Plans, programs, and strategies are all great. But we need to leave room for more
By Ed Stetzer
If you grew up Catholic (like I did) you probably heard the phrase, “Leave a little room for the Holy Spirit.”
Honestly, I don’t remember if I actually heard someone say it to me or heard a joke about it. Either way, it’s generally about a nun giving dating instructions.
Well, that’s not the worst advice. (As the father of daughters, I embrace it!) However, I want to apply it a different way.
Be sure that you leave a little room for the Holy Spirit between the plans, programs, and strategies.
What I Do
It would be easy for me to lose touch—I’m largely a “motivational speaker living in a van down by the river.” It would be easy for me to become disconnected from local church issues and real people
So I am intentional about carving out time and space for personal interaction with people I wouldn’t have time to get to know at a conference.
But, it is not just me—it is you as well.
In order to keep myself aware of what’s going on outside of my normal circle, sometimes when I travel, I’ll tweet, “Hey, if you’re not crazy or angry, you can come meet me for dinner at such and such a time.”
If I’m in Orlando, I’ll have 20 people. If it’s Boston, I’ll have four people. But either way, I’ll sit there and learn.
Another thing I do regularly is tweet out, “If you need prayer, encouragement, or advice, send me a direct message, and for the next two hours I will be calling people.” One night I had two hours while I was driving, so I made calls from 10 p.m. until midnight and just talked to people—about 15 to 20 individuals.
I prayed with them, and we talked. I get to hear someone’s story. They get to bounce stuff off of me. I learned some stuff from them. We connect spiritually. Everyone wins.
Now, I get that you and I probably have a different number of Twitter followers. A tweet up (that’s what they are called) might not work for you.
However, you can find the time and place to listen to different people with different ideas—and you never know just what you might learn.
Take Time for the Random Encounter
It is easy to do all that we can to make things work—to make them go. And, I’m not against that, when done with wisdom.
I just want you to leave some room for divine encounters.
Finding a Way
Sure, what you do will be different than what I do.
For me, I want to talk to people who are struggling at different places, learning different things, but on the same path. The night I was on the road for two hours, I spoke with Jared (fake name). He had some questions and we got to talk through some things. He said it meant a lot to him, I certainly felt the same way.
But, I learned a lot from him. He’s African American ministering in an Anglo context. I wanted to know more.
We both learned—actually, we did what Hebrews 10:24 says. We “provoked one another to love and good deeds.”
Now, I can’t do that all the time, but there are times when I choose to do what I can.
I leave a little room for the Holy Spirit.
You Can Too.
Ironically, you probably can’t have those kinds of conversation with everyone in your life. My appeal is to have them with someone. Occasionally.
If you are a pastor, take a fellow pastor (maybe from another denomination) out for coffee. Show up at the workplace of a someone from church. Just talk to a random stranger on a park bench—and see what door that opens.
Consider them divine encounters if you
And, I am not telling you to say, “Look at me.” Rather, I want you to hear, “You can too.”
If you will leave a little room for the Holy Spirit.
Your Downtime May Be a Blessing for Another
These are just a few of the random things I do to pour into others while learning some things myself. I find that this randomness is good for my soul.
Whether your lifestyle is like mine or not, we all have a tendency to get stuck from time to time. We need more than our regular routine. We need to receive and give outside of our bubbles.
Leave a little room for the Holy Spirit.
Ed Stetzer is the Executive Director of LifeWay Research Division.
Posted at christianitytoday.com/edstetzer.