Doug Fields is the true Godfather of Youth Ministry! Singlehandedly, he has written everything there is to be written about youth ministry. He is a brilliant entrepreneur and has left his imprint on just about every youth ministry in America. This alone makes any seminar he teaches a must attend.
While his resources are incredible, what made his breakout on day 1 the best seminar of the Orange Conference was that Doug got to lean into what he does even better than crank out curriculum and resources, he got to be a pastor to pastors. (And man, did I need that!)
Doug's seminar was about caring about the private and hidden parts of our life and hearts so we fully live into the youth workers God designed us to be.
Doug was candid and warm as he reflected on his ministry legacy and the awful reality of the mega crashes and burns by people in our "industry." We all have a light side and a dark side, but what gets us into trouble is when we don't care for our hidden lives and crash and burn.
For those of us who long to do ministry for the long haul and don't want to crush our church, our ministries, or our families by our crashing, then it is VITAL for us to do some self care, to get off the freeway periodically, pull into a rest stop and do the hard work or reflection and evaluation to see how we are really doing.
Doug compared our inner life to a basement. Some are finished, some unfinished. It isn't until we do the work of finishing our basement, that we can be free to use all the square space of our souls as well as prevent the danger zone!
Doug listed out 6 rooms that may need some attention:
1) DRIVE: This is the room where driven people are gratified by their accomplishments; where status is important and who's hunger is rarely satisfied. Because of completion, this room gets neglected and we cover for it by being busy. The way to clean up this are is to work towards authentic community and practice vulnerability. When you die what do you want around you? Accomplishments or people?
2) TIME: All of us have 1440 minutes in a day. The question is, "What are we going to with those minutes?" To get this room in order we need to identify and track the rhythms of our time, figure out when we are most productive, and then leverage this new information. We schedule our own time and control our calendar. We must recognize that every yes is a no, so guard your yeses.
3) STUDY: We are called to continually be a learner. If we stop growing we will die. But rather than be skimmers or even jacks of all trades, we should be diving deep. Our world is complex and navigating ministry in this world takes depth of knowledge and character. So, we must make space in our schedule to dive deep.
4) SPIRITUAL STRENGTH: This is the foundation of who we are and what we do, and is often the most neglected. We work in and towards the Kingdom of God and we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. But unless we "work out" our faith, we will not be able to fully live into the people God has called us to be. Even more, we must be reflective and aware enough to know the indicators when we are becoming spiritually weak. My indicators are cynicism, anger, and a susceptibility to temptation that can crush me. To prevent this, we must carve out consistent time to be with Jesus.
5) REFRESHMENT: God modeled this for us. 6 days of work, one day of rest. It is even one of the ten commandments. Don't commit adultery, don't murder, REST. When and how will you rest? Carve out time, unplug, and make it sacred!
6) CALLING: Called people have a strength from within. It is what drives the stake in the ground. Calling is more than a job opportunity or career advancement. Calling is living into the unique thing that God crafted you to do and be in this particular time and place. We must realize that one bad decision can crush us and squash this calling. So we must know our own limits, know our own depravity and work our guts out to live in health, so we can do this for the long haul!
The Orange Conference this year was truly amazing. There was so much content, so much collegiality, so much of everything! I am full to the brim. My brain has been stretched, my heart has been made full, and God showed up and revealed some pretty big things for me and Him to work out over the next few weeks, months, and even years.
I am so thankful for Reggie Joiner, his team and Doug Fields for this particular break out. May God continue the good work that he has begun in us will carry it onto completion! And may all honor and glory be to Jesus. Amen!