Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650

Nov. 18, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) — The Rev. Doug Fields, a well-known author of youth ministry resources, will be the featured speaker at Perkins School of Theology’s annual School of Youth Ministry. The school, which runs from Jan. 10-17, will be at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas.

Rev. Fields, who will speak and lead workshops on Jan. 13, is the pastor to students at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. He has written more than 25 books on youth ministry, teenagers and parenting, including Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry and Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A Personal and Practical Guide to Starting Right.

The Rev. Walt Marcum, director of youth ministries at Highland Park United Methodist Church who will be teaching in the school’s beginners’ track, said Rev. Fields’ experience makes him a perfect choice to teach at the conference.

“Doug is one of the bright shining stars of youth ministry,” Rev. Marcum said. “The driving concern that led to the formation of the Perkins’ School of Youth Ministry is how short of a tenure youth ministers have. They basically leave it before they learn it. At the school, we teach survival skills. This is Doug’s area of expertise.”

Rev. Marcum, co-author of The United Methodist Church’s confirmation resources, will lead a weekend course on teaching youth confirmands.

Celia Whitler will be the featured worship leader. Whitler, a Christian recording artist, recently released her fifth CD, “So Far.”

The Perkins School of Youth Ministry provides leadership training to youth ministers from large and small churches in urban and rural areas. The program includes nearly 30 courses for experienced and beginning youth ministers.

The weeklong program is designed for those who can only attend workshops for one day, a weekend, or for those who can take advantage of the complete curriculum.

The deadline for early registration is Dec. 1. Registration and further information are available by calling 214-768-3515 or 1-888-THEOLOGY. Information also is available on the Perkins website at

Courses in the School of Youth Ministry are a balance of academic teaching and practical applications. Topics for this year include “A Comprehensive Introduction into Youth Ministry,” “Sunday School: That’s So Five Years Ago,” “Teaching Human Sexuality,” “Theology with The Simpsons,” “Planning a Mission Trip,” and “Beyond Generation X - The Millennial Generation,” as well as many other theological and “how-to” sessions.

The weeklong school, which attracts more than 150 people involved in youth ministry from more than 35 states, also includes “Early Bird Events” for those who arrive Jan. 10.

Perkins, one of Southern Methodist University’s three original schools, trains students from all religious denominations, offering advanced degrees in theological studies, sacred music, religious education and ministry. One of a handful of university-related theological institutions of The United Methodist Church, Perkins’ learning experience emphasizes thorough teaching in the basics of the Christian faith and the practice of ministry, including internships at local churches, hospitals and community centers.