Doug Fields is a former youth pastor from Saddleback Church and got super famous in the youth ministry world with his publication of Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, which applies Rick Warren’s strategies to a youth ministry setting. His less famous but just as significant second book is, Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: a Personal and Practical Guide to Starting Right. It’s the absolute best book out on starting well in ministry, setting a foundation for a long and effective ministry life and avoiding some really common traps that rookies can fall into.
This book was super helpful for me when I was young in ministry, and it has been my go-to text form helping those who are brand new to youth ministry. This fall, I read it with another guy who was brand new, but not youth ministry. It was almost fully applicable, but it made me wish I knew of a book like this for rookies in other ministry areas.
The book is also great because it doesn’t assume that all youth ministers are paid vocational pastors. It has a lot of material for volunteers to grow from and learn in. It could also be helpful for those who supervise youth workers, to help them succeed early and have great influence for the gospel.
Here’s some highlights:
- p.82, “Too often, youth workers are seduced by the lure of designing an attractive program. They admire the creativity it offers, the potential it produces, the challenge it brings, the wows expressed from observing youth workers – and then they forget the reason for the program.”
- p.176, “Sit down with your pastor and agree on goals for your first month, first quarter, and first year. Ask him to write an endorsement letter on your behalf and send it to the existing volunteer team. Your pastor’s credibility and stamp of approval enhances your authority.”
- p.186, “If you’ve got some time-conscious potential volunteers, offer options to serve within varied amounts of time. Draft a list of ways volunteers might meaningfully contribute if they served 30 minutes a week, two hours a week, or five hours a week.”
- p.240 (contributed by Tony Campolo), “It’s important to note that the early church often prayed itself into harmony (Acts 5:12, 15:25) before making decisions.”