I just sat in a drive thru line for 14 minutes for a chicken sandwich at the new Chick-fil-A in town. What would you do for 14 minutes? Listen to a baby cry on an airplane? X. Most of you check out on that one when you see a baby board the plane… But really, think about it. Why did I spend all that time waiting on a chicken sandwich but I won’t wait very long at all for the discipleship process to take effect?
To get right to it: it’s important to be that patient in ministry. Sometimes what we want to see happen takes a little while. When you communicate vision, everyone else is going to need time to catch up to what you’ve been thinking about for months. When you share the gospel, students are going to need to hear it again and again and again and again and them maybe, just maybe, they’ll take a step towards Jesus. When you host a retreat or a mission trip, it might take a few years to build up momentum. (Newer youth pastors, you read that right. I said years.) You can’t be like every other church who is “succeeding” where you “wish you could.” You need to be you.
We are about to change things around in the Sr. High in my ministry. Numbers may tank or attendance may explode. I don’t know. I’m not concerned with that. What will happen is God will be honored and the purpose will be achieved. Because I have felt the strong tide of God’s conviction pulling me this way for a while now. And if I’m willing to sit in line for 14 minutes for chicken, I’ve got to be willing to take a risk and “start over,” letting ministry happen in obedience. I think far too often in youth ministry land we come in with grand ideas, and if they don’t work, we subscribe to some youth ministry website and use all of their material, and when that doesn’t work we blame the students for apathy and update our resumes.
For me, it’s hard to look around town (and online) and see what bigger, more known churches are doing and how they’re doing it. The temptation to be a church chameleon is still there for me, but I’m learning to be content as I follow what God has called me to. And I can’t wait to see what happens next!