adding patience to their zeal

It’s become nearly cliche to comment that Millennials “want to change the world, and they want to do it by next year.” But the joke isn’t too far from the truth.

As I’m discussing ways we can add wisdom to our students’ passions, this is an obvious one. But the trickier notion might be how to help here… patience that a student feels is unnecessary might not be all that easy to teach. So here are some ideas:

Share the need for patience anyway. “A word to the wise is sufficient,” and whether students accept it or not, we’ve got to be willing to share wisdom (winsomely, with as little dream-crushing as possible!). Teach them that seeing fruit often requires “long obedience in the same direction.”

Point to heroes of our faith. Both within the Bible and in the annals of Christian history, there are plenty who needed patience to see fruit and impact – whether they realized at the outset how long they’d labor or not.

Tell your own stories of patience (and zeal that lacked it). Surely you’ve been in their shoes?

Shift their sense of what they’re waiting for… to Whom they’re waiting for. If students get clearer and clearer on waiting for God to provide His next step, the “patience” part becomes about them waiting for His leadership, not waiting for the impact they’re hoping to have.

Push them toward a wise next step, even if they don’t feel like it’s a big enough step. There’s probably much they can do to prepare for the impact they hope to have… or there may be things students can do to help them gain needed wisdom. Even if it’s a little frustrating for your students, they’ll often be willing to do something that you ask. Whether it’s reading a good book – The Dip by Seth Godin is a secular book I turn to often to help people learn about the slow road to impact – putting their vision for impact down in writing, or getting some “practice swings” in, our job in discipleship isn’t to succumb to the impatience of those we’re guiding!

Leave a Reply