Have you ever wondered, in ministry, “Does this even matter?” It’s easy to get to this point in ministry, especially when we have poured our heart into something and it doesn’t turn out as we would hope. Often times, though, God shows up and does something when we least expect it. Maybe it’s when a teenager says that he/she really felt God’s presence, even when you feel your program just bombed.

Doug Fields is one of my youth ministry mentors (from afar). I always enjoy hearing him speak. This year, he closed out the Orange Conference 2017 with a message that can be summarized like this: “When we are for our neighbors, we do more than just talk about it.”

So many times, we get focused on the wrong things, and we don’t give God a chance to work. We are too busy and cannot give attention to people. We depend too much on ourselves and forget God.

Jesus summarized all the Law and the Prophets in Mark 12:29-31, where He basically said to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Even though Jesus’ teaching is sometimes confusing, He is super clear in this command. He said, “Love your neighbors.” Then he gives us a method: Just as I have done.

Jesus didn’t only talk about love. He modeled it. How would our ministries look if we did the same thing?

If Jesus did it, we should do it. If we don’t do it, the ones who follow us won’t do it.

So, how did Jesus do this and what does it mean for us? Doug suggested the following three suggestions based on Jesus’ example:

  • Jesus was not in a hurry. Busy is the enemy of neighborly. When we’re busy, we’re left to a ministry of words. Slow yourself down.
  • Jesus spent time with messy people. Messy people are not the enemies. When we hang out with them, we’ll understand grace more. Get some messy friends.
  • Jesus expected God’s power to show up. We limit God’s power when we just say a prayer to ask God to bless our program. Go with confidence and expectation.

If we lead like Jesus did, we set an expectation that others will also do what Jesus did.

So, what’s your next step to putting this into practice? What will you actually start doing instead of just talking about it? We have people who follow us, and they need to see us following Jesus too, modeling it for them, and participating right alongside them!

I think if we begin to actually stop focusing on the wrong things and start following Jesus like we should and lead others by our example, we will see amazing things happen, and we will start wondering, “It it worth it?” a whole lot less, because we will see that it is very much worth every second of it!!


You can follow Doug Fields on Twitter @DougFields. You can also check out his online resource company, Download Youth Ministry, at downloadyouthministry.com.

Want more from The Orange Conference 2017? Click here!

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