When I was in high school my parish didn’t have life teen. Instead, I went to “faith sharing” at the Barrys’, a married couple about my parent’s age that had formerly been missionaries. When their children were young, they packed up their family and traveled to various countries sharing the Word of God and the catholic faith. Because of their witness and the witness of many couples in my parish community, I always connected being a missionary to someone on a foreign mission. I saw their sacrifice of house and belongings, but missed the sacrifice of self and the urgent mission placed on their hearts by God.
Fast-forward to 2008, when Life Teen Camp Covecrest was entering their 2nd year with a missionary community and the Life Teen Mesa office welcomed their first missionary community. I continued to separate missionaries from staff, failing to connect that God had all of us on a mission. That mission had little to do with Life Teen but everything to do with my obedience to God’s will in my life.
Over this past year as the missionary model continues to unfold, I have finally embraced that I am a missionary. Being a missionary doesn’t look the way I previously envisioned it. I’m not living in a foreign country or traveling in a van around the united States. I have a roof over my head, a paycheck coming in and a supportive community surrounding me. nonetheless, the mission I have been commissioned for is the same mission God charged all christians with in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus didn’t commission the remaining 11 apostles; he commissioned all of us for a mission. “The mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the church, is still very far from completion,” declared Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio. “It is the Spirit who impels us to proclaim the great words of God: ‘for if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. for necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel’” (1 Corinthians 9:16). our prayer should be that we, like Pope John Paul II,“sense an urgent duty to repeat this cry of St. Paul.”
Whether or not you see yourself as a missionary, God desires a relationship with you that is transparent and pure.your relationship with him, no matter how imperfect or perfect, broken or whole, is precious and protected by his Body and Blood.your relationship with christ is more important than any life night or retreat you’ll ever plan.your authenticity with God will allow your teens to encounter the person of christ within you. Your acknowledgement of sin and pride will allow you to seek reconciliation,“that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). consider your relationship with God to be the foundational mission upon your soul, so you can clearly see and hear his primary mission for your life.
This training resource is a tool to evaluate your personal spirituality and allow your Core Team to support one another on mission.your Baptism empowers you with all the necessary gifts of the holy Spirit.“Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these” (John 14:12). God has a plan for your core team community. using the Life Teen Missionary Rules of Life, I ask you to take time as a core team to honestly assess where you are in relationship with God and where you desire to be.
Western region director