In his book entitled Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, Doug Fields lay out the problem in most churches as they approach youth ministry i. e. when the “owners” find a great and capable leader as well as a winning team, they settle for other affairs in the congregation. As a result, the star player is left with the duty of handling the ministry on his/her own and eventually burns out and has to be replaced. The owners will then be involved and look for another great player and the cycle continues.
In his attempt to help in creating a healthy youth ministry, Doug Fields offers a method that is not dependent on a single player so that the ministry will not be destroyed if that particular person leaves. In order for a ministry to be healthy it has to be guided by a purpose. Doug Fields offer nine components in achieving the purpose that a ministry should have as manifested in the Great Commandments and the Great Commission. These nine components are power of God, purpose, potential audience, programs, process, planned values, parents, participating leaders and perseverance.
The words “God wired us with the capacity to laugh, and we shouldn’t view fun as ungodly” (Fields, 1999) really caught my attention. I can say that this phrase reflects the common thinking of most people in the society. For most people, being religious or involved in the ministry takes away enjoyment because many things are forbidden. They believe that religious people are living a boring life chained by the rules and laws dictated by their religion. These words from Doug Fields are a great awakening for those who have viewed religion in such a manner.
Christians are allowed to have fun and on the contrary, they are the ones that experience fun to the fullest. Most people have fun and have regrets in the end. The fun they had sometimes has negative effects because they want temporary happiness. In search of a fun thing to do, they engage themselves in things that destroys their body, their relationships and their families. The main difference between believers and unbelievers when it comes to having fun was the method. Unbelievers have fun by seeking to please themselves and giving in the desires of their flesh.
Christians have fun by doing enjoyable things while pleasing God. To please God is happiness in itself for Christians. To do fun things while pleasing the Lord is true happiness, the real fun that last. God does not forbid Christians to have fun rather, He wants us to have fun but not in such a way that we indulge ourselves in the desire of our flesh. God forbids us to do things in order to free us from sin, in order to free us from death so that we could have fun and have it to the fullest. I highly suggest that everyone read the book. It is not just for people with strong faith but even for newly born Christians.
Just as the author desire, the book is most helpful for the youths who want to develop their leadership skills and faith in the Lord. It is also recommended that every churches study the components mentioned in the book in order for their youth ministry to grow not only in numbers but as well as in knowledge and faith in God. It is indeed a great book that will surely help in developing the ministry of the youth and I really admire the author for having such great insights regarding the matter. It is a book that must really be read. Reference Fields, Dough. (1999). The Purpose Driven Youth Ministry.