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Purpose-driven youth ministry needs a ‘purpose statement’

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP)–When it comes to being purpose-driven, youth ministry is no exception, Doug Fields says. But the youth pastor at Saddleback Church notes, health should be the goal of that purpose.

“It’s important to begin with the understanding that there’s a big difference between a healthy youth ministry and a flashy youth ministry. Health is the goal of a purpose-driven youth ministry — a healthy youth ministry,” Fields told the 13,000-plus attendees at SuperConference ’03, Oct. 5-8 on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

A good youth ministry will balance the five purposes of evangelism, ministry, worship, fellowship and discipleship, Fields said, advising that the five purposes be used to build a strong purpose statement for the youth ministry expressed in terms that students can easily comprehend.

It needs to be a statement that not only defines why the ministry exists, but also shows students how they can benefit by participating in it, the Lake Forest, Calif., youth pastor said. Transitioning to a purpose-driven youth ministry, he said, requires time, is not easy but is healthy, and can require some modeling and coaching.

The purpose statement should be mentioned repeatedly, he said, noting, “What you quit talking about will be forgotten.”

Repeating the purpose statement over and over will not only help the youth remember, but it will lead them to a deeper understanding of it, Fields said.

A leader then must monitor the purpose through conversations and translate it through programs, he added.

A youth ministry’s purpose statement has three main benefits:

— It will clarify a ministry’s existence.

— It will minimize conflict.

— It will create excitement.

Fields has been the youth pastor at Saddleback since 1992 but has been in youth ministry for more than 20 years. He’s written more than 25 books about teenagers, parenting and youth ministry and frequently teaches seminars on the subjects. His book “Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry” is available at pastors.com.
For more information about being a purpose-driven youth ministry, go to www.simplyyouthministry.com. Michele Cortes is a student journalist at Liberty University.

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  • Michele Cortes