In April of this year I had the privilege of attending the Orange Conference. In my next post for Orange Week I wanted to share some thoughts from one of the Main Session speakers, Doug Fields. If you are in ministry to youth, then you probably already know who Doug Fields is. For those that don’t know, Doug is one of the biggest names in youth ministry. He has been in youth ministry for more thatn 30 years, many of those years at Saddleback Church.
So, what did Mr. Fields have to say?
“My vision got burned when I worked in a church for 30 years!”
Have you ever stared into the sun? Or maybe just looked a little too closely at a bright light? Do it long enough and it would effect your vision. This is what Doug was talking about. Now he wasn’t refering to actual eye site. Rather he was talking about ministry vision. Here are the things that he sid burned his vision:
- Focusing on numbers
- Pace of life
- Thinking of ministry as a Sprint, not a marathon.
- The thing about ministry is that there is always more to do.
- The of the side effects of this was al onging for isolation. Everywhere I went people wanted something from me.
- Another side effect was that I ran from relationships.
- “Everybody knew me, but nobody KNEW me.”
- The constant comparison
- numbers, progamming, environments, and on and on…
I think that anyone that serves in ministry, especially in leadership, are prone to these issues. Doug went on to give some suggestions as to, as he put it, “regain our vision and really begin to live.”
- “bigger isn’t better, better is better.”
- People don’t want to be a number.
- numbers feed our insecurity.
- Pace of Life
- Hurry is the enemy of depth.
- There is a price to pay for business.
- You can’t hurry loving people.
- Pursue “slow” more intently. You can’t rush relationships, discippleship, and loving people the way they need to be loved.
- “As my healed vision became clearer, I replaced comparison with effectiveness.”
- stop compaint and start abiding in Him – apart from Him you can do NOTHING.
- When people ask us how our family is doing we don’t say, “4”.
In my notes I wrote down this thought from my own reflection on Doug’s talk:
- Numbers are important. However, when I think of weeks like Easter do I think more about the number of kids we had or do I think about the interactions between kids and leaders.
None of the things listed here are inherantly evil. However, they can take a toll on us and eventually hurt the very thing that we hope to help by focusing on them. I encourage anyone in ministry to look at this list and then seriously evaluate your ministry and your life.
Doug had so much more to say, but there is only so much that I can share in this space. At the end of the day there is so much more that I wish I could share with you. I could write posts every day from now till the Orange conference in April and still not cover everything that I experienced. Take my word for it, if you can attend the Orange conference when it comes up next April, DO IT. Registration opens September 27th. Check out the details HERE.Matt Norman
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