Being a “missionary” sounds exciting, radical and even exotic to some. But did you know that every Christian is called to be missionary? Regardless of our age, gender, job title, birth order, vocation or even denomination, Jesus commands us at his Ascension to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 29:18). Our families, our parishes and even Life Teen exist to fulfill this great commission. On World Mission Sunday, October 18, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI put it this way:
The goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God, so that in Him they may reach their full potential and fulfillment. We should have a longing and a passion to illumine all peoples with the light of Christ that shines on the face of the Church, so that all may be gathered into the one human family, under God’s loving fatherhood.
The foundation of missions, the foundation of our church, the foundation of our very lives is God’s love. Pope John Paul II tells us that the church is missionary not for what we do but for who we are. The church is missionary by her very nature. So that is where we start – not with the list of things that Life Teen missionaries do but who we are.
So what does it really mean to be a Life Teen missionary? It means a life committed to prayer, community and mission. With a rigorous prayer life that includes daily mass, morning, evening and night prayer in the Liturgy of the hours, daily holy hours, Life Teen missionaries take the time to get to know our loving God. In knowing and loving God, we come to know who we are in him. Apart from Him we are nothing and can do nothing. Founded in prayer, we are committed to community. We live in community houses and commit to sharing our love relationship with God with others in the community. Scripture tells us that others will know we are Christians by how we love one another. All are welcome to join in our community life for a day, a week or more. Finally, filled with God’s love, rooted in our identity in Him, united as one body in Christ, we are sent out on mission. This is what most people see – things like retreat ministry, radical hospitality, local outreach, and foreign missions.
This year, Life Teen Missions is comprised of twenty-one missionaries in five mission locations: Covecrest, Mesa, Tepeyac, and two in Germany (Susterseel and Heidelberg Military Base). The Covecrest and Mesa missionaries are in the Mission Formation Year. In addition to prayer, community, and mission, these missionaries receive formation classes three days a week focused on God’s love, missionary heart, prayer, evangelization, Holy Spirit, the Life Teen Core Values, Theology of the Body and the Sacraments. The goal of the Mission Formation Year is to prepare the missionaries to be launched into full-time missionary lives regardless of vocation or occupation.
All Life Teen missionaries share the commitment to prayer, community and mission. Each mission team’s outreach looks slightly different. The Tepeyac and Covecrest team focus on prayer, retreat ministry at the camps, and local outreach. The Mesa, AZ team assists at Tepeyac with retreat ministry but focus their local outreach on Phoenix and serve in the Life Teen office as well. The Germany team focuses on prayer, local ministry and international outreach in Europe.
Is God calling you to Life Teen Missions?