It seems like the older I get the more patient I become and, in my situation I can understand why. My children are now grown and married. I no longer have to leave my wife at home with two small children to go on a weeklong mission trip or, as on two occasions three week long mission trips.I no longer have the pressure of being under the same roof as my teens, so I am not responsible for what time they come in at night or who they have been with. My children attend the same church I do with their spouses and we all have a great relationship. As far as that goes the pressure is off. Yes, I still miss my wife very much while I am away but she understands my love for the Lord and my love for my teens.
Patience is something that your teens really need from you as a minister. Many teens do not get the patience they need at home. Their parents are under so much pressure from jobs, finances, and just the pressures of raising teens. Be as patient as possible.A patient person is one who can endure pain without complaining and someone who can persevere and is longsuffering.Paul states in Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who He has given us.”
I Timothy 1:16 says, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.” Paul must have been elated that God was so patient with him during his time of rebellion against Christians. I know many times we think some of our teens will never grow up and be productive Christians. Many times we might feel like giving up on them, but all of a sudden we remember that others had to be patient with us when we were struggling through our teen years. We might also think about how patient God is with us when we are not so perfect even right now.
In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul charges Timothy by writing, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” I have often wondered how many times Noah had to pray for patience or even felt like giving up. You think we have it tough, but try preaching for 120 years with no one paying attention. Try teaching for 120 years as the people walk by and laugh at you. That’s the way it sometimes feels in youth ministry- “they’re just not listening.” Have patience my friend, they may not be actively listening but they are hearing.
Remember, we are servants of God and we have been chosen as ministers of His youth. Colossians
says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
“Long-haul” youth ministry requires an extra amount of patience.Work hard to attain patience-it will make you and your ministry powerful tools for God.