Okay, Pastor, great job. You've shown us these five principles, but you said you'd tell us the how. What's the how? How do we take these five principles of purpose and make them something that we can live? How do we go from the idea to the reality?
Well, I'm glad you asked. Because this morning, I want to tell you.
In the fall of 2000, Amy and I attended the Youth Specialties, National Youth Workers Convention. The convention is a training conference for youth workers that brings some of the most influential, the most experienced, most God-inspired youth thinkers, for four days of seminars, Q&A, instruction, counsel, worship, and fellowship. It's an amazing event.
But it was in 2000, I sat in a seminar led by Doug Fields. The topic was, The Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. The seminar was so good, I bought the book. However, I didn't read the book until that following May. At the church I had a week of study leave so that I could get away, study, pray, and plan. I took that week and I read Doug's book. The book, in great detail defined the idea of creating a student ministry where the five biblical purposes of Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission served as the building blocks of all that ministry did. Doug reasoned, through the proof of his own ministry at Saddleback Church, and the evidence of Saddleback itself, the home of Rick Warren and the Purpose Drive Church model, that if we as youth pastors focused on building a ministry around these five purposes, purposes that God clearly lays out in Scripture, then the Gospel of Christ can be effectively proclaimed, and instead of simply influencing students to attend church, we would train up a generation of students who lived the life the were created to live, in a genuine love-relationship with the Creator. It was a powerful statement.
So I studied the book and I studied the Scriptures and i agreed with Doug's conclusion. But it was more than a principle or a model for a ministry, these were life principles, And if I was about to adopt these principles for ministry, then I would have to adopt them as a way of life as well.
By the end of the week, I rewrote the purpose and mission of the student ministry. Not only that, but I committed to life the purposes out in my life. To write a statement for my life. That everything I did, would reflect the purposes as defined in Matthew 22:37-40 and Matthew 28:19-20.
That summer was a life changing summer. When September hit, we launch a brand new student ministry. We set aside the fluff and the gimmicks that most youth ministries were doing. No more trick programming to get students in the doors. We created fellowship by building relationships, focusing on the student. We gave them a place to belong and celebrated who they were by allowing them to serve one another with by using their gifts and talents. We taught the Bible and it changed the students lives. And the more we taught the more they hungered for it. Image that. We took our first mission trips, going away to serve others and share God's love. And guess what happened. God grew the ministry. We started with 4 committed students in 1999. By the end of time in 2005, on an average night we'd see over 40 students. In just a few years, God multiplied the lives that he was changing. And not just the students, but also the leadership. Some of you are products of those years as we stood together to love students.
And that was cool and all, but do you know what the biggest change was? It was me. I changed. I changed because I discovered the life that I was meant to live; a life of purpose, God's purpose. I was no longer living for me, but for God. And when you live for God, well, there is no failure.
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