“ARE you ready?” is what Rebecca Crouch felt the Lord God ask, preceding her latest adventure in His name.
“God is a God of surprises,” she said, between commitments as program director with National Evangelisation Teams, Ireland.
In her 15th year with NET, the statuesque woman of faith left Brisbane in 2012 to respond to God’s question with a resounding, “Yes”.
“I knew God was about to open a door for me and I was watching for it,” Rebecca said.
“When asked if I wanted to come (to work with NET Ireland) it was instant recognition of God’s call … (and) I didn’t have to even think about it.
“I never pictured myself living anywhere other than Brisbane but when God opens a door and invites you into a great adventure, it’s a no-brainer.”
Anticipating two years in the overseas role, New South Wales-born Rebecca, who also has visited NET in Uganda, has now called Ireland home for six years.
Raised in Wagga Wagga and Port Macquarie among a family of four daughters, Rebecca’s passion for reaching young people was sparked as a teenager.
“Faith became real to me when I was 15 years-old and went to a retreat,” she said.
“I had a powerful experience of Jesus’ personal and unconditional love for me.”
God’s love and that of the retreat facilitators’ “changed” her life.
“I remember crying during Mass, as wave after wave of God’s love flowed over me,” Rebecca said.
“In that moment, knowing that I was completely loved by Jesus, I knew that nothing will ever change that.”
Influenced by the faithful witness of family and ongoing involvement in youth groups, Rebecca’s heart to share faith in God with all ages had found deep roots.
At the frontline of parish and travelling teams, and in various other leadership roles with NET, today she’s responsible for 20 males and 20 females, who she described as “missionaries”, bringing the truth of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ to thousands of Irish teens annually.
Specifically, her role involves “co-ordinating and overseeing all the training of the teams and staff, ministry content as well as pastoral care” and “a million other tasks,” she said.
Those missionaries are not only home grown, but are also from Scotland, England, America, Canada and Australia.
“NET ministers to around 15 to 20,000 young people in Ireland every year,” Rebecca said.
“Although most people in Ireland are Catholic, many of them are not regular Mass attenders, there’s a cultural Catholicity but not always a personal connection to faith.
“The ministry NET does meets young people where they’re at with an invitation to encounter the person of Jesus.
“There’s a beautiful openness and hunger in young Irish people to the Gospel message.”
Tuned into youth and personally convicted of the importance of mission in the Church, “A Call to a Radical Discipleship” is what Rebecca’s poised to present at this month’s Ignite Conference, hosted by Emmanuel Community from September 21-24 at Mueller College, Rothwell, north of Brisbane.
“I felt like the Lord has been convicting me about how, as a Christian, I’m called to live a life that is radically different to the way of the world,” she said.
“(I felt called) that my life is to be a witness to the more that God has for us and that we are called to be radical in our relationships, radical in our witness (and) radical in our hope.”
Since 2012, Rebecca has returned to Ignite Conference twice and was overjoyed to witness lives, like her own, changed in God’s name.
“I think Ignite is the most amazing event,” she said.
“To see and be a part of lives being changed and impacted by Jesus … to see people set free in worship, to see them respond to His call, to see the Church alive and filled with the Spirit, gives me such hope for the Church and the world.
“I’m always so inspired by the life, hope and joy that is Ignite.”
Ignite Conference is a faith-based opportunity for children, teenagers and adults to engage with God and His people by way of age appropriate sessions, key note addresses and streams, small groups, worship and more.
The Sacrament of Penance is available constantly, as is the space for quiet prayer, reflection and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Daily Mass and the presence of countless priests and religious offers powerful witness.
Known to most as “Bec”, she’s looking forward to time with family on the Gold Coast as part of her visit and joyfully anticipates witnessing the presence and power of God at Ignite.
“I get to stand on the sidelines and see God move,” she said.
“I get to see Him change lives, save lives, see Him set people free, see Him show Himself, see Him renew His Church.
“What a gift to be part of that.”
The self-professed introvert said she planned to take time to draw away too.
“Being around lots of people for too long drains me and I need to get away to refill,” Rebecca said.
“(But) what I love to do more than anything in the world is talking about Jesus and encouraging people in their faith journey.
“I’m passionate about the Church rising up and being the witness she’s called to be … which means I need to rise up and be all I’m called to be.
“I feel like the Lord is always saying to me, ‘There’s more, there’s more, there’s a better witness, there’s more light, love and hope (that) we are called to bring to the world’.
“That’s the message I want to share (at Ignite) and I’m excited to be able to do that.”
To attend Ignite visit www.igniteconference.com.au
Late registrations can still be made and night rallies are open to all, at no cost.