The Linger Factor

Influence takes time. Friendships take time.  There’s no fast track to either.  I’ve been reminded lately, however, that they both come from one simple discipline I often fail to do:  Linger.

  • Linger means not being the first one to their car when the soccer game is done or church service is over.
  • Linger means planning enough time between meetings so you can talk to the Barista or say hi to that couple in the booth next to you.
  • Linger means you don’t bury your head in your cell phone in the side of a room waiting for the “official” stuff to start.  Linger means you hang out being available, asking God to show you needs, and having conversations.
  • Linger means you have no agenda.  No hurry and a few minutes to “waste”.  Linger feels unproductive, lazy, and sometimes even boring.  
But make no mistake about it, there is power in Linger.  My best conversations as of late, my greatest influence, and even my deepest regrets have come out of moments where I lingered or failed to linger and rushed onto the next thing instead.  I can tell you this, I don’t know anyone at my seminary because I intentionally never linger.  Never.  When class is over, I grab my bags and my keys and head for my car and straight to family or work.
I’m headed to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this week in Louisville and I promise you…  my best conversations, friendships, and moments will come out of times where I lingered in open spaces and was interruptible.  

Maybe it’s time to Slow Down.  Plan some breathing time. Be present and aware. Invite God to show you conversations to have and hugs to give.  And LINGER.

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Brian Berry is a proven veteran of student ministry. He serves as the generation ministries pastor at Journey Community Church near San Diego, California, where he works directly with the high school ministry and oversees a staff that is responsible for infants through teens. Brian is also a frequent blogger, writes and teaches for youth workers, and is the author of both As for Me and My Crazy House and Criticism Bites. He speaks at various conferences, camps, and retreats for a variety of audiences. He is married to Shannon, and they have five kids.