I just dropped off 7 middle school guys at school after breakfast. I’ve been pouring into their lives, trying to help them see Jesus for a year and a half. Week in and week out I’ve been present. I wish I could say that there was a lot of evident fruit in their lives, but honestly this morning they we’re more interested in playing NBA Live on their phones than listening to me talk about owning their faith.

After 18 years in student ministry, this isn’t a new phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean I get used to the feeling of frustration. I love these guys. I want them to hunger for God and to have a “Jesus is better” perspective. I want more for their lives.

Right after this, my daily reading brought me to Luke 13:18-19.

18 Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? 19 It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.”

Just as a seed spends a lot of time in the dirt before anything sprouts, Spiritual growth can seem dormant to an outside observer. But eventually, when the Gospel takes root, faith grows into something we can see and interact with.

This is especially true with student ministry. We want big, dramatic growth in our students. Jesus reminds us to be patient and be hopeful. There is transformation happening under the surface. You just might need to wait a while (years perhaps) before you see it. But when you do you’ll be amazed at what God has done.

So, dear youth worker, don’t lose hope that you’re not seeing the fruit you want. That mustard seed you’re looking will one day become a tree.