Loops of painters tape are ready to post discussion questions.
Furniture is moved.
Floor chairs are arranged in a circle.
Four pounds of M&Ms are sorted into separate color dishes. (Yes, I'm paid to do this.)
Water is ready to be heated for hot cocoa and tea. The fridge is stocked with soda.
This is the anticipation of youth group. This is Sunday. This is the time when I take a deep breath, know I have prepared well over the past week, and acknowledge that something (or somethings) will not go according to my plan. And that is youth ministry.
We make plans, we move furiture, we do strange things with food. Ultimately, it is not our plan that unfolds. It is God's. I've learned to accept and embrace that.
One day I sat joking before Mass with a coworker (she works with the adult small groups). I said that on any given Sunday I have three youth groups planed:
- The one I actually hope to do and have spent a week working on preparing.
- A social night - needed if there are individual matters to attend to due to stress, current events, exams, or some other factor that pops up unexpectedly.
- The dreaded Plan C. This is in reaction to a major community event at one of the schools, in the parish, etc.
Ironically, the homily that week I sat with my coworker was unexpectedly about sexuality, dating, sex and marriage. Youth group was supposed to be on the Beatitudes or something. Yeah, Plan C. Just what adult leaders love, a last minute text with the note that we are probably going to be talking about sexuality that night at youth group.
But we're youth and young adult ministers. That's how we roll. Because we must. Because we love it.