I think the best way I can talk about the “Power of Presence” is to share a story from my own journey. Let me tell you about my Life Transformation Group and how the Power of Presence has allowed us to plant kingdom seeds in people’s lives.
In the summer of 2011, my friend David led my friend Harry (both part of this group) to Christ at a table in a Chipotle restaurant close to our neighborhood. Since that night, a group of guys has been meeting every single week in that same Chipotle. We bring our Bibles and simply talk about what we’ve read that week and what’s going on in our lives. We don’t come with a hard agenda and we aren’t particularly flamboyant. What we are is consistent. We are there every single week.
Over the months, we’ve gotten to know many of the staff and even developed friendships with some of them. It’s been fun to watch the relationships grow. I remember the first time I realized that they had taken note of our consistent presence. It was Christmas Eve, and I strolled in there by myself to get my wife and I some lunch to go. One of the people there asked if our group was meeting early that day because of the holiday. Then, she stopped herself, and said “Oh, wait, it’s not a Thursday.” I knew then that they had come to expect us at that same time on that same night every single week.
Fast forward a few months to early spring time. There is another young staff member that works there named Alona. We’d gotten to know her and she’d started routinely giving us free drinks/chips (another benefit of the Power of Presence!). Anyway, she slowly moved from friendly chit-chat to actually asking us questions and showing interest in what our purpose is for being there every week. I could talk a lot more about Alona, but, suffice to say, she now has a Bible and has agreed to read the gospel of John with us. Please pray with us that God would speak to her heart and she would make a decision to surrender her life to Jesus, the Messiah!
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. There is another middle-aged woman who works there named Shelby. We haven’t been able to get to know her as easily, but she’s definitely come to notice our consistently being there. A couple of weeks ago, she took her break outside at a table close to where Harry and I sat. I didn’t think anything about it really, but I do remember wondering what she must be thinking as we sat there talking about the Bible and things in our lives. Well, that brings us to this week’s meeting. She made a comment to Harry as he was going through the line that she was sorry for eavesdropping but that she couldn’t help but listen in and be encouraged by the incredible conversation that night a couple of weeks ago. Harry told her that she was always welcome to join in the conversation any time.
Well, sure enough, an hour later she came and sat down close by our table for her break and wasted no time in sharing her story with us. I know we’ve only scratched the surface of her story, but she shared about the addictions that she’s been able to overcome, about her father who is dying of cancer, about her criminal background, and about her dreams and aspirations. In her 15 minute break, we got her to title her autobiography for us (literally – it was the word written on her first hit of heroine).
Anyway, I could go on and on about this…and obviously this story is far from over. But, I believe in the Power of Presence. It directly led to Alona being drawn to the Lord and to His Word. It led directly to Shelby feeling comfortable enough to share her story with a couple of guys willing to sit and listen. And I didn’t even tell you about Aaron, the high-schooler who started meeting with us after seeing us in Chipotle one night as he ate with his friends. Who knows what God will be able to do with our group as we continue to show up and be obedient?
(c) 2012 Jay Stiegelmeyer
Used by permission