The Mission Team is a dynamic Catholic Youth Ministry Team whose mission is to 'Proclaim the Gospel to Youth and Young Adults in the Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand'. Team members are full-time volunteers who commit to eleven months of mission, live in community and train together and then explore life and faith issues with young people and invite them into a vibrant, lifelong relationship with Christ and His Church. They do this primarily by facilitating peer to peer ministry programmes including school and Parish retreats, as well as other regular events.
Life on Mission Team begins with a 6 week intensive formation and training programme. During training, team members take time to deepen their personal relationship with Jesus and his church and develop and strengthen their relationships with other team members. They are also trained in practical youth worker and ministry skills required to run youth events and programmes and to be confident in sharing the Good news with young people. This includes instruction in prayer and scripture, faith formation, and practical youth ministry and retreat leadership skills. You will learn about community life and how to journey successfully together as a team.
The Ministry conducted by the Mission Team reflects its primary mission to “Proclaim the Gospel to Youth and Young adults and invite them to love Christ and his Church”. This primarily consists of planning and facilitating programmes of peer to peer ministry, including School and Parish retreats, as well as other regular events. The Team travels the length and breadth of the Diocese in its performance of this ministry, engaging youth and young adults wherever they go. The general focus is on Intermediate/High School students from Years 7-13, but the MT is also involved in ministry for those outside of these age groups. The number of those attending any given MT event can vary greatly, with some attracting as many as 200+ participants, and smaller events fewer than 20. Factors such as this necessitate that a common virtue of all Mission team members is flexibility!
Although each ministry opportunity can vary greatly in scope and numbers, the basic message delivered always remains the same – that Jesus Christ is Lord, that he died to free us from our sins, and rose from the dead that we may have eternal and abundant life. Team members use a variety of methods to present this truth, including small group discussions, drama, games, music and personal testimonies. Wherever possible, events include the celebration of the sacraments, helping to bring those attending to the realisation that in order to live in true freedom they must choose to enter a personal relationship with Christ.
Formal ministry events are not all the MT does though. The Team also helps the CYT conduct training seminars (such as the ‘Frontline’ programme) as well as serving at Diocesan and parish events. Whenever possible, team members visit parishes and schools around the Diocese, evangelising youth on their ‘own turf’ through fellowship and sport.
After training the team continue to live life in an authentic Catholic community which is formed around their call to mission. Everyday time is spent in personal and corporate prayer, with regular opportunity for the sacraments, fellowship and spiritual direction.
As well as undertaking Youth Mission work in Christchurch City, the team travels the length of the Diocese, engaging youth and young adults wherever they go. The general focus is on running dynamic retreats and youth events for high school students from Years 7-13. However, the Mission Team is also involved in ministry for those outside of these age groups including families and young adults.