Time Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Adam Wormann)
I’m really not a patient person. People say that I am, and I may be in some ways, but I don’t feel like it. When I’m in traffic, I feel myself getting anxious and angry at other drivers (and in NJ, this happens a lot!). I get impatient waiting for the microwave when it takes 60 seconds to make a burrito. You’d think that someone can wait a minute or less for their lunch, but not me. It’s not that I’m too important or my time is too valuable. I just don’t like waiting. When things don’t happen quickly, I get frustrated.
This happens in ministry as well. Everyone tends to have ideas. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. The hard part is waiting for an idea to go through, whether it’s from a youth pastor waiting for a board to evaluate and go through “trial periods” or a volunteer who has great ideas but gets hesitation from a youth pastor. We get frustrated. Then what happens?
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
James 5:8-10 (ESV)
Take the time to actually look up that passage and read the surrounding verses as well. James is talking to people who were oppressed and being taken advantage of. James encourages them to be patient. Not only do we get impatient when we don’t see what we want to happen, but when there seems to be injustice. When you have a strong sense of justice, this becomes even harder. We want to see the results now, but they’re not there. James tells us we need to be patient in any context, in light of Christ’s return. Keep things in perspective. When we don’t, the next part comes in: grumbling.
When we get impatient, we grumble. Think about it, the last time someone didn’t agree with you, or things were taking a long time, how did you react? For me, it’s grumbling. I see it take place, and I complain to my wife, then to a friend. Think about your conversations, are they complaining, or productive. When there’s complaining, James encourages us to do a heart check. Where’s our focus? James points to the prophets. We love the prophets now, but in their time they were usually poorly received. There was no quick reward for what they did. Their ministries were met with opposition. There was no choice but to get angry, or to be patient. They were patient though, and rewarded by God for what they did. We need to take the same perspective.
So, ask yourself:
How do I really act when things don’t go my way, or they take a long time? (Really, not how I want to believe I act)
Am I someone who vents, complains, or finds solutions and waits patiently?
What specifically do you need to hand over to God that you’re hanging on to control of?
…and have someone who you can confide in tell you honestly, are your conversations productive, or do they foster a negative spirit.
Adam Wormann is a Youth Pastor in Old Bridge, NJ where he’s been serving for the past 8 years. He is also one of the mentors at Life in Student Ministry and the editor of the “Time Out” series. You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.
Posted on June 14, 2010