February 3, 2009

For those of you who know me, is it just me or have I gotten really cheesy since entering Youth Ministry?  I seem to come up with, and worse yet, be alright with using silly puns like “super-bowl” for a bowling event being held over Superbowl weekend.  I guess that’s just another way God has lightened my heart over the past year.  

Last Friday I planned and executed my first “big” youth event since being placed in charge last June?  July?  After stressing out over not having enough volunteer help (which turns out I had plenty), the big night had arrived.  Before I go on, you have to know something about me.  I don’t like to disappoint, especially not those I care about… and I don’t like to do things half-way.  I like to give everything my all.  When I decide to do anything, I dive in and rarely ever look back.  So I spent several weeks planning this event.  Calling friends/parents to volunteer driving students back and forth, calling different bowling alleys to get pricing and availability, making arrangement for pizza, working the overall budget for the event, making artwork/flyers for students to pass out on campus, visiting various campuses around down to pimp out the event.  Yes, I just used the word “pimp” in a post about youth ministry!  Everything appeared to be in place.

I got the pizza, my volunteers/help arrived, and soon a solid group of kids began to show up.  We had pizza, football, ping pong, and video games for them as we waited for everyone to show up.  I was thrilled to see how well my students did with advertising the event.  So many of them brought friends.  Some friends who don’t know Jesus, and other friends who do, but aren’t really plugged into a church.  All was well until we arrived at the bowling alley.  

You see, out of the 3 bowling alleys we have in Fresno, 2 of them were completely booked for the night, while this other one did not take reservations.  When we arrived, I was told there was an hour wait.  Bummer, but no big deal right?  My kids could hang and play video games for an hour while we waited.  Still plenty of time to get a game of bowling in.  Well the hour passed, and soon, so did our opportunity to bowl that evening.  You see, the group that had our lanes decided to not only take their sweet time, but also eat birthday cake IN THEIR BOWLING LANES for about 30-40 minutes.  Who takes a half hour to eat cake.  And just when I thought they were finally done and getting ready to leave… one dad stands up and says, “Hey, who wants to play another game?!”  My heart sunk.  There was nothing I could do.  My mind started to race.  Plagued with questions like, “How could you let this happen?”  “How come you didn’t see this coming?”  “What are you going to tell the students who have been itching to play all night?”  I broke the news to the kids, and as most of them understood, a group of them were pretty disappointed, and began asking if we could go to a different arcade/amusement place in town.  Due to time and the legality of it all I couldn’t grant that request… which bummed them out more.  Per Luke’s suggestion, we drove the to Jamba Juice before heading back to the church office (where they were to be picked up by parents) and I bought them all Jamba… It was the least I could do.  

I’m really blessed to have a best friend like Luke.  He encouraged me the entire night.  I still felt like a failure and a loser, but he definitely softened the blow by pointing out the relationships that were still being built, and the fun that was being had.  And he was right.  That was the whole point of the event.  I know I got to connect with some brand new faces and am confident I’ll be seeing them again.  I also realized that these kind of disappointments are going to happen in youth ministry.  I can do everything I can to make sure they don’t… but when it comes down to it, it’s out of my control.  I need to continue to trust God with my ministry and remember I’m just His worker in His ministry.  His students are on loan to me for the next 1-6 years, and I need to do my best with them.  

A special thanks to Luke for being a great friend and for also featuring RVC Youth for Positive Post Tuesday.  Also be sure to check out Brody’s blog for information on Positive Post Tuesday.  I’m excited to be a part of it, and I hope you are too!


One comment

  1. One time I tried to put together a car wash to raise some money for the jr. high group. Only one student showed up… and about 25 cars came through. It was the longest day ever.

    Another time, I attempted to do a movie night. Two students showed up.

    I guess what I am trying to say is; hang in there buddy. There will be plenty of events that suck and are a complete failure. The thing is, is that students did show up. They did feel loved. Chances are, they did have a good time. They didn’t have to sit at home for the evening and watch television with their parents. Always a good thing.

    You’re the man.

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