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The Purpose Driven approach to Youth Ministry

“PURPOSE Driven Youth Ministry” is not about Rick Warren of Doug Fields. It is not about adopting the approach and style of Saddleback church. It is not a Western or Californian concept. Even having a vision statement or goal does not make a ministry Purpose Driven; just as being in a McDonald’s restaurant will not change one into a Big Mac.

So what is Purpose Driven? Purpose Driven means having a deliberate desire to balance the five purposes of the church — Evan-gelism, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry and Worship.

This was repeatedly emphasised by Pastor Chris Reed, Pastor of Student Ministries at Calvary Baptist Church, Bellfower, California. Accompanied by his wife Tina and a team of four youth leaders, he was the speaker for the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry Conference, a youth training event organised by the Board of Youth Ministry of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) and Paya Lebar Methodist Church and Bukit Panjang Methodist Church.

The three-day event, held at Paya Lebar Methodist Church from May 13-15, 2004, was opened by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon. There were nearly 400 participants from more than 90 churches.

Staff and youth ministry leaders from 12 CAC churches and 10 Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) churches took part in the conference. Daily worship was conducted by teams from Paya Lebar Methodist Church, TruthMin and Sonic Edge. The CAC President, the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot, closed the conference with a challenge and prayer.

Many participants were drawn to the conference be-cause of the current interest in all things purpose-driven. Others came because they wanted to better their youth ministry work.

The conference was a good opportunity for the participants to connect with one another. It was also a time of learning from one another.

On May 17, a special session with the speaker was held for CAC youth workers. It was a very profitable time. The group affirmed that the Purpose Driven strategy was compatible with Sonlife’s Growing Healthy Church programme.

That same afternoon, youth staff and leaders from 13 churches met to discuss the issues connected with implementing the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry approach in their churches.

The conference was much appreciated by the participants. It highlighted the importance of training that churches have placed on the Youth Ministry.

The Rev Poh Heow Lee is Director of Youth Ministry of the Chinese Annual Conference and Associate Pastor of Bukit Panjang Methodist Church.