Introducing Net Ministries Australia

It's been 30 years since NET Ministries first started in Australia. CCI Personal Insurance is a proud sponsor of NET Ministries in 2018 and through our support they were able to purchase a van for the national ministry's team. In this article, we learn the story of the Catholic peer-to-peer youth ministry and their work.

Three decades of ministry

Back in 1988, when it started, NET Ministries Australia consisted of one team of young people travelling around Australia in a van, running encounter days at schools. In 2018, the organisation has grown to a total of 46 young people working across seven teams, visiting schools, parishes, deaneries, dioceses and universities to put into action the Church's mission to evangelise and disciple young people.

"At its core, NET Ministries is about sharing the story of how God has moved into our lives and bringing young people hope through conversation, our events, and sharing Jesus's love with them," says Arnie Hurdoyal, NET Ministries Australia supervisor and marketing coordinator.

NET Ministries work with young people by:

  • proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a personal witness of faith
  • inviting young people to live for Christ
  • forming young people in Christian character through the study and practice of our faith
  • equipping young adults with the ministry skills needed for evangelising and discipling young people.

Different types of ministry teams

Each year a new group of young Catholics who, as Arnie describes it, "are looking to serve the church in a bigger way" are chosen to join NET Ministries Australia. Applicants must be unmarried practicing Catholics aged between 17 and 30, and go through a recruitment process which involves, in part, an application form, interview and referrals.

Arnie, whose role involves the recruitment of the young men and women of NET Ministries (as well as providing support and guidance to two of its teams), says: "In serving with NET Ministries they [team members] are foregoing their current life – which is either working or studying – and putting things on hold for a year to basically go and serve the church and share what Jesus has done in their lives with others."

But he is quick to note the benefits gained from committing to a year of ministry with NET. "Through the experience of serving an entire year full-time comes a lot of personal growth and formation, growing spiritually as a person, and gaining life experience that many people their age wouldn't necessarily have."

The chosen young people are allocated to one of three different types of ministry groups: Local, University or National. Local ministry teams live together in a house and run ministry for the area, such as youth groups and encounter days for students, and are often placed within a diocese, school or church in the area. University ministry groups are based on campus within a university and work with students to help them reconnect with or grow their faith.

"The 2018 teams were sent out at the end of February. So they have been in their areas or travelling about the country for five weeks now," says Arnie. "The National team travel around in a van and when they get to different towns or cities they stay in host homes."

The host families are people who have opened their homes to the National team, who stay with their hosts as they undertake ministry work, which centres on talking, listening and working with young Catholics through encounter days.

A life-changing experience

While he is a team supervisor now, Arnie himself served two years working as part of the NET Ministries teams in 2013 and 2014, so knows firsthand what the experience entails, and how it can shape the lives of those who undertake it. "I lived in Melbourne originally. I was at uni and working part-time and I was involved in my parish once or twice a week. To jump into volunteering a whole year of my life and just seeing young people being impacted by the words we shared and seeing them experience something new in their lives – that was quite a life-changing experience. It was also a big adventure for me. I discovered a lot about who I am and a lot about my own life by going through that experience."

The power of listening

Arnie says that one of the things that resonated most with him from two years in a NET Ministries team was just how much young people need to be heard. "It's not often that young people have an opportunity to speak to someone and have someone listen to them about what they are going through. Being present and listening is really powerful. I think that was something that really resonated with me, and one of the things that drew me towards still being involved in the ministry in an employee capacity."

Nurturing the belief in young people that they can stand up, be heard and make a change in the world through loving Jesus is part of the message NET Ministries teach. "Some of the themes that we present in school are really about helping young people take a stand, and stand up for what they believe, and allow them to make a change in the world. A lot of our message revolves around making small changes and how that can brighten up their [young people's] lives and those of others around them."

CCI Personal Insurance is a proud sponsor of NET Ministries and we're glad that through our support they were able to purchase the National ministry's team van for the year. Keep up-to-date with their journey by subscribing to our Community News.