LDS Growth Encyclopedia on Missionary Work and Church Growth (Missiology)

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Church Employees Serving in Church Leadership

Author: Matt Martinich

Posted: May 3rd, 2014

The Church has employed members to serve in some educational and maintenance positions for decades such as full-time seminary and institute teachers, and meetinghouse maintenance and security personnel.  The replica rolex watches shop majority of church employees worldwide appear to work in the Church Education System as seminary and institute teachers and coordinators. There are times when church employees also serve in local and regional church leadership positions. The frequency and location of church employees serving in lay church leadership positions provides insight into church growth trends. The frequency and prominence of church employees serving in leadership positions sheds insight into the sustainability of the Church and overall member activity trends on a local and regional level.

The Church has generally had an overrepresentation of Church Education System and other church employees in stake leadership outside the United States. It is common to find at least one church employee in a stake presidency in many stakes outside North America. The primary reason for the frequent assignment of church employees in stake and district presidencies appears centered on local leadership self-sufficiency problems requiring church employees to fill these ecclesiastical positions instead of non-CHURCH Church Education System members within the area. 

The prominence of church employees in congregational, stake, or district leadership sheds light onto the self-sufficiency of the Church. Returned missionaries have observed that church employees act somewhat like an unofficial paid clergy for the Church in locations which experience self-sufficiency problems. At times this dual relationship can be problematic for growth. Some members and missionaries report that there is a disconnect between church employees serving in lay leadership and members and leaders who are not employed by the Church, posing challenges in establishing and maintaining LDS community. Some members have reportedly left the church because they get offended by lay church leaders who also work for the Church.

Information pertaining to employment status for stake presidency members can be found in the LDS Church News. The Church does not publish details on district presidencies in the LDS Church News or elsewhere. Tracking the cheap replica Vacheron Constantin watches frequency of church employees serving in stake presidencies provides excellent insight into church employees serving in lay church leadership. The overrepresentation of church employees in leadership positions occurs for different reasons in various countries and world regions. 

Low member activity rates and a shortage of active priesthood manpower appear the primary reason for the overrepresentation of church employees in lay leadership in some Latin American, Western European, and East Asian countries that experience the most severe inactivity challenges. In Chile, low levels of self-sufficiency in local leadership has been manifest in the overrepresentation of Church Education System employees in leadership positions. At times, Church employees have constituted two of the three members in some stake presidencies. In Peru, nearly all of the 16 Lima stakes which were created or reorganized in 1988 had at least one Church employee in the stake presidency.[1] Many stake presidencies in Peru continue to have church employees. In Portugal, church employees serve regularly in leadership positions likely due to an insufficient number of available priesthood holders as national activity rates are as low as 12%. In Spain, Church Education System employees frequently serve in leadership positions and most stake presidencies have at least one church employee. In Hong Kong, church employees regularly serve in stake presidencies. In Thailand, both counselors in the stake presidency were church employees when the Bangkok Thailand Stake was first organized. In 2001, the stake presidency was reorganized and the stake president of the Bangkok Thailand Stake and his first counselor were both church employees.[2] In Singapore, a stake reorganization resulted with the new president also working for the Church as the Church Education System country director; however, the new counselors did not work for the Church.[3] Church employees serve in lay leadership less frequently in some countries than others with low member activity rates such as Paraguay and Costa Rica.

A lack of economic development, unemployment, underemployment, and financial challenges appears to have increased the frequency of church employees serving in lay leadership positions for some countries in Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia - particularly among countries where the GDP per capita is less than $6,000. In Samoa, LDS Church employees have frequently served in leadership positions and at times church employees have constituted two or three members of a stake presidency. In Kiribati, local leadership supports two stakes but reliance on church employees for leadership positions continues. In 2007, the Church created its second stake in Kiribati and all members of the new stake presidency were church employees.[4] In Fiji, the Church has relied on Church employees to fill leadership positions. When the Suva Fiji North Stake was organized in 1997, two of the three members of the stake presidency worked for the Church.[5] In Papua New Guinea, church employees who provide security and meetinghouse maintenance have regularly served in stake callings for the stake in Port Moresby. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, church employees frequently serve in stake presidencies and stake callings notwithstanding high member activity rates and good self-sufficiency in the Church likely due to extremely low levels of economic development and pervasive poverty. In Mongolia, the first stake president of the Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West Stake was the seminary and institute director for the Church in the country.[6] Low levels of economic development and poverty do not always correlate with greater representation of church employees in lay leadership.  For example, the first stake presidency in the Majuro Marshall Islands Stake consisted entirely of native members who were not church employees[7] notwithstanding a GDP per capita of only $2,500 in 2008;[8] lower than any other country or territory in Oceania with a stake. 

The Church in some countries with relatively few members does not have an overrepresentation of church employees in lay leadership positions such as in most areas of Western Europe, Central Europe, and Scandinavia. The Church in Austria has demonstrated that local leadership can be developed without reliance on church employees to fill leadership positions and that sufficient local leadership can endure for decades despite a relatively tiny LDS membership and few convert baptisms. In Ireland, the Dublin Ireland Stake Presidency had no Church employees when reorganized in 2000[9] and 2009.[10] However this finding is not true for all stakes in Scandinavia. For example, two of the three members of a stake presidency in Finland were Church employees in 2002[11] notwithstanding high self-sufficiency in the Church and moderate member activity rates.

The Church has generally experienced little overrepresentation of church employees in leadership positions in Eastern Europe and in a few countries in Latin America, Asia, and Oceania notwithstanding modest to low member activity rates and, at times, few nominal members in these regions. When the Church created its first stakes in Hungary[12] and Ukraine[13] all members of the first stake presidencies were native members who were not church employees. Few, if any, church employees serve in leadership positions in the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, indicating good self-sufficiency among local priesthood manpower. In Russia, the first stake presidencies of the stakes in Moscow[14] and St Petersburg[15] were all local members who were not church employees. In Uruguay, the Church has developed strong, local leadership who practice a wide range of professions without significant overlap with Church employees. In Indonesia, the first stake presidencies of the first two stakes created in the country in Jakarta[16] and Surakarta[17] were all indigenous members; none of whom appeared to be church employees. In New Caledonia, the first stake presidency had no church employees[18] notwithstanding only 2,000 members on church records.

There are several limitations to assessing self-sufficiency and member activity rates through tracking the frequency of church employees serving in leadership positions.  First, most countries with a church presence do not have a stake and either have districts or mission branches. Second, the Church does not publish information on the occupations of church leaders who serve in district presidencies, branch presidencies, bishoprics, and mission presidencies. Third, church employees serving in leadership positions do not always correlate with low self-sufficiency and high inactivity. Fourth, international church leaders have selected church employees to serve in stake leadership positions due to their often more comprehensive understanding of church administration compared to non-church employee members.

The outlook for future changes in the prevalence of church employees serving in lay leadership positions does not appear to vary noticeably from the past decade. The Church faces shortages of qualified male members to serve in stake presidencies and other administrative callings in many areas of the world. The Church will likely continue to rely on church employees to serve in many of these callings due to their familiarity with church administration, their experience with studying the gospel and teaching, and commitment to the Church as faithful members and employees.


[1]  "New stake presidencies," LDS Church News, 13 February 1988.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/18101/New-stake-presidencies.html

[2]  “New stake presidents,” LDS Church News, 28 July 2001.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/40250/New-stake-presidencies.html

[3]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 5 April 2008.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/51796/New-stake-presidents.html

[4]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 10 February 2007.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/50115/New-stake-presidents.html

[5]  "New stake presidencies," LDS Church News, 30 August 1997.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/29086/New-stake-presidencies.html

[6]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 18 July 2009.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/57608/New-stake-presidents.html

[7]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 18 July 2009.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/57608/New-stake-presidents.html

[8]  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rm.html

[9]  "New stake presidencies," LDS Church News, 27 May 2000.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/37835/New-stake-presidencies.html

[10]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 24 October 2009.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/58126/New-stake-presidents.html

[11]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 9 November 2002.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/42784/New-stake-presidencies.html

[12]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 26 August 2006.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/49368/New-stake-presidents.html

[13]  “New stake presidents,” LDS Church News, 12 June 2004.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/34670/New-stake-presidents.html

[14]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 23 July 2011.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/61187/New-stake-presidents.html

[15]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 19 January 2013.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/63157/New-stake-presidents.html

[16]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 18 June 2011.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/61052/New-stake-presidents.html

[17]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 2 June 2012.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/62399/New-stake-presidents.html

[18]  "New stake presidents," LDS Church News, 23 June 2012.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/62457/New-stake-presidents.html