One of the reasons I love going to any Christian conference is gaining from the wisdom of others. The Orange Conference is no different. One of my favorites is Doug Fields. Many of you in the youth ministry world probably know who he is already. For those who do not, you should get to know him. He was the lead student minister at Saddleback Church in California for many years, before his recent resignation. Now, he continues to write and speak about student and family ministries all across the country.

Photo from whatisorange.org

Doug speaks from the heart, and he speaks from experience. Not only does he keep things interesting with lots of personal examples, he is a great communicator.

One of the things I have learned from Doug is the importance of putting family first (behind God of course) after ministry and the church. As a minister, your first priority should be on helping your family know, serve, and glorify God. Then, you should go help others do the same in the church and world. If your family is not healthy in their relationship with God, your ministry is suffering. This is a change of mindset for many in ministry, but it is crucial. Sure, things get busy and tough, but a minister needs to lead at home before the church. In turn, he lead better at church.

One other point I have learned from Doug is to move out of the spotlight and put others in it. This should happen in many ways. For me, it has influenced me in two ways. I have placed more importance on our small groups and small group leaders, with the goal of allowing the students to connect with them and seek them out for spiritual guidance (in addition to their parents). Secondly, I have also been trying to help the students realize their own spiritual gifts and talents, and in turn, begin using them in the ministry. Doug has helped me step out of the spotlight and place others in it, so that the ministry does not depend upon me.

To find out more about Doug Fields, head to his blog.

For more on The Orange Conference, head to their website.

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