During my youth ministry days, I remember reading a book by Bo Boshers called the Be-With Factor. Some days I feel fortunate to simply remember a title that I’ve read and its author…much less be able to discuss the actual content. I remember trying to reshape my model and approach to ministry at the time but feeling kind of like the “system” of youth ministry was too established in that particular context.
Over the past few years as I’ve been carving out a new calling and path I often sense this compulsion to “do ministry” in that old systematic and programmatic way. But in a rare moment of clarity, I shake my head…disperse the mental fog and look for that little trail less traveled by…intentional, relational, organic discipleship.
Just yesterday I was able to sit down with a couple of students on campus and have some meaningful conversations. There was no real agenda, it wasn’t a bible study, and I wasn’t trying to recruit them for anything or get them to sign up for an event. My only agenda was to be present in that moment with them and listen.
In one particular conversation I was able to share my heart and hopes in a way that seemed genuine and helpful. He’s a terrifically talented, intelligent, and passionate young man who is wrestling (as many students are) with the idea of calling as it relates to his future, career, ministry, etc. The beautiful thing about our conversation was the authenticity. Neither of us were trying to say the right things to each other. I wasn’t attempting to solve his problems or lay out some grand theological truth to change his life. He wasn’t just b/s’ing me with superficial comments or safe stories about nothing. It was a pure opportunity for presence and I think it was life giving for both of us.
I have a feeling that I’ll be sharing stories about this student for the rest of my life. What a privilege to spend a few years investing one conversation after another in the life of a college student who is being transformed by Christ and shaped in ways that will impact the world for many years.