Last night, the youth had their own version of The Amazing Race at church--only without the jet-setting across the world part.
Basically, it was a scavanger hunt with nine clues hidden in various places around the church. The clues were Bible verses, which you would read and then figure out where to go to find the next clue. Each team had a different order for finding the clues, though they all led back to the same basic place in the end. There were a couple of basic rules. Stay with your team, don't ask other teams where clues are hidden, don't make too much noise, don't steal another team's clue from the envelope.
Now, some of these clues would take a bit of thought for you to put together the verse with a location in the church. And the clue envelopes were pretty devilishly hidden--they were there, but not in plain sight.
So, off the youth went in five teams--7th grade, 8th grade, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors/seniors.
It should have been a relatively calm task, wouldn't you think?
Not so much.
As the adult leadership sat in the youth room and the creators of the game let us in on what the verse were, where they led to and where the envelopes were hidden, slowly reports worked back to us. One of the clues would direct teams to the choir loft in the sanctuary. The same sanctuary where acoloyte training was being held.
Suddenly, one of the youth appears at the door.
"********** threw us out of the sanctuary and is locking the doors," she said. Seems a member of the youth had a football with him and jumped over the altar. The adult in the sanctuary, *************, decided this was wrong and sacriligious. The youth shouldn't be in the sanctuary unless worshipping and so she threw them all out and locked the door. Holley, the youth leader, gets worried. Staff/Parish Relations is Monday night and ********* is on the committee. I tell her not to worry since my dad is head of SPR aned if ******** is gonna go off about this, I will just tell my dad what happened so he won't get ambushed. I joke with Holley that if Dad's in a really bad mood, we just bring Gracelyn and Davis, the grandchildren, over to hug him. That will cure any bad mood from Grandpa.
Eventually, we decided that it might be best to unlock the door, have some adults in there as supervision and that should solve the problem. A couple of young adults went off to do this.
Meanwhile, reports filter back that teams can't find clues and one team is hoarding clues. Several of us set off to invetisigate. We head out by the sanctuary and see ********* out there. She's locking the doors and venting that the youth shouldn't be in the sanctuary. I step forward and say, "I understand what happened and that you're upset. But we have adults here supervising now."
"No you don't! They are in there running amok without any adult supervision!" She storms off.
I turn to several of the young adults. "What part of 'We have adults here NOW!' did she miss?!?" I ask them.
Well, turns out she goes, finds Holley and yells at her from the youth room to Holley's office. I wonder if my comments might have come off in the wrong vein and go to see if I can help smooth things out. ********* has already gone to find the minister, Thad, to let him know what's going on. I tell Holley I'm sorry that I had no intention of making things worse, but I might have by being short with *********. Holley tells me that *********'s big problem was no "adults" out there--that 18-20 year olds can't be chaperones for youth. I laugh hysterically since I'm over 30. Again, the whole "I look younger than I am thing" comes back...not that I'm complaining mind you.
Finally, we figure, let's get the clues out of the choir loft, lock the sanctuary and move on. We also figure out at this point that maybe having the youth go out in a herd unsupervised wasn't the brightest idea. But hey--they're teenagers and you have to put some trust in them. We also start patrolling about to make sure they aren't cheating since we've hearing reports of it. Turns out some teams are hiding the clues, while others are spliting up and finding clues out of order, thus leading to mass confusion.
Meanwhile, I've become a cult hero of sorts to some of the young adults. Apparently there is a long-standing feud between ******** and the youth and I've stood up for them, which they think is cool.
At last, all the teams finish the scavanger hunt and gather back together. Now comes the moment I really have to admire Holley. There was a purpose to this game, but Holley sees another teaching moment and addreses it. And it works. She is talented at getting through to the youth. And while I'm sure she wishes none of them had hurtled the altar, I think the lesson has turned out rather well.
But it made for an interesting evening. I filled Dad in on details, since SPR is tonight. He laughed and agreed with something many said--hey, at least the youth are at church having fun and not out doing heaven only knows what else.
But it should be an interesting SPR meeting tonight. And I just remembered ******** is in bell choir with me. Well, at least we don't stand next to each other....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/13/2004 11:13:00 AM