Monday, September 9, 2019

Updated Country Profile - Sri Lanka

Click here to access the updated Reaching the Nations country profile for Sri Lanka. The Church in Sri Lanka has experienced some of the slowest growth among Asian nations with a Church presence for over 40 years. As of year-end 2018, there were approximately 1,600 members, four branches, and one member group. Only about 25% of members appear to regularly attend church. Nevertheless, there have been some recent positive developments, such as sustained annual membership growth rates of 5% or higher per year since 2015, the full-time missionary force solely comprised to Sri Lankan members (with the exception of senior couples), and the creation of a second branch in Colombo. Also, senior missionaries a couple years ago reported that church attendance in Kandy increased from 15 to 115 in less than six months (albeit it is unclear whether this increase has since been sustained). See below for the Future Prospects section of this article.

Accelerated membership growth since the mid-2010s and the organization of a second branch in Colombo point to some recent improvements in growth trends. This has been significant given that only local Sri Lankan members and senior couples have served in Sri Lanka as full-time missionaries during this time. However, missionary efforts have not been able to replicate more rapid membership growth attained by foreign, fulltime missionaries during the 2000s, albeit a higher percentage of recent converts appears to have been retained. Branches in Negombo and Kandy may divide when warranted by sustained growth in active membership. Additional branches or member groups in lesser-reached areas of the Colombo metropolitan area appear most favorable for future efforts to expand outreach due to high population density, proximity to other branches, and difficulty accessing the meetinghouse from more distant urban areas. Once there are at least five branches, over 120 active Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and 1,900 members a stake may be established, although current trends suggest that this goal is far distant especially given low member activity rates. Improving convert retention through approaches tailored to the needs of individuals of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds and careful preparation of prospective converts to ensure that gospel habits are in place will be crucial to achieving real long-term growth.

8 comments:

Unknown said...

Is the requirement of 120 active Melchizedek priesthood holders in order to organize a stake standard throughout the church or unique to this situation?

Matt said...

Standard

The Accountant said...

Just wanted to confirm that the missionary planner was switched from six weeks in between transfers to 5 weeks. My son, who is on a mission, received his last week in preparation for the upcoming transfer. The new planner will take him thru one week after General Conference. Speculation among the missionaries is that 5 weeks lines up with a longer mission time of 36 months as well as the standard 18 months. Who knows though???

James Anderson said...

That is common for the interval between transfers to vary, usually 4 to 6 weeks. I had four week time frames, but occasionally they would go five and once six

David Todd said...

The new Preach my Gospel (2018) has made changes to "Chapter 8: How Do I Use my Time Wisely?" that would imply 5 week transfers is the new standard. I first noticed this back in March or April, but I have no idea when the new planners were implemented.

John Pack Lambert said...

In I believe 1999 transfers were moved from 4 weeks to 6 weeks. When I started my mission our zone conference schedule was still monthly so we could have 2 zone conferences in a transfer but later we moved to zone conferences set to 1 per transfer.

Also when I started my mission in theory we could go to the temple any week it was open on preparation day. Later they restricted us to once a transfer except the newest missionaries and their companions who could go twice a transfer.

The Accountant said...

As mentioned by John, 4 week transfers faded away 20 years ago and six week transfers became the norm. So moving to 5 week transfers is a change. I will have to read the updated version of Preach my Gospel.

Eduardo said...

With 4 week transfers like in my mission days, we had 12 per year, basically once per month. With 5 week intervals makes it more like 10 per year.
Sounds good.