Guest Blogger, Bryan Partridge, Student Minister…
As I get on social media, I see more and more angst about the world than I have in a while. It just feels like there is so much fear, hesitation and hopelessness. Alongside that, there are hot takes about every social issue there is. Most of them are heavily slanted in a conservative or liberal light. I asked myself this morning: Are any of these blog posts or status updates doing anything to infiltrate the problems that exist, and working toward some kind of solution?
Then I started writing a blog post…
Influence is a tricky thing these days. We all feel like we have influence, because at any moment, most of us could type a few words and have them displayed on the phones, tablets, laptops and desktops of anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand people that we are in some way vaguely acquainted with. But is that really influence?
When was the last time something you read online truly changed your course of thinking?
For me, it doesn’t happen very often. Most of the time, I’ll think “what a nice post,” hit the like button and move on with my day. I haven’t left that moment being swayed in any particular direction. Sometimes I’ll even comment or share if I am supporting a friend.
Where I see myself being more influenced is through face to face interaction. I’m influenced when someone asks me about my day and actually listens to what I have to say. I’m influenced when I see an older student taking the time to help a younger student with their math homework while we are hanging out at the coffee shop. I’m influenced by the parent at the restaurant who is being so patient with their two year old, and all I can see is love and kindness, even though the kid is acting… well, two.
Even the best blog post does one thing: speaks at people.
While thoughts, challenges & ideas are great, useful and needed, they can never replace the influence that exists when we spend time together.
Community is incredibly important to who we are as people. Throughout the Bible, we see the importance of having relationships with other people. In Genesis 2, God says it isn’t good for man to be alone. In one of Jesus’ most difficult moments, He asks his friends to remain close for support in the garden of Gethsemane. In Acts 2, we see the early Jesus followers constantly putting a priority of meeting and sharing meals together.
When we prioritize community and relationship with others, we start the process of combatting all of this angst that exists today. Not only do we allow others to guide us through our own insecurities, but we also are presented with the opportunity to be the presence of Christ for someone else who desperately needs us.
That is influence. That is what will change the world.
While I’m not counting on it, I hope this blog post has a little influence today.
My hope is that you might put down your phone. Go spend time being present with people.
Interact. Observe. Laugh. Feel.