AZUSA, Calif. — Leading youth pastor Doug Fields, founder of Simply Youth Ministry and author of Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, joins Azusa Pacific University’s HomeWord Center for Youth and Family as senior director, effective Dec. 1.

“In every generation, God uses people to lead ministries and movements,” said Jim Burns, Ph.D., executive director for the center. “Doug Fields is one of the leading influencers in the world of youth ministry. He may be the most respected and listened to youth specialist ever. Having him join Azusa Pacific’s HomeWord Center for Youth and Family furthers the development of APU’s expertise in areas of youth and family as they relate to teaching and training pastors and parents.”

As senior director, Fields serves as an ambassador for APU and the center through speaking and writing opportunities centered on youth and family. His role includes leading and hosting seminars alongside Burns and APU faculty and staff, teaching youth ministry classes, and advising on the development of programs, seminars, conferences, and research to enable APU to meet needs of today’s youth and families. In addition, his annual Student Leadership Conference will take place at Azusa Pacific in summer 2011.

“I'm very excited to join Jim Burns and the Homeword Center for Youth and Family team at APU,” said Fields. “I’ve worked in the church for almost 30 years, and I'm thrilled to spend the next season of my life being more intentional about training the upcoming generation of youth ministry leaders. Beyond the classroom, I'm looking forward to spending one-on-one and small group time with students studying youth ministry. It will be a joy to learn from them as well as share my experience. I envision APU becoming a destination spot for youth ministry training throughout Southern California, and I'm anxious to play a small part in making that happen.”

A sought-after speaker, consultant, and author, Fields brings more than 30 years of experience in youth ministry. He’s the author of more than 50 books, produces weekly podcasts to answer questions about youth ministry, and hosts an annual Student Leadership Conference, one of the most highly regarded student leader events in the nation that attracts hundreds of teenagers from around the world. In all this, he demonstrates his heart and passion lie with ministering to teenagers and youth workers.

“In addition to education, Azusa Pacific exists to serve the Church,” said APU President Jon R. Wallace, DBA. “Having someone of Doug Fields’ caliber assisting with the training of future youth ministry leaders is a tremendous opportunity for APU.”

Fields graduated from Vanguard University and received an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. He previously served as the youth pastor for 11 years at South Coast Community Church (now Mariners Church) in Newport Beach and 18 years at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. For more about Fields, visit www.dougfields.com.

APU’s HomeWord Center for Youth and Family, under the leadership of author and speaker Jim Burns, is the largest provider of Christian parenting and youth seminars in the United States. The center aims to educate, equip, and encourage parents and churches to build God-honoring families from generation to generation through seminars, articles and resources, and radio broadcasts.www.homeword.com