Tuesday, December 9, 2008

District Leaders and Sister Leaders on an LDS Mission

Recently I perused the Daejeon Korea blog where I found a description by Mary Perriton about new district and sister leaders. I am not sure if every mission has sister leaders but I do know that my own daughter was a coordinating sister in the MTC prior to serving in the mission under President Perriton. Sister Perriton wrote:

Every zone has from 2-4 districts and each district has from 4-10 missionaries. District leaders have many responsibilities such as supervising, teaching and inspiring the missionaries in his district, planning and conducting weekly meetings, interviewing baptismal candidates and generally looking after the well being of the missionaries of his stewardship.

Sister leaders responsibilities include coordinating sister exchanges, promoting harmony and setting an example through obedience, hard work, proselyting skills and other aspects of missionary work.

These leaders are key to the success of the mission!
In the West Indies Mission I found an excerpt from the mission presidents' handbook which states the responsibilities of district leaders:
1. Sets an example for his district through his study of the scriptures and the gospel, obedience, hard work, proselyting skills and other aspects of
missionary work.

2. Carries a full proselyting load in his assigned area and works with faith and diligence to accomplish his proselyting purpose.

3. Supervises, teaches, and inspires the missionaries in his district. He serves them in the same way he strives to serve his investigators--by strengthening their faith in Jesus Christ and inviting them to repent and keep their commitments so that they will enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

4. Plans and conducts weekly district meetings.

5. Conducts companion exchanges with the missionaries in his district.

6. Interviews baptismal candidates within his district, including those taught by zone leaders in his district.

7. Looks after the well-being of the missionaries in his district.

8. Makes sure relationships between elders and sisters are in harmony with gospel teachings and missionary standards.

9. Demonstrates effective planning.

10. Follows up with the missionaries on referrals.

11. Reports concerns to the zone leaders. If these concerns are confidential or urgent, he should report them directly to the mission president. (The junior companion of a district leader should not be given any title.)
I am not sure of the effectiveness of every district leader but for the most part they do a good job directing the elders and sisters and fulfilling the points above. They receive training from their mission president, two mission assistants, and two zone leaders. Usually every six months there is a district leader conference where they are instructed by mission leaders. Usually there are between four to eight zones in each mission with about four districts to zone making between ten to twenty districts depending on the number of missionaries. Mission range from 100-260 missionaries. An average district is usually about six to ten elders. There are some as small as four elders but usually none larger than ten elders. Personally I served in districts of about six missionaries. On occasion there were a couple of sisters in my districts.

I saw different configurations on my mission where depending on the population base in large cities there might be a sister district leader or coordinating sisters. In more sparse population areas they were directly under the elder district leaders and zone leaders. There were also hybrids where they had their own districts but answered to an missionary elder zone leader. It was very confusing at times for me. It depending on the mission presidents preferences. I served under three different presidents and saw conservative male dominated leadership to more enlightened leadership under President Ballard.

In most missions district leaders meet with the elders in their districts at least once a week. They are in frequent contact by telephone or on-site visits. They go on missionary exchanges overnight about once a month. The district leader interviews candidates for baptism which is an awesome responsibility for a young elder to determine the moral or ethical worthiness of candidates for baptism. They make sure that the elders and sisters comply with mission rules.

Serving as a district leader in a mission prepares them for leadership positions when they return home from their missions. Since there are no longitudinal studies to prove this I would have to conduct an informal poll to find out if they were affected by this experience. Unfortunately I would also have too small of a sample population to be very meaningful. It would be more anecdotal unless we could get a sizable group or respondents.

It would be useful to find out the impressions of former district leaders since there isn't much about their culture and climate out there.

District Leader and Sister Leader Poll

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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