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A Service Mission

We are all spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father. He sent us to earth with different abilities and talents. With these abilities, each of us can give meaningful service to help build the kingdom of God on the earth.

Able to Serve (4:58)

What is a service missionary?

Service missionaries are young adult men ages 18–25 and young adult women ages 19–25. They serve for 6 to 24 months near where they live. They serve as close to full-time as possible. Some serve at Church operations. Some also serve at nonprofit community organizations. They may also fulfill assignments from their stake president or bishop. They do not proselyte.

Why do they serve?

We are all spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father. He sent us to earth with different abilities and talents. With these abilities, each of us can give meaningful service to help build the kingdom of God on the earth.

The Lord said, “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:3). Almost every young adult who is worthy and has the desire may be called as a service missionary. Teaching missions and service missions are both acceptable offerings to the Lord.

Who can serve?
  • Worthy young adult men ages 18–25 who have been honorably excused from serving a teaching mission for health or other reasons.
  • Worthy young adult women ages 19–25 who have been honorably excused from serving a teaching mission.
  • Worthy teaching missionaries who have returned home early due to accident, illness, or similar conditions. They may finish their term of service as service missionaries.

Standards of worthiness are the same as for full-time teaching missionaries.

The bishop and stake president may honorably excuse a young adult from serving a teaching mission when appropriate. If they have a question about a young adult’s capacity to serve a teaching mission, they may request an evaluation from an LDS development counselor. This evaluation can help them decide. The decision is subject to review by the Missionary Department.

How are assignments made?

Service missions are custom designed to fit the abilities of the missionaries. Service missions require specific abilities, so candidates may need to explore several options to find a good fit.

Each missionary’s strengths, talents, and abilities are considered in designing the mission and selecting the service locations and schedule. The stake president, bishop, local service missionary facilitator, and stake service missionary specialist work with the missionary to customize a service mission.

Where do they serve?

Service missionaries live at home and serve locally. Some of the opportunities for service missionaries are listed below:

  • Care for the poor and needy by serving in a Church welfare operation.
  • Serve at an approved nonprofit organization.
  • Serve individuals and families.
  • Serve in the family history program.
  • Serve in a mission office.
  • Support seminary and institute and other Church programs.
  • Complete special projects as assigned by a stake president or bishop.
Who pays for a service mission? What are the costs?

Missionaries and their families pay the expenses of their missionary service. Expenses include transportation, food, clothing, medical and dental care, and medical insurance. There may also be other expenses.

How are candidates recommended for service?
  1. The bishop meets with the potential service missionary. He interviews the candidate to ensure worthiness and confirm the desire and ability to serve. He also confirms that he or she will live according to the mission rules. These are outlined in the Service Missionary Handbook.
  2. If the candidate qualifies, the bishop recommends him or her online.

For more information about the recommendation process, see the Service Missionary Resource Book.