Q&A with NET Ministries A community of believers share why they support NET Ministries’ mission
Interview with Matt and Adrianna Birk, Host Family
What inspired you to be connected with NET Ministries as a host home?
We had been involved with NET Ministries as a donor and went to their Lifeline Mass, and when we were living in Naples, Florida, we found out that NET Ministries was coming to our parish and they were looking for host families. We thought it would be a great way to support NET but also it would be great for our family to have the NETters around.
I just really like the strategy of NET Ministries and how it is engaging young people. I think that it’s so important to get young Catholics to start to claim the faith as their own. I think NET Ministries offers a personal and effective way to engage young people and make them really think about their relationship with Jesus.
What do you personally find most meaningful about your associations with NET?
I’ve known NET as making a difference.
The biggest problem our Church has is people falling away. The work the NETters do gives young Catholics an evangelistic experience, that they might not be getting at Mass on Sunday, in their catechism classes or Catholic schools. NET certainly connects with young people.
We saw no down side to hosting NETters — they’re just awesome! It’s good for my kids to be able to spend time with them and build relationships with them.
Why is NET’s mission of “Challenging young Catholic to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church” important to you?
We’re losing so many Catholics and our society just doesn’t support the teachings of our faith. There are so many influences out there, and most of them aren’t good.
You’re really showing young people an alternative. They don’t have to just go with the flow and buy in to what our society says is good. NET Ministries is rooted in the truth — it’s rooted in the Catholic faith. It’s about presenting that and letting kids know you do have a choice. Exposing young people to the truth is a powerful thing.
What are some of the ways you’ve seen or heard about NET’s mission work being impactful and/or helpful to Catholic youth?
With our own kids it’s going to NET Nights at our parish, whether it be watching a movie or doing art projects, it’s having that fellowship with the NETters and with other young Catholics their age. Our kids are involved with so many activities, but when you drop them off at a NET Night, you know they’re going to be exposed to something good! Hopefully, their hearts are touched. It’s all the things we’re trying to instill in our kids and trying to teach them, but coming from other people they can relate to a little bit better in some ways certainly doesn’t hurt. It’s called frequency in messaging!
What do you think is the best course of action for keeping young Catholics engaged with their faith and close to Jesus Christ?
I think it’s when they can be with other young Catholics – there’s power in numbers. It’s showing there are other young people out there that are hungry for the truth and whose hearts want it. Having these kind of shared spiritual experiences I think is effective when we’re talking about wanting kids to stay with the faith, identify as being Catholic, and knowing what it means to be a Catholic.
After high school, the kids go to college or out into the world and they can know they are not alone. Relationships are really important when you’re talking about young people trying to figure out their way in the world and how they see things. There are certainly a lot of confusion and wrong messages out there these days.
With a Catholic faith community there are relationships and support, but there’s also accountability. We can all veer off the path at times, but knowing there are people there that care for us, love us, and are counting on us is helpful.
What’s next? Tell us about your goals in this area/mission, that we are working on together as a supportive faith community.
For NET – there’s a long proven track record.
Now is the time to ramp up the efforts, especially with how digital they are today. To have these real experiences, face-to-face interaction with NETters and with other young Catholics make it much more effective, because those type of experiences and relationships are less and less.
The mission of NET and having the faith really take root in our young people is needed now more than ever.