaries serving in the country allows for greater outreach to occur.

Relying on full-time missionaries is not a successful paradigm to ensure long-term growth. Rather, local members throughout the world need to participate in member-missionary efforts. These in turn result in better convert retention, increases in full-time missionaries serving, and leadership for the future.


rfelsted said...

To Matt:

Excellent post! It's so true that opening these nations as mission headquarters would not only expand work there but free up resources in neighboring countries where we're already so well established.

A quick check on congregational growth (not counting groups) shows Africa at the end of 2008 with 731, at the end of 2009 with 802, and currently with 841. Nowhere has there been such growth on a consistent basis than in Africa in recent years.

The nations analyzed in your post have over 225 million people and the potential growth is phenomenal. Thanks very much for your efforts.

keith said...
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keith said...

Regarding member missionary work from book: Law of the Harvest.
"Christian researcher George Barna found that only 26 percent of Latter-day Saints reported making any attempt to share their faith within the past year, compared to 61 percent of Pentecostals, 61 percent of Assemblies of God members, and 57 percent of nondenominational Christians. The 26 percent figure for Latter-day Saints is not significantly different from the 24 percent of all adults nationwide who report making some attempt to share faith, but it is significantly lower than that of many outreach-oriented faiths."
There are two ways to read this information:
1. That the average mormon is less motivated, have less faith and is lazyer than others.
2. That there are some major flaws in the LDS membermissionary culture and programs.
I believe that it is 2. that we somehow have been doing something wrong.

Nau Properties said...

Great blog. Where do you get all of your data?

Matt said...

Information regarding church membership and congregations comes from church websites. Population figures were retrieved from the CIA World Factbook.