youth ministry

Your Ministry Life, Unexpected

Last night things just kind of went sideways, for me. Kristen and Paul went to the Aztecs game– the reason being that I try not to miss Wednesday night high school small groups.

So the value I was trying to express is that I’m making Wednesday night with my guys a priority.

With Megan headed to her small group, that left us one adult short to watch Jackson, our toddler.

No problem. I’ll just take him with me. Our small group is in desperate need of a change of pace, so my co-leader and I decided we’d take the guys to Starbucks and some tom-foolery. Bonding time. And a toddler would be a great accessory to that. (He likes Starbucks and he’s cute enough to get away with anything.)

So I get there, Megan peals off to her small group, and dad is left with a toddler wearing a fireman’s hat. The thing I didn’t expect was that Jackson would be upset that I brought him to church but he didn’t get to play in his room at the church. (Friday nights are his favorite night of the week… toys, cookies, and a Bible story from the amazing women who run his room whom we call “the grandmas.”

Big kid room, daddy? Jackson wants to play in his room. I don’t want the big kid room.

So that didn’t go as expected. I thought he’d be stoked to hang out with with schoolers. He was compliant, but not stoked.

Then our plan to go to Starbucks was thwarted because I didn’t pay attention. Instead of a normal small group night we were going to pack 400 Thanksgiving boxes that’ll be delivered to needy families in our community today. (Which is totally awesome.)

So instead of escaping with Jackson and my small group guys to hang out and talk about Jesus… everything was weird and different and I had to fight disappointment.

Here’s the Deal

I’m not sharing this story because I’m looking for empathy. I’m not sharing this story because I’m mad or annoyed or even really care that much that despite my best of intentions a ministry night just didn’t go my way.

I mean, even if it was unexpected and everything went kind of sideways for me personally…

  • My guys got to see a different side of me… the dad side. And I have zero doubt that this will pay dividends down the road.
  • Jackson got to meet a bunch of people and drink hot chocolate.
  • Megan had a great time at her small group.
  • Mom and Paul got to be together at the basketball game.

My point is that life in ministry is often unexpected. And most often, when things go sideways, is when the best stuff happens.

Rather than have a pity party about how it didn’t go the way I wanted, instead I’m left to celebrate the fun way God threaded it together for His way.

That’s life in ministry.

It’s messy.

It’s complicated.

It always goes sideways.

And that’s why I love it.

By Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

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