What are you doing now?

This weekend I had the privilege of returning to speak at Saddleback Church (where I worked for 18+ years–been gone for 3.5 years) and the top 2 questions that I get asked by these loving people are:

1. “How are you?” Great! Marriage is wonderful. Our family is fun and healthy. Our oldest is working at Mariners Church in Irvine on the youth ministry staff. Our son is studying at Azusa Pacific University, and our “baby” graduates high school this week and will be attending Point Loma University in the fall. Cathy and I are looking forward to what might be during our next season of life as “empty-nesters.”

2. “What are you doing now?” This isn’t as simple as it once was when I was working full-time in the church. I’m doing several things that I really love. I’m not sure I’ve ever shared this complex part of my life.

1. I’m working with my dear friend Jim Burns at the HomeWord Center for Youth & Family. It’s a non-profit ministry that focuses on Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Healthy Leaders, & Empowered Kids. I love it! It’s right up my alley.

2. I’m an advisor for Youth Specialities—one of the largest providers of youth ministry training events in the world. I’ve been speaking for them for 25+ years and now this is a more official consulting-type role.

3. I’m helping some very good buddies begin a little youth ministry resource company called Downloadyouthministry.com. It’s a total blast!

4. I’m doing some teaching and helping start a Masters’ (MA) program at Azusa Pacific University.

5. I’m speaking around the country on marriage, parenting and youth ministry related topics and guest-preaching in churches.

6. I’m assisting my dear friend Jeff Maguire (who used to be in my youth group) as he takes on the new role as lead pastor at Mariners’ Church in Mission Viejo. I usually teach there once every 4-6 weeks.

7. I’m still writing. I just co-authored a workbook called, “Can I SMASH my kids phone? How to help your kids develop responsibility and make good choices…without losing your mind.” And, I have 3 more book contracts that I’m currently working on: (a) Be her hero: how not to suck as a husband, (b) MarriedPeople: helping churches help marriages, and (c) Essential Jesus: 100 snapshots from the life of Jesus [not final title]

8. But, by far, I’m trying to do the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life… I’m trying to follow the person and teachings of Jesus and walk with Him in His Kingdom.

I’m loving my life and my friends and following Jesus into the next adventure. I don’t love email, not being able to get back to everyone, and asparagus.

You can follow me on Twitter.com/dougfields or Facebook.com/dougfields

There it is!


Introducing Badgify – A New Youth Ministry App

Remember that one time you went to art school to be a graphic designer? Oh wait, you didn’t? It sometimes seems that an inordinate amount of time is spent trying to figure out how to make youth group graphics. You’re already wearing a ton of hats – speaker, volunteer coordinator, event planner, janitor, caterer, counselor – here’s the perfect app to help take off the “graphics pro” hat off for a while.

Badgify creates super slick ministry name badges on your Mac or PC. You can create name tags for you staff, volunteers, student leaders, summer camp counselor, greeters, parents – even that guy who graduated last year but keeps showing up! You wouldn’t believe how simple it is – the guys over at Pesign Studio developed it so a volunteer with no training could knock out badges in no time and make you look like a graphics guru. All you do is type in a name, event/church, and position, then click “Apply”. Badgify will do the rest. It will automatically fit everything into the badge and make it look like you spent more than half your budget hiring someone to do it. Just print them on a label or and slide them into a lanyard! They currently have six incredible badge templates to choose from, but they said they have plans to release updates with even more!

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This app is a game changer! One of my values is relational ministry so I love anything that helps youth workers spend time with students and get out from behind the Macbook. Stop fiddling around on Photoshop and let Badgify do everything for you! Give it to a volunteer (make sure you print a badge for them first) and go to the junior high girls basketball game! OK, bad example.

Badgify is available exclusively at Download Youth Ministry! For on $12… make as many professional looking name tags as you want (after a few days, they’re raising the price).


Question: where do you currently use name tags? Share it here.

10 ways to be a great team-player, part 2

In part 1 of this series on being a team-player, I wrote about the need to support the primary leader within a youth ministry. In the next 2 posts, I’ll give 10 specific ways a volunteer might make that happen.

Here’s the first 5 ideas:

1. Positive attitude. I’d much rather have an emotionally positive volunteer than a skilled volunteer with a negative attitude. Youth ministry is fairly easy to teach. A negative person is difficult to change.

2. Flexibility. Youth ministry is hard to predict. I like for volunteers to not act stressed-out when things don’t go as planned—because they rarely do.

3. The ability to laugh off mistakes. Similar to flexible, but this is quality is more directed at mistakes or failure that are sure to happen within ministry. I appreciate hearing a volunteer say, “It was no big deal. I actually thought it was funny when the students showed up and no one thought thru transportation. No big deal.”

4. Speaking positive in front of students about tough situations. Every youth group has kids who complain… some actually are Varsity-type complainers. When an adult hears a kid complaining, it’s fairly easy to jump-in and join the chorus of complaints. But, a team-player will instead say, “This is nothing to complain about… we’re going to get there. So what? The van broke down. No big deal. We’re all alive.”

5. Servanthood. A team-player regularly asks the point person, “Can I do anything for you?” Or, “How can I help you right now?” Or, “Put me to work… allow me to relieve some of your stress.” This attitude of servanthood and willingness to lighten the load of others is a major factor in being a strong team player.

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll give you the opportunity to add to my list of 10, but today I’m curious how you (as a primary leader) get this type of specific information into the mind/hearts of the leaders who follow you.

Question: how do you currently “paint a picture” of what team work looks like? Share your thoughts here.

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