3 ways to teach teens to wait


Last night, my train stopped shortly after it began moving due to a storm-related delay. Apparently, the power was out along the tracks, making it impossible for us to continue forward.

Immediately, commuters lashed out, complaining about the delays.

Unfortunately, I was one of them.

It was late. My clothes were soaked from the rain and I was tired. Like everyone else on the train, I, too, wanted to be home.

For the next hour, the conductor announced a perpetual stream of more delays. Each time he did, the grumbling intensified.

An hour after we left the train station, we pulled back into it, unable to continue on. Irate commuters streamed off the train.

Eventually, my husband and I hailed a cab and headed home. As we did, I found myself contemplating our reaction to the delay. I mean, it was nearly 11 pm. Where on earth were we in such a hurry to get to? Why, as a culture, are we so adverse to stillness and waiting?

Sometimes, I wonder what we miss because of this, especially in terms of our faith.

Though we’re adverse to stillness and waiting, God is not. The Psalms exhort us to “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7) Throughout Scripture, God shows up in the stillness. When people wait, God acts.

If this is true, then how can we teach teens to patiently wait on God, especially in a culture where adults get frustrated whenever they’re forced to wait, even if it’s 11 pm?

Try these three things.

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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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