building a solid foundation

What a Cup of Coffee Taught Me About Patience

Last week I was in the midwest for a speaking engagement. Afterwards I met up with a friend who lived nearby for a cup of coffee. As we were placing our orders the barista just started engaging in conversation with us. Not really a problem with the exception that there was a line behind us.  But, what surprised me was how patient everyone was.

I was almost embarrassed that this barista was slowing down the line.  My friend and I talked about it and he said, “That’s just the culture around here.”

It’s amazing how impatient we can be as youth ministers. We instantly want:

  • Big Numbers
  • Volunteers
  • Salary Increases
  • Recognition
  • Life Change

The problem is that it takes time to achieve most of those goals.  They take time because youth ministry is a journey where you, the teenagers, families and the entire church need to grow and mature.  Besides when you focus on instant results you risk missing out on:


Relationships take time and effort. To really get to know someone takes listening to them and observing how they behave in a variety of situations.  To really be able to go deep with a teenager in their faith formation takes time and patience.  Sometimes it means waiting years before you get to witness the fruit of your labor.


While you can achieve impressive results instantly, the challenge will lay in sustaining them. To create a long lasting and thriving youth ministry you need to have patience. That means experiencing failure and set backs.  It means waiting for the right people and saying, “No” to good opportunities so that you can pave the way for greater ones.


Even Jesus took the time to quietly go off and spend time with God. He knew in order to serve the crowds he needed to do be spiritually fed. The vision for your youth ministry is one that God is giving you. To know it well and embrace it means taking the time to slow down.

Too often we get impatient with God, when it’s really Him waiting on us. Making daily prayer and scripture reading a part of your habits is essential to building up the patience to see God’s plan for you.

While youth ministry is also a movement it doesn’t always mean you need to be on the go.  Build patience by intentionally scheduling in margin and taking time to engage in the moment. Not only will you see your ministry grow, but you’ll see the many ways it’s being blessed.

[reminder] Where do you find yourself needing the most patience? [/reminder]


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