Let’s Figure Out The Future Of Youth Ministry Together

Doug Fields
August 25th, 2020

A message from Doug…

Being a youth pastor during the last 5+ months has been so very wild for me! Some of the strangest moments in my 30+ years as a youth pastor. We had to make quick pivots to go fully online, then try to figure out how to counter students’ Zoom-fatigue, then we prepared to meet in person.

Those plans blew up when we really couldn’t meet again, and then I had some parents tell me I was too COVID-conservative and then an hour later I’m accused of being COVID-liberal. Yikes!

My life was a lot easier before I went back into the church. I’m 100% aware I’m not alone, and I realize I’m not telling you anything you haven’t been experiencing yourself. In so many words, I know youth ministry has likely been both different and challenging for you. 

As you know, the church hasn’t been the only entity impacted by COVID as hotels, restaurants, and convention centers have been ravished. Unfortunately, as much as the city of Columbus would love to host a few thousand amazing youth workers, they can’t. There’s too much uncertainty for assuring the safety of those attending NYWC. 

After celebrating the 50th anniversary of NYWC only nine months ago, we have to turn the 51st National Youth Workers Convention into a digital event.

We are following the lead of what so many fantastic youth workers have done during this COVID-season and using this crisis to give birth to an event that we believe will be both creative and powerful. Yes, everything is changing, but one thing we know hasn’t changed is that youth workers need training and inspiration. 

I’ve gone to every NYWC since 1984, and YS has always been considered the Big Tent in youth ministry. That tent is going to get even bigger as we combine with some amazing organizations. Youth Specialties, Orange Students, Download Youth Ministry, and the Fuller Youth Institute are coming together to present a new, two-day digital event called the Youth Ministry Exchange (YMX).

To make this all work, we had to change the dates but, don’t worry if those dates don’t work for you, keep your calendar blocked for November 16-22, 2020 for a restream during the original dates of NYWC.

This event will allow us to reimagine the future of youth ministry and help you innovate for a new era through the same type of engaging presentations, small group brainstorming sessions, and specific breakout topics that NYWC has been known to create. 

You’ll hear from familiar YS voices, plus new leaders we can’t wait for you to meet. Not to mention there will be a digital Exhibit Hall to connect with awesome organizations. Don’t worry you will still get your fix of swags and giveaways…we know how many of you base your wardrobe off of the free t-shirts you get from NYWC. And you can expect some big surprises–seriously!–and as much fun and energy as we can squeeze through your internet connection.

We are working hard to build an incredible youth ministry experience. We hope you are able to join us! Learn more at youthministryexchange.com.

Grateful for who you are and what you do as a youth worker!

Doug Fields

Doug Fields is a 30+ year veteran youth pastor. He is also the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com, a teaching pastor at Mariners Church, an Orange-consultant, part of the HomeWord Center for Youth/Family at Azusa Pacific University, and the author of more than 50 youth ministry & marriage books. More information about Doug is available at www.dougfields.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.