Family history center directors are seeing more full-time missionaries in their centers. Missionaries can be a great blessing. Working together can bring new vitality and spirit to family history centers. Missionary and new convert experiences are discovery experiences we want to see happening in our family history centers.
The directors of family history centers have been asked to invite missionaries into family history centers as guests and to help them be successful in their work. In the future, greater use of family history centers by missionaries is anticipated. Missionaries will be asked to conduct themselves in a way that is complementary to family history center activities.
Missionaries may bring investigators into the center, but should not actively proselyte in the center except with those who are guests of the missionaries. They should be sensitive to patrons who are using the center. Patrons are given primary access to computers for family history work during the hours when the center is normally open.
Directors often arrange for missionaries to use the family history center outside of normal operating hours. The mission president and stake president may recommend that missionaries be given their own key by the director. When using computers, the missionaries are instructed not to install software, store data (such as videos, pictures, or documents) on computers, or modify or reconfigure family history center computers. Missionaries can be expected to use a variety of social media sites, including Facebook, as directed by their mission president.
Among the many benefits of having full-time missionaries in the family history centers are the following:
- Patrons can get to know the missionaries who frequent the family history center. When gospel questions come from patrons, missionaries can help answer the questions because center staff and patrons already know and trust the missionaries.
- As missionaries develop a relationship with the director and staff of the family history center, they will be more inclined to bring investigators into the center and introduce them to the resources that are available there. Studies have shown that new members who are introduced to family history and temple work have a significantly higher retention rate.
- Missionaries themselves get excited about family history when they visit family history centers. Some missionaries have even used part of their preparation-day to add stories in Family Tree about their ancestors!
Look forward to the opportunity to have missionaries frequently in your family history center. The work of the missionaries and of the family history center will both be blessed as you build relationships of trust. Patrons will be blessed with discovery experiences, which will increase energy in your center and bring enthusiasm for this great work.