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].
- Year I Begins: September 9, 2013 at Covecrest in Tiger, GA
- Year I Ends: Mid-August
- Year II Begins: End of August depending on Location
- Year II Ends: August 2015
Major Breaks each year:
- Two weeks during Christmas
- Spring Break
- Home visit in August between Year I and Year II
What is the application process for the Mission Formation Year?
- Complete the Mission Formation Year Application and Background Check.
- Submit the Application (including the short video), Background Check, and three Letters of Recommendation to Covecrest.
Life Teen Missions
25 Falls Drive
Tiger, GA 30576
- You will receive a call confirming the receipt of your application. At that time, we will set up a phone interview with you.
- You will then be invited to visit Covecrest. All applicants must come to an official “Come and See” weekend. You will experience first hand the Life Teen missionary life. You will also have the opportunity to talk with current missionaries in the formation year as well as the rest of the Covecrest community. Dates for the 2013 “Come and See” weekends are: March 9-11, April 27-29. If these dates are impossible for you, let us know and we will work out another date for your official visit.
- Applications are due June 30 or until spots are filled.
Mission Year I Details
- Dates: September 9, 2013 – August 2014
- Location: Covecrest (Tiger, GA). All missionaries will complete Year I at Covecrest. Then missionaries will be sent out to Life Teen Bases in Year II.
- Age requirements: Applicants must be one full year out of high school by the beginning of Mission Year I in September 2013.
- Fundraising Goal for the year: $7,000.
In Year I, this money will cover housing, transportation, eight day silent retreat, books, outreach expenses, formation, food on weekends and during the summer, gas for personal vehicle when used for mission purposes, foreign mission expenses (not including project money and alms) and a $150/month stipend.
This money does not include health insurance. All missionaries are required to have major medical insurance. If you raise more than $7,000 for the year, you may purchase individual missionary health insurance using your mission partner money. The premium for this insurance is typically under $1000 for the year.
Missionaries are responsible for personal transportation (breaks, holidays) and personal car expenses. If missionaries raise above the fundraising goal for the year, they may use mission fund money for these personal expenses as well.
$5,000 must be raised by each missionary and sent in before your arrival on September 9, 2013. Missionaries may raise the rest of the money throughout the year. You will continually invite mission partners to join you on God’s mission.
What happens during the Mission Year I?
September through April is the Formation Phase of the year. May through August is the Outreach Phase where the missionaries cover all Life Teen Events including Summer Camp, Convention, and Life Teen Leadership Conference with missionary zeal and passion. Over the course of Year I, missionaries are trained and formed to serve the missionary movement of Life Teen. The typical day from September to April:
- 7:00 AM Personal Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament
- 8:00 AM Community Morning Prayer – Liturgy of the Hours
- 9:00 AM Mass on Wednesdays and Fridays
- 9:30 AM Formation Class (Wednesday-Friday)
- 11:30 AM Angelus, Lunch and Freetime
- 1:30 PM Covecrest Ministries and Work Formation
- 5:30 PM Evening Prayer
- 6:00 PM Dinner – Men/Women; Family Dinner; or on your own
- 9:30 PM Night Prayer in homes
Additionally, missionaries are committed to: Life Teen and Edge youth ministry at the local parish one day a week, one afternoon a week set aside for communication with mission partners, Life Teen Staff Calls, Life Teen Holy Hour on Thursday at 2 PM, weekend hospitality of the retreat groups that come to Covecrest, foreign mission trip, eight day silent retreat, retreats that we lead occasionally during the week, and Life Teen national training. Summer Camp schedule is also very different from the typical schedule throughout the year. Missionaries serve as leaders during Life Teen Summer Camp for over 3000 teens at our camps throughout the country.
How do I fundraise?
All Life Teen Missionaries live completely on Divine Providence. You will invite friends, family, co-workers, and parishioners to be “Mission Partners.” Mission Partners commit to prayer and financial support throughout your mission year. You, in turn, commit to praying for them and their intentions, as well as sending them monthly updates on how God is moving through you and, thus, through their investment in you as mission partners. Your Mission Partners are your personal prayer team, your army of prayer coverage as you go out to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. The preferred method is to invite people to give monthly. This forms an ongoing relationship and reflects the reality that your mission partners are truly on mission with you. Each missionary is expected to enlist at least 50 mission partners with a fundraising goal of $7,000 per year. We will provide webinar training, sample letters, response cards and fundraising ideas that will help you in this most important ministry to mission partners. If you believe in your missionary call, share your story and invite others into this mission, God provides.
Prayer is the foundation of all Christian life. As missionaries, we are called to be “contemplatives in action”. All our activity flows out of our prayer life, which includes both personal and communal prayer. The typical day of prayer:
- 7:30 AM – Holy Hour
- 8:30 AM – Liturgy of the Hours – Morning Prayer
- 9:00 AM – Mass on Wednesdays and Fridays
- 12:00 PM – Angelus
- 5:00 PM – Evening Prayer
- 9:30 PM – Night Prayer
In addition, we explore the riches of the Catholic treasury of prayers including Rosary, praise and worship, scripture study, journaling, novenas, Consecration to Jesus through Mary and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In developing a more personal relationship with Christ, missionaries will learn the listening skills that ultimately lead to contemplation. Missionaries will also go on a personal, guided eight day silent retreat at Covecrest in January.
Our prayer life is lived out in community. Our missionary communities consist of Catholic Christians committed to a full Catholic life in Christ. Life Teen mission communities share a common vision, pray and discern together, and do all things for the Glory of God. Each member lives this out by embracing their unique role and by building trust through vulnerability, affirmation, and encouragement. Community life offers a safe but challenging place to live out our faith. Many people who live in Life Teen mission communities say “The best part of Life Teen mission life is community. The most difficult part of mission life is community.”
We cannot escape one another so we have many opportunities to deal with difficult issues in a healthy way. Practically, all missionaries share bedrooms and living spaces. All male missionaries live together and all female missionaries live together. Men are encouraged build their strongest relationships with other men and women with women. The relationship between male and female missionaries is one of honor. First Year Missionaries commit to not dating or engaging in romantic relationships of any kind. The purpose of this is to protect and honor this committed year between God and each first year missionary.
Also, we have weekly community recreation where we just have fun together – from kickball to board games to Rock Band. Once a week, we have family dinner. Three missionaries join one of our families on Thursday nights at their table. Family Dinners have been one of the favorite aspects of community life for first year missionaries.
While every aspect of the Mission Year I is designed to “form” the missionaries, Formation refers to committed time to study and explore Catholic Missionary Spirituality. The spirit is formed through prayer and exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The mind is formed through studying Holy Scripture, Teachings of the Church and spiritual read-ing. The will is formed through humility and obedience to Life Teen Missions Rule of Life. Formation primarily takes place in a small group setting facilitated by the Mission Coordinators and guest speakers. Main themes include: God as loving Father, Missionary Heart, Eucharist, Mary, Evangelization, Prayer, Holy Spirit, Life Teen Core Values, and Theology of the Body.
Most importantly, be missionary in the every day! Life Teen Missionaries are the hands, feet and heart of Christ in their communities. Missionaries learn to turn all aspects of their daily life into mission. The very identity of the Church (which is us) is missionary. By our Baptism, we are missionary. It is not just what we do; it is who we are. John Paul II encouraged us to “Become who you are.” As we do that, we find that we are missionary. Specific opportunities include local outreach, leading retreats, foreign mission trip, and serving as the evangelization team for Life Teen Summer Camps. At Covecrest, we serve as the primary youth ministry team for the local Parish of St. Mark in Clarkesville and its Mission Church, St. Helena, in Clayton. In addition, missionaries will work alongside Life Teen staff in various fields. This could include camp work projects and office work. Life Teen Missions is a hands-on mission experience developing youth ministry skills, public speaking, teaching, organization, logistics coordination, and leadership to serve the Missionary Movement of Life Teen.
Another aspect of forming life-long missionaries is discipleship. Each missionary is as-signed to a community member who is committed to meet with their missionary once a week. The goal of this time together is to assure that each missionary is supported and encouraged to “Become who they are.” This is not just to be holy but to be whole – physically, spiritually, and relationally. St. Ireneaus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” We are committed to helping missionaries become “fully alive.”