Missionary Daily Schedule and Key Indicators

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1 Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, January 25, 2017 Missionary Daily Schedule and Key Indicators Elder Brent H. Nielson Of the Seventy Elder Brent H. Nielson: Elder Oaks, our next subject addresses two recent policy directions regarding the missionary daily schedule and key indicators. With your permission, I d like to go to the podium and present those. Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Please do. Elder Brent H. Nielson: Elders and sisters, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have announced changes to the missionary daily schedule and to key indicators, and we d like to share with you those changes in your schedule now. The purpose of the new daily schedule is to help missionaries be more productive each day, set more inspired goals and plan more effectively, be more healthy, and use their agency to make righteous decisions about how best to spend their time. We d first like to address the missionary daily schedule.

2 All of you are familiar with the current daily schedule. What we would like to do is to share with you the changes that will be made. Proselyting. Lunch and dinner. Lunch for 30 minutes and dinner for 60 minutes. Language study: between 30 and 60 minutes. There may be some languages that may be easier than others. You may be a new missionary and need more time for language study. And so that s become more flexible. The First Twelve Weeks course will now be 30 minutes instead of an hour. In your Missionary Handbook, it indicates that the mission president will customize the daily schedule according to local circumstances and to the missionaries needs. (See Missionary Handbook [2006], 14.) Your mission president is authorized, as we go through this schedule, to make the changes that need to be made for your own circumstances. We ll be sending new materials that will help us adjust to that change and that schedule. Finally, preparation for bed, journal writing, and sufficient sleep. Our hope is that every schedule will include those items. I d like to give you an example of a missionary daily schedule. The components of the new schedule for missionaries will include the following: Exercise for 30 minutes. Our hope is that all of you will do this every day. It s important for your health that you do that. Planning for 30 minutes every day. Personal study for 60 minutes every day. Companionship study now has some more flexibility: between 30 and 60 minutes, depending upon your schedule that day or that week. In this example, a missionary would arise at 6:30 a.m. That missionary would pray, exercise for 30 minutes, shower, eat breakfast, and prepare for the day. And then you ll notice that we ve changed the time for planning to be in the morning rather than during your evening schedule. We would also have personal study remain during that morning time. We would then encourage you to go out into the work. And in the afternoon, during your proselyting time between 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 2

3 p.m., you as a companionship will decide when you ll do companionship study, when you ll do the First Twelve Weeks study, and when you ll do language study. You, of course, will also decide when lunch and dinner will take place. This gives you flexibility in your schedule. You can do this during downtime or during a time that you re at the chapel, where you don t need to go back home to your apartment to do these things. This will allow you an opportunity to make those decisions together as a companionship. We recommend that you return to the living quarters at 9:00 p.m., unless you re teaching an investigator, and that would remain as it is, that you could come back at 9:30 p.m. Finally, you would write in your journal, prepare for bed, and pray. You ll notice that we are encouraging you to retire to your bed somewhere between 9:30 and 10:30. This gives you an opportunity to go to bed an hour earlier if you need the additional sleep. You and your companion should be sure that you do that together. You ll make those decisions in your companionship and you ll go to bed at the same time. We re hoping that those of you who need additional rest will take advantage of that, but we want to be sure that everyone is in bed by 10:30 p.m. You may be serving in a country where that schedule will not particularly work for the culture where you live. they re out in the work from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. You ll notice that, again, the companionship has the option to decide when during the day they ll do their companionship study, their Twelve Weeks study, their language study, and have lunch and dinner. They ll return to the living quarters at 10:00 p.m., write in their journal, prepare for bed, and then retire to their bed between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. You may be serving in a place similar to Africa where we hope our missionaries are back in their apartments so that they re not out after dark. In this situation, your schedule might be that you would arise at 6:00 a.m., exercise, and go out at 8:00 a.m. You ll proselyte from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and then return to the living quarters at 6:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., you would have dinner, you d plan, and do your personal study. At 8:30 p.m., write in your journal, prepare for bed, and retire to bed between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. This is an example of a daily schedule in Latin America where the missionaries arise at 7:30 a.m., pray, exercise, shower, plan, and do their personal study between 7:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. And then We re also making changes in the preparation day schedule. We re hoping to give you more time on preparation day to do the long list of things that you 3

4 need to accomplish during that day. And so you ll notice that you ll arise at 6:30 a.m., you ll pray, eat breakfast, prepare for the day, plan for 30 minutes, and do personal study just for 30 minutes on preparation day. You ll notice that we re not going to do companionship study, language study, Twelve Week study all of those things will no longer be done on preparation day. Your preparation day will then begin at 8:00 a.m., and from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. you ll have the opportunity to accomplish all of those things that are listed on the daily schedule. Your proselyting time will begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m., just like the regular daily schedule. We would hope that you d be in by 9:00 p.m., unless you re teaching an investigator, and that you would retire to your bed between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Brothers and sister of this council, share with us your feelings about this change to the missionary daily schedule. Why do you think this will be important for them as they increase their productivity and become better at teaching repentance and baptizing converts? Any thoughts? Elder Dallin H. Oaks: I think it would be appropriate for us to hear from Sister Oscarson, who, in addition to being a member of this council, has been the wife of a mission president and has seen missionary work up close from that important point of view. What improvements do you see here, Sister Oscarson? Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson: The thing I love about this new schedule is that it allows the missionaries to exercise their agency to determine how to best use their time. It shows that the Lord trusts them to use their time wisely, to be inspired as to how to use their time, and to make adjustments as needed that will benefit them. I love that aspect of it, that agency aspect. Elder Dallin H. Oaks: That s surely the most significant change in the schedule to give the mission, the missionaries, and also mission presidents the latitude to make the necessary decisions and adjustments in the daily work of the missionary. Elder Neil L. Andersen: I m sure that when it was announced, the changes for preparation day, there was a big roar across the world. And well, there should have been. But I m hopeful that in giving more flexibility and more time on preparation day, some of the things that we ve had to squeeze in during the week will not have to be done then that in fact, they can be done on preparation day. Then on those days of proselyting we can keep those focused in sharing the gospel and teaching the Restoration. Bishop W. Christopher Waddell: I think it s significant also, and I know flexibility has always been there, but it s nice to see that whether it s Africa or Latin America or whatever the case might be, to have the flexibility to adjust the schedule according to the culture and according to the circumstances. Time is such a precious commodity on the mission, and to use it well and to exercise that agency, wherever you re serving, will be a blessing to the missionaries and to the work they re doing. Elder Dallin H. Oaks: There s also an implication in this change that extends into the missionary s life after they re released, and that s a very important consideration. Elder Nielson, explain that to us, please. Elder Brent H. Nielson: Well, our hope is that by giving missionaries the flexibility to decide on their schedule when they re going to read the scriptures, when they re going to pray, when they re going to do those things that it will allow them, after their mission, to make that smooth transition into their life and have that same flexibility as they have those same goals to continue to pray, read their scriptures, and to remain close to the Lord in their life after-mission. 4

5 Elder David A. Bednar: I think one other thing that s intriguing about this is that this is a worldwide church, and one size doesn t fit all, coming out of Salt Lake City. So to be able to make that adjustment in areas and missions I think is very significant. Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Well, this is a very significant change and so regarded by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve who have approved it. What else do you have for us that s new, Elder Nielson? Elder Brent H. Nielson: Thank you, Elder Oaks. We would like to talk about key indicators for conversion. We ve learned that key indicators are powerful, but they do not describe all that leads to conversion. We ve also learned that too many key indicators can cause missionaries to lose focus on their purpose to teach repentance and to baptize converts. We ve also learned that there are a few key indicators that clearly are key to convert baptisms and that the missionaries need to be involved in those specific activities that help lead to baptism. And finally, we ve learned that all the principles found in Preach My Gospel are important and should be applied, such as member-missionary work, helping people make and keep commitments, and, of course, contacting referrals. The changes to key indicators are not taking away from anything that s currently in Preach My Gospel, and our hope is that the missionaries will continue to do those things. All of the missionaries know that in Preach My Gospel it indicates, Key indicators have been identified by Church leaders to help you focus on [your] purpose. As you focus on these [key] indicators, you will help people progress toward baptism, confirmation, continued activity...,and lasting conversion (Preach My Gospel, 138). We ve learned some interesting things about key indicators over the years, and I d like to just share with you what it is that we ve learned. The key indicators moving forward that we will look to, then, will be: first of all, investigators baptized and confirmed, investigators with a baptismal date, investigators who attend sacrament meeting, and finally, new investigators. Those will be the four key indicators that we report on and that we use here at Church headquarters and in the mission. 5

6 nine, take it up to the new level. So often missionaries will focus on things that don t help them fulfill their purpose, as we ask them to teach repentance and baptize converts. Missionaries who focus on these four key indicators will have greater success in teaching repentance and baptizing converts. And so the actions that will be taken will be as follows: Effective immediately, missions will only report these four indicators to Church headquarters. Missions will no longer have an open key indicator. Our hope in that is that they will focus specifically on these four key indicators that actually lead to baptism. And finally, when completing the Progress Record, only fill in the four key indicators in the Key Indicator table. Elder Oaks, that s the announcement. I would ask the council the same thing I did with the new schedule: What are your thoughts about what the reduction of these key indicators will do in helping our missionaries teach repentance and baptize converts? Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Before inviting council members to respond to that important question, I would simply share with our missionaries worldwide that these changes in key indicators have been discussed for about six months, prayerfully pondered over, counseling with other councils and leaders that we have. So this is not something lightly done it s something very deliberately done and prepared for announcement in this unique broadcast that we have to all the missionaries. Now, how do we respond to Elder Nielson s question? Elder Stephen B. Allen: I m reminded of your talk called Good, Better, Best, Elder Oaks. (See Ensign or Liahona, November 2007, ) The original nine key indicators in Preach My Gospel were all good. These four key indicators, which are part of those Elder David A. Bednar: I think there s a great model for the missionaries to observe, and that is this: we continue to learn. We began with nine, and this is not to suggest that anything in the nine were deficient; it s just that if we want to have key indicators, we now know more about what s key than we did when we started with nine. So line upon line, precept upon precept, we learn, we improve, and we adapt as we move forward. I think that s a great model for all of us to pay attention to. Elder Neil L. Andersen: I think it also emphasizes that we don t set aside, totally, the others. For example, it is very important to have members present when you re teaching, and the number of lessons taught is important. But we want to emphasize the fact that, as it says in Preach My Gospel, until you find someone to teach, nothing happens. And that s the first step. Then, if they don t come to sacrament meeting, it s rare that they ll ever be baptized, or they shouldn t be baptized. And the focus on baptism says clearly, We want conversion. We want to teach repentance and baptize converts. And we re not going away from that; we re going toward that baptizing converts. Elder Dallin H. Oaks: And the objective of the key indicators is to affect the behavior of missionaries, because what we are asked to report influences what we do. So we re trying to influence the choices of missionaries and how they spend their time. And that s why these indicators are key. Elder Brent H. Nielson: Thank you for that wonderful feedback. 6

7 2017 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. English approval: 12/16. PD

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