Thursday, June 21, 2007

Book Report – Your first two years of youth Ministry by Doug Fields

I have recommend this book for over three years, gave it as a gift to our interns, and read different parts of it for research but I have never sat down and read the whole thing cover-to-cover. I made myself read it cover-to-cover because of a small group of new youth leaders (all have been in youth ministry less than 2 years) in our community have been looking for a way to get better at being youth leaders. I started a small book group that is going through this book together with a few of these youth leaders. It has a been a delight to spend time with these great leaders.

A lot of what is said in this book reinforced in me (been in youth ministry almost 10 years) many of the purpose and reasons why I do or don’t do the different parts of the ministry. I did find a couple new thoughts from this book I wish to share:

There was a section on “encourage parents on their journey” that had an excellent list of was to validate parents:
“1. Learn parents names and who their children are.
2. While attending students’ events, visit with parents.
3. Compliment parents on their parenting.
4. Send parents a note following a conversation with them.
5. Listen to parents.
6. Express your feelings about the importance of the family.
7. Acknowledge that parents love, care for, and do more for their children you will ever do.
8. Organize a parent appreciation dinner once a year.
9. Encourage kids to sit with their parents during the church service.
10. Respect parents’ time.”

We have done a lot of this and have included the parents in many areas of our ministry (both ideas and as well as involvement) but there is always room for doing it just that much better so that we can be a useful tool in parents hands.

Another thought that really isn’t new but it certainly was refreshing and made me think much more. I believe in prayer (I was give the privilage to preach a message in NCBC's big church time on prayer) but the way Doug presented prayer made me think again of how important prayer really is. “It’s crucial to be before God listening and praying. Too often we go to a seminar or read a book and get ambitious about change without consulting God…” I personally need to be in prayer and Doug has encouraged me to keep it up.

I really enjoyed reading through this book completely and reading it cover-to-cover has made it an even more useful tool in ministry.

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