Three Innovative Ways NYC FOCUS Missionaries Are Spreading the Word

The “main thing” FOCUS does is inviting college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. FOCUS, through its missionaries, aims to inspire and equip students for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship, and friendship in which they lead others to do the same.

FOCUS missionaries invite students into discipleship, offering them an opportunity to befriend, learn with and walk with the missionaries in an intentional, Christ-centered life. Here, the missionaries are not so much the teacher (or Rabbi, in the Old testament sense), because Jesus Christ is our Rabbi. Missionaries are friends, fellow travelers and mentors on the road to a life centered on sharing the gospel message and the Catholic Faith. Here are some innovative ways that the NYC FOCUS missionaries are reaching out to students in the Big Apple.

1. Host an Event to Encourage Mentorship

NYU missionaries Emily Martinez and Sonia Tompkins wanted to increase the number of young women in discipleship at NYU. In order to reach out to all of the freshman and sophomore girls they believed were ready for mentorship, they needed student leaders to reach out and lead.

Emily Martinez and students from NYU

Sonia and Emily met with the older girls, explained the situation, and asked them to consider mentoring the younger women. According to Emily, “It was a crazy bold moment, totally Holy Spirit driven…I kinda held my breath, praying they wouldn’t get upset. And praise God they didn’t! Quite the opposite, actually. They were so excited. They wanted to reach out, and all they needed was someone to tell them that they were ready, that they were needed in this mission.”

The older girls began planning a brunch to explain FOCUS and discipleship, taking charge of everything from the food to the program. Afterward, all 20 girls said they were interested in joining the mission through FOCUS discipleship. According to Emily, “After that evening, all of the older women had a younger woman to mentor! We are coming into the new year with 20 girls! It was a huge blessing!”

2. Bible Studies with a Twist

NYU FOCUS missionary Pat Dunford has two thriving bible studies: one aimed at athletes, and the other for young men 21+. According to Pat, “The five athletes who come regularly represent four different teams and some have started bringing their friends!”

Celebrating a Patriots Super Bowl win
with some of the guys!

Pat’s 21+ bible and a beer study have allowed him to bring together undergrads, grad students and friends, some of whom have faithfully attended study for over a year and a half. They’ve also started a bi-monthly men’s night at the missionary house where they “spend time in prayer and watch manly movies or bond over board games.”

NYU Missionary Emily Martinez’s Artist Bible Study taps into the school’s sizable population of artists. After studying John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists,” the group created “a performance, complete with music, dance, photography, and theatre, to explain, through beauty, why He is a part of their lives.” (This blog post has more information about the performance.)

3. New Tools for Spiritual Multiplication

As the new Team Director at Columbia, Niru De Silva believed the team could be more successful in getting students to start evangelizing. He knew that “spiritual multiplication” — the principle of equipping others to share the faith, rather than merely instilling the faith in them — is at the heart of how FOCUS evangelizes. However, he had also observed that students were reluctant to share their faith because they don’t know how to navigate those conversations and because they feared their peers would react negatively.

According to Niru, “FOCUS has done a great job of equipping students so that they are more confident in engaging the conversation. But faith requires us to slow down, be patient and sometimes sacrifice what we want. Life in New York is very fast—people have big dreams and they are driven.” He believes that the fast pace of NYC and the tendency of people who live there to be focused on what they can achieve personally makes it particularly difficult for FOCUS missionaries on NYC campuses.

The Columbia FOCUS team:
Emma, Niru, Judy, and Joe at a ministry retreat

Niru interviewed other Team Directors and worked with his team to create new tools that were helpful in getting students to take on discipleship. The Columbia team believed that students would be more successful if they had a wider range of resources and tools to use when trying to connect with peers. At the same time, they knew it was important to have a standard of expectation for every student in discipleship. To meet the needs for both structure and flexibility, they created the “Discipleship ToolBox,” which includes the “Starter Kit,” a seven-week program that teaches the basic tools and prayers, and the “ToolBox,” which includes a variety different tools and topics to support students who want to start evangelizing.

The results so far have been impressive. FOCUS missionaries invite many students into discipleship, but a measure of that fruitfulness is when a student “pays it forward” by bringing another student into discipleship. In previous years, it was rare that Columbia students would invite others into discipleship. In 2015, however, eight students have taken this important step.

Innovation Makes a Difference

Our culture isn’t exactly friendly to the concept of discipleship,1 and New York City poses different challenges for missionaries than they might face in other parts of the country. FOCUS missionaries in New York are bringing more students into discipleship because they are present on campus and they are creatively engaged in finding ways to connect with students who are willing, when asked, to step forward and lead.

1. http://www.focusequip.org/leader-resources/discipleship/how-to-disciple.html. May require login.

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"Here also it must be added, as the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have clearly taught, that virginity is not a Christian virtue unless we embrace it "for the kingdom of heaven;" that is, unless we take up this way of life precisely to be able to devote ourselves more freely to divine things to attain heaven more surely, and with skillful efforts to lead others more readily to the kingdom of heaven." Pius XII, 1954 ... See MoreSee Less

Here also it must be added, as the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have clearly taught, that virginity is not a Christian virtue unless we embrace it for the kingdom of heaven; that is, unless we take up this way of life precisely to be able to devote ourselves more freely to divine things to attain heaven more surely, and with skillful efforts to lead others more readily to the kingdom of heaven. Pius XII, 1954

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Digital Campus equips students to become saints in the digital age. Apply now and see how you can create a culture of discipleship on your campus using just your laptop! goo.gl/forms/Q7tQcDuMWnlpznAn1
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Taken on Canon T3i
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Taken on Canon T3i

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Join the NYU Leadership Initiative for #NYULeadershipWeek (September 25-28, 2017) and take advantage of free events and workshops where you can explore how to find, build, and contribute to the communities we call home. Workshop topics include: design thinking, mindful leadership, community organizing, networking and much more. Plus, get to meet one of our co-founders on a panel this Tuesday.

See the full schedule and reserve your spot at bit.ly/NYULeadWeek
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Join the NYU Leadership Initiative for #NYULeadershipWeek (September 25-28, 2017) and take advantage of free events and workshops where you can explore how to find, build, and contribute to the communities we call home. Workshop topics include: design thinking, mindful leadership, community organizing, networking and much more. Plus, get to meet one of our co-founders on a panel this Tuesday. 

See the full schedule and reserve your spot at bit.ly/NYULeadWeek

FOCUS Photography Club at NYU shared Diply's post.

Can you believe this editing??
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Can you believe this editing??

Hello NYU Photographers!

We are extremely excited to announce that we will be going on our first excursion of the Fall 2016 semester! Come join us as we walk the Highline, located in Chelsea. The theme for this event is "Lines" (pun intended), and we will focus on taking cool shots that involve lines and geometry. We sincerely hope you can make it out!

As always, you do not need a DSLR (those "big fancy cameras") or any photography experience to participate on this excursion. Just come along with any camera you have, phones included, and have fun snapping photos!

LINES on the HIGHLINE
Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
12:00pm
Meet on the Kimmel Steps!
... See MoreSee Less

Hello NYU Photographers!

We are extremely excited to announce that we will be going on our first excursion of the Fall 2016 semester! Come join us as we walk the Highline, located in Chelsea. The theme for this event is Lines (pun intended), and we will focus on taking cool shots that involve lines and geometry. We sincerely hope you can make it out!

As always, you do not need a DSLR (those big fancy cameras) or any photography experience to participate on this excursion. Just come along with any camera you have, phones included, and have fun snapping photos!

LINES on the HIGHLINE
Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
12:00pm
Meet on the Kimmel Steps!

FOCUS Photography Club at NYU updated their cover photo.

Taken by: Sahaana @ ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY
... See MoreSee Less

Taken by: Sahaana  @ ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY

FOCUS Photography Club at NYU updated their cover photo. ... See MoreSee Less

FOCUS Photography Club at NYU updated their profile picture. ... See MoreSee Less

Happy World Photography Day, everyone!! Keep snapping! ... See MoreSee Less

Standing at the top of the stairs of the Met if you're looking for us :-) ... See MoreSee Less

Standing at the top of the stairs of the Met if youre looking for us :-)

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