Doug Fields--Youth Ministry Longevity
The year was 1999 and I was in college. I picked up this book and read it. I thought to myself while reading it "this might work".
I didn't grow up in the church or around youth ministry and really had no clue what youth ministry leadership was about. As I read Doug's book my view of what healthy youth ministry could be was being shaped & formed with a great philosophy.
A crazy thing happened in May of 2003 after we moved to California. I was able to attend a 3 day workshop with Jim Burns of HomeWord. I knew of Jim from classes in college and loved his focus on healthy families. I was very ecstatic to sit with him, learn from him with about 30 other people at Azusa Pacific University. After one of the workshops I talked with Jim for about 45 minutes at a Starbucks about my desire to team with families and my view of what I thought youth ministry should be about. He replied to me "I've got someone tomorrow I'd like to introduce you too. I think you'll like him and what he has to say." That next day, Doug Fields came to teach.
Doug gave me his email based on Jim's recommendation and the rest is history. I've had the blessing of sitting in Doug's living room & backyard sharing time with him and other youth pastors who are passionate about youth ministry. I've sat one-on-one with Doug over meals talking about leadership and my desires for youth ministry.
I've learned a lot from Doug in person and through his teaching & leadership. One of the main things has been the importance of ministry longevity and how you can sustain your own personal life, as well as leadership life, to stay in ministry long term. Doug has always been honest and upfront about what healthy leaders need to do.
A constant voice Doug has always shared has been relying on the power of God. If we ever remove our dependency on God from our ministry leading, marriage, personal life, parenting or any other area we will never be in the right place to be used by God the most effectively. Doug has also challenged leaders to be sure that their family is NEVER sacrificed for the ministry. To sustain in ministry there needs to be a healthy balance between personal life & ministry life. If you don't work to keep that balance there will be burn on and consequence along the way.
I've learned a lot from Doug Fields and feel very honored that he has invested in me personally. I am grateful for Doug's mantle of leadership that he has shared with thousands of youth leaders around the world. I'm grateful that my 11 years of youth ministry has a direct correlation to the mentoring Doug Fields has had in my life.
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