In the Catholic youth ministry world, there’s often a big difference between the bringers and everyone else. The bringers carry somebody or something. They seek or form community and make things happen. It’s not unusual to go to the smallest parish and find someone serving teens there who isn’t small at all. Sometimes, this is an unpaid servant, someone that’s inherited or acquired their mission out of necessity. There is amazing ministry happening there. Anyway, you can’t just say you’re a bringer and be one. It takes a lot of prayer and surrender to be a real bringer!
Bringers are servants who are actively praying and looking for new ministry ideas, actively seeking out more teens and volunteers, actively engaging young people and adults–and are not simply accepting what’s seen as a given and drag along with things because “that is the way we have always done youth ministry.” Bringers are often youth leaders that make the effort to pray about what God is asking, take on new challenges and work on coming to grips with things they are being asked to do for God. They seek out new teens and new opportunities and delight in the uneasiness that comes from being challenged to grow in holiness (and challenging others to do the same).
The history of the Catholic Church is filled with bringers. Mary the mother of God is often referred to as a bringer, St. Luke and St. Lucy’s names mean “bringer of light” and many of the saints set quite an example of what it means to be a bringer. Many priests I know are also bringers. Of course, the ultimate bringer is Jesus Christ! So Jesus death was the bringer to the nought of Death; for through Him life is made to reign, and through Him Death is abolished, to whom it is said:— O Death, where is your victory? 1 Corinthians 15:55
So how do you become a bringer? It starts with a choice, the decision to be aware and engaged, to pray about what God is asking you to do. Once you know what God is asking – do that, nothing more, nothing less and nothing else!
The number of bringers is growing. Young adults are choosing to jump off the corporate band wagon and serve the Church. At Life Teen our camp summer staffs and missionary programs are expanding as more and more young people decide to be bringers. A big part of this is a function of our ability to pray more, frequent the Sacraments, simplify and avoid working 14 hours a day in a ministry solely wrapped in “doing” rather than “being”, but part of the growth is the ease with which young people are seeing it as possible through a missionary heart to find and connect with other bringers.
One of the new challenges of our Church may be to form mission bases that engage and coordinate bringers. These communities are not separate but connected to and serving parishes, wherever there is a need for Evangelization. After all, true communion especially in Eucharist centered communities have been the places that radical servants and missionary disciples have always come from.
Once you identify this as your mission, to be a bringer, you save a lot of time and fear in your ministry. If the people around you choose not be bringers, I don’t know what you can do to change their minds. After all being a bringer is something that only the Holy Spirit can inspire. On the flip side, the rhythm of prayer and engagement bringers are living is going to grow in momentum over time, it is contagious, and you have all the tools crucial to be part of it-to be a bringer at the beginning of the new bringer movement.
It’s your choice – Do you consider yourself a bringer and if not do you desire the Holy Spirit to inspire you to become one?