Read: What is a Missionary Disciple? by Pete Burak

What is a missionary disciple? So asks Pete Burak of Renewal Ministries, pictured above, in the the latest edition of FAITH Magazine. He writes:

Nearly every fall weekend, my family and I will trek across town for cinnamon sugar doughnuts and caramel apples from the best cider mill in Michigan. The food, atmosphere and friendship with the owner all contribute to us not only being loyal customers but living, breathing marketing agents. We’ve convinced dozens of people to join us on our weekly excursions after hearing our glowing descriptions of the warm, sugary deep-fried dough and the crisp, tart, gooey caramel apples. We love this cider mill and we want others to love it too.

In the past several years, the term “missionary disciple” has been a popular term used to highlight and motivate Catholics to embrace and consistently live out our common evangelistic responsibility to the world. In response to the great commission given to the Apostles, the Church exists to make disciples. We are invited, challenged and necessary toward the goal of seeing everyone meet Jesus, fall in love with him and be filled with his Spirit, in the heart of the Church. In Evangelii Gaudium (120), Pope Francis tells us that “every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus; we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples.’”

Embracing our identity as missionary disciples does not need to look dramatic. Few of us will be called to sell everything and go preach in a far-off land. However, all of us should develop the habit of looking for the work of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives because we know God is constantly pursuing every single person, every single moment of their lives. God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so a missionary disciple is called to become Christ’s hands and voice in the world to accomplish the work of evangelization. While this includes kind actions such as smiling and thanking the grocery store clerk or letting someone go before you in line, missionary disciples also know we will be asked to open our mouths and give the specific reason for our hope, joy and faith.

We need to be ready and willing to speak the name of Jesus with love, so people who do not know him can have the opportunity to be lovingly confronted with who he really is. Just as Team Burak prevails upon people to try our specific cider mill, so, too, we need to embrace the opportunities the Holy Spirit generates for us to share our personal story with and transformation in Christ. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really want a doughnut.