“The most important place for us to be in ministry is in the moment to be fully present with people.” Those words have been ingrained in my memory since I heard them at a BSU Leadership Team meeting as a college student at the University of Georgia, though I readily admit I have often ignored them. As a Southern girl I have many memories of visits with relatives just sitting on the porch together. Sometimes there would be things to catch up on and stories to tell. Sometimes we would not have much to say, but we were together. Present in the moment together. No cell phones. No to-do lists. No agendas. It is a blessed gift to give someone and something we struggle to do in this frantic modern age. It is something our students so desperately need.
I think Jesus was good at this. There were weddings, meals and walks to the Mount of Olives. I think he laughed and listened, and sometimes, he and the disciples probably sat in silence. He even corrects Martha in Luke 10, telling her, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” Jesus, of all people, had the most significant “to do” list. Yet, he knew the value of being present in the moment.
Being intentional about ministry doesn’t mean we have to have an agenda everywhere we go. Sometimes the best ministry we can do is to just be with people, whether it is at a church fellowship, in a hospital room, or around a café table. Perhaps the most valuable commodity in our world today is time. Being present in the moment conveys to others that they have value. So turn off your phone, grab a cup of coffee, and listen intently one more time to that student’s crazy stories and busy schedule. It really does make a difference.