This is part four of a four part series based on my new message series The Process. Your can check out the first post here. If you’re in interested in the series you can get a free lesson by signing up for my newsletter or you can purchase the whole series here.
The anvil of youth work is about patience. Like blacksmithing, there is nothing quick about discipleship. My friend Don, who has a degree in history and a fondness for swords, tells me that in medieval times, to make a stock, nothing fancy, sword, it took around a week.
But God is not making a basic sword, he is crafting his Son within your hearts.
Your task of making disciples is not easy when the hearts you have to work with keep jumping off the anvil, so patience is a pre-requisite to youth work in general and youth discipleship specifically.
Before you put on your smock and fire up the kiln to work on programs to disciple others you must keep your own journey in mind.
God is taking a lifetime to craft you, no short cuts. The fire does not stop, the hammering never ends and water does not run dry. What is left is for you to, daily, submit to the anvil, with patience. Patience that you will become the youth pastor you want to become but even greater is the believer you want to become.
Impatience or a rush for quick spiritual results is as dangerous to authentic faith as hypocrisy or heresy.
You have to be patient with the process of making disciples and you must be patient with yourself as God’s disciple. You are in process, always. As God works on you, you work on others and are becoming more Christ-like in the process, but you have to show up, climb up on the anvil, every day, and say, “Lord, here I am, shape me.”
It took 30 years before Jesus did his first miracle.
It took Joseph close to 15 years (or more) from dream to reality.
It took Moses 40 years to lead a rebellious people to the promise land.
You have to think of youth ministry in longer terms. You have to see students in a six year character arc from scruffy middle schooler to too cool for school senior.
On the other hand you have to see yourself on a 20-30 year character arc believing that your daily climb onto the anvil through, prayer, study, humbly living your daily life as a human will result in a different person, a more Christ-like person in the end.
Students must know that the process of faith is on going and never stops. Unlike a sword, there is no finished product. The grand reveal of The Blacksmith’s work will be showcased in eternity.