FAQs

What is FOCUS’ Main Thing?
Inviting college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church; inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship, and friendships in which they lead others to do the same.

What are the job requirements?

• Passion to see college students encounter Jesus Christ
• Hunger to grow in your faith and develop your God-given gifts
• A willingness to meet college students on their turf
• Faithfulness to the teachings of the Catholic Church
• An undergraduate degree in any field

For more information about who our staff are check out Who We Look For.

Is this a full-time job?
A missionary work week is essentially a 50 hour week, or 10 hours per day. Our staff’s first priority in their work is to tithe 1.5 to 2 hours of their daily time to God through Mass and prayer. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Knowing that the fruit of our apostolate flows from our prayer and the sacraments, we give them primacy in our schedules.

Beyond prayer, a missionary’s day is filled with outreach on campus and relationship-building. While no two days are the same, staff members spend their time mentoring students one-on-one, leading Bible studies, executing large-group outreach events, and being present on campus to meet new students. Missionaries also meet with their teammates regularly to discuss their progress on campus and to plan for the future. Additionally, a portion of each week is devoted to staying up-to-date with necessary administrative tasks and maintaining relationships with mission partners. Given the fullness of such a schedule and FOCUS’ desire for staff to lead ordered, healthy lives, it is not possible for missionaries to take on outside work.

Will my college education be used?
FOCUS missionaries join staff with a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees – from creative and performing arts to engineering and applied sciences. We believe our organization is strengthened by such a breadth of skills and knowledge, and that the light of Christ needs to shine in all fields of study.

Each missionary brings his or her educational and social background – the whole person – to his or her missionary work. While we do not restrict the type of student our staff members reach out to on campus, a staff member with, for example, an engineering background will more easily be able to reach out to engineering students. Someone who was a college athlete will be able to better understand and relate to athletes on campus. We encourage this type of mentoring from our staff to the students we serve. The world has great need for holy and moral young leaders in every facet of human life; thus we hope to bring the good news of Christ to every college major on campus.

In addition to educational background, our missionaries bring their experience of college life to their work on campus. FOCUS staff members possess increased credibility and a source of common ground with students because of their own college experiences. Having first-hand knowledge of the pressures and temptations of student life, our missionaries are better equipped to bring Christ to college men and women in a way that “meets them where they are” and affects change in their lives.

We also have opportunities for missionaries who may have been involved in either college-level sports or Greek life, to use that background in Varsity Catholic or FOCUS Greek.

I’m been out of college for a year or more. Can I still apply?
Yes! Several missionaries with FOCUS have had graduate degrees, career experience, and military service before joining staff. In fact about 20% of 2014-2015 first year missionaries would fall in this category! Many missionaries also are engaged or married on staff.

We welcome anyone considering joining us in the apostolate to apply. All that is required is a love for Jesus Christ and His Church, and a desire to make Him known on college campuses.

What is the time commitment?
FOCUS missionaries make an initial two-year commitment to serve on campus, starting in late May with summer training. For new missionaries who are graduating from university in December, this commitment is extended slightly to include their first semester after graduation, plus the two full school years following.

Most of our missionaries have stayed on campus beyond their first two years. Others have been called to continue living their faith in various careers, religious life, graduate school, etc.

Where will I serve?
Our missionaries make a commitment to serve at any campus where FOCUS has a program. Every year we add new campuses to our growing movement. Check out the “Our Campuses” section of the website for a current list of where FOCUS serves.

A staff member’s campus placement is based on a variety of factors including strengths, interests, abilities, background and personal preference. Through prayerful discernment, FOCUS strives to build teams of missionaries that are well-rounded and can meet the needs of a given campus ministry program. In addition, we desire to place an individual with teammates who will help him or her grow spiritually and professionally and execute greater heights of successful Christian leadership.

What is this I hear about a ‘no dating commitment’ for FOCUS staff? Do I have to do it?
We ask that during the first year on campus, new FOCUS staff embrace a fast from romantic involvement. The intention of the fast is two-fold. First, the fast allows our staff members to be radically available to the college students they serve. Our missionaries deeply impact lives not only through sharing Scripture and Church teaching with students but also by living daily life alongside them, revealing to them the art of living. By fasting from romantic relationships during their first year, missionaries are able to be fully present and invested in the young men and women they serve.

Secondly, we desire to prepare missionaries to embrace their God-given vocations. The fast gives missionaries the opportunity to focus on their relationship with Christ and to discern His will for their lives, which may be a call to marriage, consecrated single life, or religious life. FOCUS offers formation in Christian dating and courtship principles and encourages staff members to learn more about priestly and religious vocations.

For single missionaries, the fast means a complete fast from dating and romantic relationships. For those already in dating relationships, the fast usually calls for a scaling back of involvement. The fast looks different depending upon the seriousness of each relationship. While some enter into the fast with a little uneasiness, virtually all find themselves grateful once they have experienced its benefits. After a missionary’s first year, the fast is no longer in effect.

What will I do?
FOCUS is loyal to Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church He founded. We partner with and support the priests, bishops and religious which are involved in our work. We encourage the students involved in FOCUS and our staff to explore and pursue God’s call in their lives so that we may, by God’s grace, fulfill His will. We hope to present the timeless truths of the faith in a timely way to all students, regardless of faith background or religious affiliation.

Just as God “became flesh and dwelt among us…” so too do we try to incarnate or offer our very lives to the students we serve. Missionary life requires availability. FOCUS missionaries are asked to “dive in” to college life again – keeping late hours, reaching out in the residence halls, joining intramural sports teams, eating in school dining halls, all so that we may win souls to Christ.

You’ll move to campus a few weeks before school begins. FOCUS teams (typically two men and two women) pray regularly together each week (and, in most cases, every day), attend daily Mass as often as possible, reach out on campus, lead Bible studies, and engage students on their level to build their leadership skills and eventually challenge them to reach out to other students.

Our staff members are also often found eating in the cafeterias on campus, playing intramural sports, staying up late in coffee shops, and throwing spontaneous BBQs, just to name a few activities.

Be ready to watch lives transform!

Is there training for this job?
We realize that the transition into missionary work involves a change in lifestyle for most individuals. Not only does effective missionary work call for staff members to share their Catholic faith with college students but it also requires them to share their very lives. We place a great emphasis on intensely training our staff so that they step onto campus prepared to be leaders and mentors on campus.

The first training new staff receive is our summer training, which is best described as one part graduate school, one part boot camp, and one part retreat. We place a great emphasis on intensely training our staff so they step onto campus prepared to be leaders in evangelization, catechesis, Scripture study, and the practicals of ministry as well as equipped in the areas of leadership, stewardship, time management, and ordered living. For more information check out our training page: World Class Training.

Is this a paid position?
Like other missionary organizations, FOCUS missionary staff members raise 100% of their living expenses while serving with FOCUS. Each missionary cultivates a support team of families and individuals who become partners in our work. In addition to providing financial support, a support team also becomes a wellspring of prayer and moral support.

Part of new staff training in the summer is focused on training and equipping missionaries to build their personal support teams and develop strong relationships with these mission partners. These relationships allow mission partners to be involved with FOCUS’ work on campus in a very deep and real way. While “some are called to give by going, others are called to go by giving”. By joining a missionary’s support team, a mission partner becomes active in the New Evangelization – a mission partner is brought into the mission field and is able to impact the lives of college students through the missionary they support.

In 2013, first year single missionary average income was over $2,100 per month and thus far in 2014, average first year missionary income is over $2,500 per month. Also, because our unmarried staff usually live in community (men with men, women with women), this helps to decrease the cost of living significantly.

Does FOCUS provide benefits?
Yes! FOCUS provides missionaries with the option to participate in the following benefits:

• Group healthcare plan through Meritain Health including medical, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage.
• Group Life Insurance and AD&D
• Disability Insurance
• Optional Life Insurance
• 403(b) Retirement Plan
• Email hr@focus.org for more details about FOCUS Benefits.

I have student loan debt. Can I still be a missionary?
Our missionaries are trained to raise a livable wage – one on which they can afford to pay usual living expenses such as rent, utilities, transportation costs, groceries, leisure, etc., but also a salary on which they can pay back debts such as student loans, car payments, or even a mortgage. We train our staff in budgeting and financial responsibility, and we encourage them to tithe, repay debt, and save for the future on their missionary salary.

FOCUS provides new staff with first-class training, coaching, and practice in how to raise a mission development team for an individual missionaries, or a family. FOCUS missionaries raise their own support for a few very specific reasons. Without missionary support teams, FOCUS could not reach as many souls as quickly as it does. Through development, missionaries build not only a team of financial support, but also spiritual support on campus.

How will serving a few years with FOCUS help me to advance professionally?
We are committed to building leaders for the future. Therefore we have developed a world class Leadership Development Initiative that brings together some of the best secular and religious leaders and teachers in the world. A young adult from any educational background will benefit from the hands-on leadership training they will receive as a FOCUS missionary. Reaching out to college students and leading Bible studies builds confidence, group interaction skills, and conflict mediation. Planning on-campus events and service projects builds organizational and marketing skills. Staff members are also called upon to help coordinate interview weekends for new missionaries, take a role in the planning of our successful student conferences, and network with their local parish and community.

What do missionaries do when they retire from staff?
Retiring missionaries leave FOCUS with resumes that have been broadened and strengthened by their experiences on staff. Due to the professional, intellectual, and spiritual formation they have received not only from some of the country’s most dynamic Catholic leaders but also from their work on campus, missionaries depart from FOCUS as well-rounded individuals, better equipped to serve successfully in the next role to which Christ calls them.

Missionaries leave staff to pursue a vast range of interests. Some have gone on to seek higher education through medical school, law school, or doctoral programs in areas such as psychology or philosophy. Others move into career fields directly related to their undergraduate studies ranging from occupations as educators, youth ministers, and diocesan administrators to leadership positions in the corporate world, engineering and construction, and college administration. Many also go on to give their lives fully to a religious vocation, entering seminaries and religious orders.

Regardless of what missionaries choose to do following their time in FOCUS, we consistently receive feedback from alumni who are grateful for how FOCUS has given them “vision for life” and has guided them into deeper relationships with Jesus Christ.

How do I apply?
Go to the Apply page and begin filling out an application for the 2015-2016 year. You will need to upload a professional resume and get 2-3 letters of recommendation from professional references. Once your completed application has been submitted, it will be reviewed by you may be contacted by a FOCUS representative inviting you to an interview weekend in a city near you. These interview weekends are great opportunity to discern your own call to mission, be that with FOCUS or somewhere else. For more information and the upcoming schedule for interview weekends, click here.

Do I have what it takes?
Let God decide that! We are not looking so much for ABILITY, as for AVAILABILITY. Our staff members have a wide variety of social and academic backgrounds, from state schools and Catholic schools. They are cradle Catholics, reverts, and converts. What characterizes them all is a love for people, Jesus Christ, and the Church He founded.

Above all, the question every potential staff member should ask him/herself is…
Do I have the heart for this mission?