PRINCIPLE 1: THE POWER OF GOD – working through passionate leaders with pure hearts.
It all begins with you and your volunteers! When transformation begins at the top, it flows down trickling into every life below it.
Before this book many other resources focused on the how: ‘let’s create the best youth work ever’. Focusing on the how was a mistake, well at least the wrong how. Youth Work should begin with: ‘how can I be a person of God’.
Relationship is crucial – firstly your relationship with God, then your relationship with young people. This first principle focuses on these relationships and how they are directly connected:
“[there is] a direct connection exists between a leader’s spiritual vitality and a healthy youth ministry.” – PDYM.
PRINCIPLE 2: PURPOSE – discover why your youth group exists.
This section is refreshing – instead of encouraging you to jump into the work, it encourages you to slow down.
Based on five New Testament purpose that built the early church, Doug spells out that real youth work comes from careful planning and communication. You will be sent to drawing board to make a blueprint of your work: to write down the purpose of what you do.
Then comes communicating it, making the plan is only half the battle. Now you’ve got to spread the word, tell the leaders of your church and the congregation and put into place the leadership fire-power behind your blueprint to get everyone excited about this new adventure.
PRINCIPLE 3: POTENTIAL AUDIENCE – identify your target.
Often youth works charge in like a Rhino without any consideration for where the young people / potential young people are at: spiritually, emotionally, and … well generally.
This section stresses the importance of studying your young people, what makes them, them. How can I communicate the gospel so they understand it? How can I get them to invite their friends? Understanding your young people is the key to fulfilling the blueprint based on the New Testament purposes you will have made in the second section.
PRINCIPLE 4: PROGRAMS – decide on your teaching
So you’ve made your blueprint (section 2: Purpose) and you’ve studied your potential/existing young people (section 3: Potential Audience). Now comes the math’s:
Purpose + Potential Audience = Your Program!
You might find you have two different groups, one that need intense discipleship and one that need a football coach. You might find that you have a bunch of kids desperate to be in the worship band, a group who don’t fit into ‘church’ but are dragged kicking and screaming and a gang of lads who have nothing to do so end up getting into trouble.
Now you know what you’re working with you can plan your groups to reach, teach and disciple them. In this section Doug also teaches the five health characteristics you should always try to plan into your groups for balanced and healthy spiritual growth:
PRINCIPLE 5: PROCESS – visually displaying your plan
Have you ever thought to yourself: ‘do my young people actually get what we’re doing’.
You’re not alone, and this section is proof. You should be spelling it out for them so they could grab hold of the vision and
Doug will encourage you to display your groups visions in a visual format – as a baseball diamond, a pyramid, a football team – however you want. Now you’ll have a benchmark pointing in the direction you want your ministry to be heading, and now everyone will be able to see it too.
PRINCIPLE 6: PLANNED VALUES – define the values that will strengthen your groups
Now it’s time to identify your groups key values – much like setting your ‘code of conduct’ – using this to strengthen your ministry. Nail down the values you want to instill in your young people, and discover the ways you can communicate them.
PRINCIPLE 7: PARENTS – get the parents in your church on your side
Now the book takes an important turn. It’s all very good to plan stuff, but youth work comes down to relationship. Now the focus shifts from planning to people.
The worst thing you can do is isolate your young people, disconnecting them from the church family. Doug knows this, and so this whole section is about the valuable role parents play in the church family and how you can maximize their role.
Admittedly everything up to know has been a walk in the park compared to winning over the parents support, it’s going to be tough and it’s going to take time. But in this section you’ll find practical advice on how to implement and persist on this important venture in parent and child relations.
PRINCIPLE 8: PARTICIPATING LEADERS – hunting for new volunteers and nurturing their potential
You can’t do it alone. We all need help from like-minded and enthusiastic people. And this section aims to help you surround yourself with adult leaders that go beyond ‘an extra adult who just reads a book at the back and is there for child protection purposes’.
Everyone is busy, especially youth workers! So you need passionate people who will help lighten the yoke. Doug emphasizes in this chapter that the focus should be on encouraging your leaders to develop relationships with the young people.
It’s when the helpers you nurture move from baby-sitting to leading that spiritual growth will flourish in your groups.
PRINCIPLE 9: PERSEVERANCE
Protecting yourself is the last and arguably most important section of the lot.
Learn how to handle the pressures of leading the church youth work, juggling several projects effectively, disciplining your youth with positive energy rather than negative energy and managing your time for maximum impact to the young people’s lives.
WHAT REAL YOUTH WORKERS SAY:
Here’s what some real-life youth worker/volunteers have said about ‘Purpose Driven Youth Minstry’.
“This is the best book on youth ministry that I've read. Fields leaves no bases uncovered, from working with parents to handling discipline. I wish I had read this book before my first youth pastorate. It would have saved me many mistakes.” – Andrew McHenry, Amazom.com Review.
“It transcends culture, which was a concern of mine in the beginning; however, after reading it, I can tell that it was truly God inspired. It exceeded my expectations.” – LaTrisha, Christianbook.com Review.
“Great book both practical & inspirational” – Thea Pitcher, GoodReads.com Review.