Slow Work of God

I came across this quote the other day in Tattoos On the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Boyle: “Teilhard De Chardin wrote that we must ‘trust in the slow work of God.’ Ours is a God who waits. Who are we not to? It takes what it takes for the great turnaround. Wait for it.”[1]

Most people are surprised when I tell them I have been working with teenagers for close to a decade; many youth workers are even more surprised when I tell them that I have been working for the same church for that whole time.  Youth ministry is notorious for having high turnover and short flash in pan ministries.  People leave youth ministry for varied reasons. I know it is God’s blessing that I have been at my first call for so long, but spending so much time in one congregation has helped me to see this “slow work of God” and I feel so blessed by it.   This slow work can and will be one of the most frustrating and wonderful experience we have as youth workers, pastors, and teachers. The teenager that three years ago you wanted to give up on suddenly is a new a person.

This long view has helped me to be less rattled by changing attitudes and attendance patterns of teenagers.  When a bad situation arises, you know that it may difficult for a little while but turnarounds take time.

Participating in this slow work has helped to increase the trust level between the youth ministry and families within the church. Most churches espouse a family ministry but I firmly believe you can’t do true family ministry without putting the time into a congregation.

By entering into God’s slow work we are better able to dream large dreams and set long term, far reaching goals. So many youth ministries don’t set realistic goals and then they get disheartened by the fact these goals are never fully achieved. Participating in this slow work of God helps us to better see God’s long term view and how blessed we are to be able to participate in God’s work.

[1] Tattoos on the Heart: The power of the Boundless Compassion,  Kindle Edition 2129


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