In youth ministry, you typically get calls from people who are worried about other people. They have some struggles or have screwed up really bad or they may just not be living up to the caller’s expectations. I have a friend who always answers these questions with: I’ll give them a call and we’ll get together.
Now, what you should know about this guy is that he has no super-hero-like abilities. He doesn’t have all the answers. He is not a counselor and he doesn’t have impressive degrees on his walls. But he dives into these situations like he is the cure-all. He runs on the assumption that just being around people in trouble will fix the problem.
You may think that sounds arrogant or maybe even stupid. I think it is brilliant.
My friend has bought into the idea that his presence matters. It’s not that he knows what to do or say in all situations. He just runs on the assumption that he has the light of the world within him, so just showing up will actually make a difference.
Not his education.
Not his brilliance.
Not his ability to fix problems.
Just his presence.
He often has no clue what he is getting into, but he knows it is his job to go. I call this B.i.S. theology. As a youth minister, I had B.i.S. times for van trips. That meant if we had a 9:00 B.i.S. time, it meant at 9:00 you need your Butt In a Seat. You show up, you fill a seat. If you are not in a seat at the proper time, we leave without you.
My friend believed his butt filling a particular seat can be all the difference in the world. I think more of us need this attitude. We need more people who are willing to be butts in seats in our world. People willing to simply BE rather than fix or explain. All it takes us a willingness to show up.
One of my favorite quotes from a Sevens trip several years ago is from John Fisher:
“If our witness truly is more who we are than what we do, we need to be in places where who we are makes a difference.”
We need to start believing that our presence matters. We often default to other people because they have more experience, education, answers and personality. But we need to understand that it is not about answers. It is about presence. There is power in you simply being you with another person.
This is the whole basis of the Gospel. God becomes flesh. God decides to go and be present to people. He is an actual human, someone we can touch and see. In some places, people are healed just because they brush up against him. Jesus was the presence of God. And he has passed that responsibility on to us.
Your presence matters. Who you are makes a difference. People need you to be you.
So live like those things are true.
When have you had someone be present to you? What did it do for you?