One of my biggest struggles lately has been coming to terms with my inability to birth passion within the lives of students. Hard as I try, I just can’t seem to force passion on them.
Don't get me wrong. I believe that in youth ministry part of our calling is to foster passion within the lives of young people - passion for God's fame, His glory, His kingdom coming, and their story within that Kingdom. I think you could look at it as tending soil, if you're into agricultural metaphors.
The thing is though, you can water the ground all day long but if there's not a seed below the surface, nothing is going to grow there. In the same way, if there are no seeds of Godly passion within a young man or woman's soul, our efforts to inspire them for the sake of the Gospel are, ultimately, in vain.
Even though I know this in my head, I still get heart-frustrated when faced with the spiritual apathy of so many young people, especially the ones who have been in church their whole lives and think that the whole thing is one giant cliché.
At the core of this struggle, there’s a fundamental truth I have to grasp:
I am not God.
In John 6:44 Jesus says "…no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..." I just have to keep reminding myself that God is the One doing the real work in the lives of the students in our ministry. I am, in a very real way, just there to work the soil of their lives. And in the same way that gardening or farming takes time, patience, hard work, and a willingness to wait for the right season to see the harvest, God will, in His perfect timing, plant the seed and cause it to grow.
So here’s my encouragement to you. Let’s keep working. Let’s keep watering. Let’s keep tilling the soil and getting down deep into the lives of young people and praying for the opportunity to witness God-planted seeds of passion take root and break through to the surface of their lives. And let's remember that when we are frustrated with the blank stares, the apathetic attitudes, and the compromising behavior, this simple truth: we are not God.
But He is. And He can do anything.