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Tag Archives | Torie Fields

Youth Ministry & Parenting: Should we bring our own kids to camp?

Fields' kids 2As I write this, two of my three kids are at camp. The 24 year old is on a youth ministry staff where she has been in charge of running this particular camp, and her 21 year old brother went to help out (a last minute counselor cancellation).

My kids know camp. My kids love camp.

They should… they are children of a youth pastor.

They tagged along to camp before they could walk and have seen just about every time of camp/mission trip/overnighter there is. I loved having them there and they loved being there.

FAST FORWARD: Today, fortunately, all 3 of my children love and follow Jesus, value the collective gathering we call church, have deep/meaningful friendships, love their family, and even enjoy their parents (which talking about that is the easiest way to get me to cry).

I realize all of that could change at any time.

I talk with youth workers almost every day, and this summer it seems like I spoke with more insecure youth workers/parents than normal. My use of the word “insecure” is different than you might imagine–I don’t mean they couldn’t look me in the eyes. I mean they were insecure in their parenting/youth ministry decisions.

PAUSE: I understand the fear of raising kids in the ministry… for Cathy and I, working with teenagers was a form of birth control early in our marriage. I always wondered, “Are my kids going to be freaks because they grew up in youth ministry?”

Here was the most common question I heard: “Are we doing the right thing by bringing our own kids to camp?”

I’m sure there are many who disagree with me, but that specific question is always met by an immediate “yes” from me. Yes. Yes. Yes.

A significant part of who my kids are (now, as young adults) is because they were constantly surrounded by amazing people (teens & adults) in fun environments (like camp!). I believe one of the key factors in their faith development was watching older “kids” live and fail in their pursuit of Jesus on these trips. As PK’s, my kids went to school on other kids.

Today, many of our friends will ask how we infused a heart for the world into our children (they ask because all of my kids frequent Africa). I’m not exactly sure, but I know that every Spring Break (from when they were in the womb all the way to teen years) they would join us as we ministered in impoverished communities in Mexico. I’m not positive that’s why they have a missional world view–my theology leaves a lot of room for God’s Spirit outside of our parenting decisions–but, I know taking them along contributed.

I realize that this broad-sweeping “yes, take your kids with you to camp” begs more questions and it’s definitely not as simple as I’m making it sound. But, as you evaluate your summer and consider next summer… I would encourage you to make your kids part of your camp. Don’t feel guilty for bring them. Don’t second-guess yourself.

Okay, bring on the questions (parenting and youth ministry) and I’ll do my best to answer some of them.

Enjoy your parenting… they’ll leave the house before you know it (our youngest leaves in 24 days, 3 hours and 18 minutes). Dang, more tears.

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Video: What an amazing way to tell an amazing story!


I’m stunned by the quality of this video’s creativity and story-telling!

This video was created by Luke St. Hilaire (who is on the youth ministry team with Matt McGill & the lovely, talented, amazing Torie Fields) and it’s a worthy video to share with others.

Good Friday from Luke St. Hilaire on Vimeo.

[If you can't see this in RSS feed, click here]


What did you think? Share it here.


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Does a parent's faith really matter?


Today I get the privilege of helping Jim Burns do a radio interview with Kara Powell on her new book, “Sticky Faith: everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids.”


I’m not done reading her book yet, but the first chapter set the tone that I’m excited to explore. Her research (along with co-author Chap Clark) reveals that there’s a strong connection between a “faith that sticks” and “parental support.”

Kara writes, “But parental support, while important, is not the only way you influence your child. More than even your support, it’s who you are that shapes your kid.” (page 21)

As a lifelong youth worker, I’ve had many hunches about this reality. Over many years it has been pretty easy to see the connection between a child and a parent’s faith. It’s not 100% true, as there are always exceptions, but I’ve seen it so often.

Kara continues, “In fact, it’s challenging to point to a Sticky Faith factor that is more significant than you (as a parent). How you express and live out your faith may have a greater impact on your son or daughter than anything else.” (page 21-22)

This last weekend at the National Youth Workers’ Convention I taught a seminar titled, “Raising Kids in Ministry” with my 22 year old daughter Torie. Listening to Torie was a great reminder that she was watching everything that Cathy and I were doing. Our kids were watching our faith-in-action, they were watching how we treated those who were less privileged, how we talked to one another, how we talked to and about Jesus, and how we followed the leading of God’s Spirit.

Bottom line… children are watching the faith of their parents. What are your kids seeing in you?

Question: What do you believe are some of the primary reasons a young person’s faith sticks? Share it here.


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12 reasons I'm thrilled to be going to Youth Specialties' Conventions this fall!


I love the opportunity to be at a gathering of youth workers! Love it!

There’s been a bunch of emails popping around the YS world lately because convention numbers are really strong and the leadership team is thrilled that so many youth workers are coming this year. I’m so excited to be more intimately connected to Youth Specialties now and part of the YS’ National Youth Worker Convention leadership team.

Today a youth ministry friend was trying to decide if he was going to go to one of the conventions this fall, and he asked me, “What do you like so much about them?” And, since I blog, I thought, “That would be fun to write about!”

So, here goes… 12 reasons I’m excited for the YS conventions:

1. Locations. San Diego is one of my favorite places in the world! And, I love Atlanta because some of our best friends in the world live there and the entire Fields’ family is going to join us this year.

2. New material. I’m paying for it now (all these new preps), but I’m excited to be teaching all new workshops. I love my old-stuff, but I’ve very excited to develop new material for these sessions:
>Youth Ministry and Marriage
>Behind the Curtain: Tending to the Private Life of a Public Person
>Raising Your Own Kids in Ministry

3. Matlock. One of the primary reasons I rejoined YS was because of Mark’s heart and vision. He’s great! Thrilled that he’s taking the lead for a new era.

4. Tic. One of my favorite all-time friends is closing out an illustrious career at YS to go work full-time in the church. I can’t wait to see many youth ministry veterans honor him.

5. Torie. She’s the best! My 22year old daughter is not only working full-time in youth ministry, but she’s helping me teach a workshop on raising kids in ministry.

6. Reunion. Going to YS’ conventions is like a family reunion for me. My first YS convention was 1982 and I was so poor that a friend and I ate leftover food from hotel rooms (placed outside their door). I know, gross…but, totally true.

7. Cost. While I don’t have to pay, many of my friends do and they’re happy the cost has dropped this year. Conferences have very slim margins and I’m grateful that YS did everything they could to drop the price. [BTW: another early, cost-saving deadline for San Diego ends today]

8. New. I’m excited that many people are going to hear of the new initiatives that YS has been working on behind the scenes. I’m excited to announce a couple myself.

9. Crowds. Typically, the only people who like crowds are preachers, but this is my type of crowd. I love that YS hosts the largest, most diverse gathering of youth workers in the world. It will be fun to see everyone under one roof.

10. Surprises. Can’t tell you, but I know they’re coming. I love surprises (especially good ones).

11. Conversations. I’ll be exhausted at the end of the NYWC, but I know the conversations are going to be warm and rich.

12. Crowder. Does this one even need a description? The David Crowder Band is on my playlist and it will be fun to worship with them and many others.

I’m hoping that if you’re going to attend one of the two this fall that we’ll get the opportunity to connect. I love putting faces to those who listen to the podcast and engage with the blog. Here’s a little video that we put out that has a little more personal invitation.


Can’t wait to see you at one of these two conventions!

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10 reasons I’m thrilled there’s another Fields’ in youth ministry


30 years ago today (Sept. 1, 1981) I was an 18 year-old, college freshman who started his first day at work. I was hired to work on a youth ministry team as an intern at South Coast Community Church (now called Mariners’ Church).

Today, my 22 year old daughter (Torie) begins her first (post college) job. Guess where? Yep, Mariners’ Church. 30 years later another Fields’ debuts in a youth ministry experience. How fun is that?







Here’s 10 reasons I’m thrilled that my daughter is in youth ministry:

1. I’m thrilled that she will have incredible impact on young lives.

2. I’m thrilled that she will learn youth ministry from one of my best friends on the planet—Matt McGill. He’s a great thinker, he knows youth ministry, he’s fun, and he will be able to build on Torie’s strengths and help her in her weaknesses. There are also amazing, veteran women leaders on their youth ministry team who have so much to pass on.

3. I’m thrilled my daughter loves the church (big “C” and little “c”).

4. I’m thrilled that she’ll have a job that Cathy and I know something about (as opposed to fashion) and we’ll share in rich conversations.

5. I’m thrilled that she will get to use her gifts in a way that will bring glory to God.

6. I’m thrilled that she’ll develop new gifts. I’m so excited to see new areas of her life flourish.

7. I’m thrilled that she’ll be put in situations that will stretch her faith and increase her dependence on God’s power.

8. I’m thrilled for the people that she’ll meet.

9. I’m thrilled for the incredible leaders at Mariners that will rub off on her.

10. I’m thrilled for the time she’ll be spending in God’s Word and thinking about how to communicate to teenagers.

Obviously, I’m thrilled!

For those with younger kids, hang in there, cherish your family time, put them before your ministry, and prepare to be amazed at what God can and will do in their life.

If you’re interested, Torie and I will be doing a seminar at the Youth Specialties National Youth Worker’s Convention on “Raising Kids in Ministry.” And, Cathy and I are doing a couple of seminars on “Ministry and Marriage.”

We’d love for you to join us. If you want a discount, enter the word “podcast” under “discount code” and you’ll save $25.

Question: What’s your current prayer for your children?

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Who is the funniest? part 3


This is the tie-breaking week for the Fields’ family. Torie my oldest, won week 1 by a landslide (%) with MATT MCGILL SPORTS’ INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO, but last week Cassie (my 16 year old) came back and barely won your vote (53% to 46%) with PLEASE DON’T WATCH THIS.

My friend Walt Mueller has submitted a video to rival this week’s winner. So, the competition is moving beyond family in pursuit of the funniest video. One more time to vote for the girls and it will send the winner into a head-to-head with the honorable Walt next week.

These are a little old and maybe a little played, but they’re what the girls’ submitted for their head-to-head battle. Please pick a funniest video and settle the dual for who is the funniest Fields’ girl.



Which is funnier? part 3customer surveys






Want to get in the funniest video competition? Walt has next week…who is next?

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Who is the funniest? part 2

One of the major descriptors within the Fields’ family is humor. Everyone in our family loves to laugh and we all give props to other family members who succeed in humor. This series of posts is a fun way to have you help settle some friendly, family competition.

Last week I asked for help in deciding which family nominated video is funnier. You voted, and Torie (my oldest) dominated her little sister (Cassie) with a large majority vote (66.47% vs. 33.53%). Torie did so with a clever move of picking a Matt McGill Sports’ Instructional Video (youth ministry classics).

This week…there’s two more good ones. I don’t tell you who picked which video, but I’ll reveal the winner again next week.

Here’s video #1: a 31 second one titled: “Don’t watch this one”



Which is the funnier video (part 2)?online surveys


Here’s video #2: a 3 minute video: Lakers Parade interviews w/ Kyle





Please cast your vote!

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Who is the funniest?



There’s a little friendly competition going on in my house over who has the best eye for humor videos between my daughters. I told them no one has a better eye for humor than youth workers. So, I figured we could have you vote and help solve the debate. In addition to solving a Fields’ family feud, you might also be exposed to some videos that you can use in your ministry.

Pick a better video and cast your vote. I’ll do it again next week and share the results of this week’s win. My younger daughter already has 3 weeks loaded and ready to go.

So, cast your votes:




Which is the funnier video?online surveys







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