Last night, we had our weekly Sunday night fellowship/youth group time. Normally, this is planned and prepared jointly by the youth pastor (my boss) and myself. This week, however, my boss was away from the church on a mission trip, so I shouldered the responsibility of planning and running the evening.
I thought I had things together for the night – recently things have gotten more complicated around here as we are splitting the ministry into separate middle school and high school groups. I planned accordingly, picking different games for middle school and high school, preparing my message and creating a schedule for the evening. My boss told me that he would support me with whatever I needed but that on the whole, he was going to stand back and let me run the night.
The beginning of the end was when I decided that I would be the “cool youth intern” and provide chicken nuggets to the students for dinner – they’re cheap, relatively easy to order in mass quantity and liked by most of the students. I called the fast-food restaurant in advance to prepare them for an impending order of 70 sets of nuggets and was assured by the manager that whoever picked up the food would merely have to arrive 10 minutes before they wanted it ready and that they would whip up the food in a jiffy. Great, I thought, I’m going to be a snack-supper legend for thinking up such a great idea. I sent a willing parent volunteer out to get the nuggets and waited …
An hour later, I had a pack of hungry teenagers (and adult volunteers) asking where the food was, and admittedly, I didn’t know. I shuffled some things around, trying to buy myself some time, but eventually I had done all I could do. I sent the students off to their small groups with loud protestations and grumbling. The food finally arrived, over an hour after I sent the (now not so willing) adult volunteer to get it.
The students all finally ate, but it was not a pretty sight. I had groups of high school students spread out all over the entryway to the church trying to have small group time while eating, middle school students who didn’t get to eat until the very end, and a group of sixth-graders running around in the gym smacking each other with pool noodles.
The well thought-out message I had prepared was crammed into a minute, after we rallied the troops and came together for our worship time. Overall, the night went completely different than I had planned and was extremely frustrating!
In the midst of the madness, I looked to the back of the room and saw my boss, gloved hand at the ready, dispensing chicken nuggets to awaiting teens. He gave me a Cheshire cat smile, saying without words … “See … it’s not as easy as it looks …”
And he was right.