When you hear the word “missionary” what comes to mind? Let me guess…mission trips to Haiti, Mexico, Africa or China? Providing basic physical needs of food, clothing, and shelter for the poor? Someone moving to a third-world country to serve the poor and spread the gospel? All these examples are missionary, but I believe God’s missionary plan was more.
Let’s look at the example of Jesus feeding the 5000. As I reflect on the story of feeding the 5000, Jesus does feed the hungry, but He is training the twelve at the same time. The disciples do not believe that they can provide for the needs of all these people. They are right that they cannot do it alone. Jesus tells them not to worry about what they do not have, but to give what they have and trust that God will provide the rest.
Throughout the gospel, Jesus did in fact “feed the 5000.” At the same time, Jesus spent most of his energy on “training the twelve” who in turn would multiply the efforts of Jesus and each “feed the 5000.” When we “feed the 5000,” 5000 are fed. When we train twelve, we intend to feed 12 x 5000.
What was Jesus’ missionary plan? Jesus’ mission plan focused on the intentional formation of the apostles – an unlikely and under-qualified group of ordinary men. He was not training them for an event or to complete a task; Jesus was training them for a lifetime of missions. The gospel of Jesus Christ was spread to the entire known world through a small group of people that Jesus invested in. Jesus shared the good news with everyone he met, but He poured most of his energy into forming a small group who would end up transforming the world.
Life Teen Missions “feeds the 5000” through local outreach, through meals-on-wheels routes, and through foreign missions to Haiti, but our focus is really to “train the twelve.” Centered on the Eucharist and Mary, rooted in prayer, community and outreach, and focused on the youth of our world, Life Teen Missions is committed to forming young adults, couples and families to become life-long missionaries who love our youth and believe in God’s transforming power through the Movement of Life Teen. God is building an army of missionaries. Are you or someone you know in Jesus’ missionary plan as a Life Teen Missionary?
For questions, discussion, or prayer about Life Teen Missions, please contact Chris Benzinger at [email protected].