I recently had the honor of accompanying 30 high school students on a week-long conference at a college campus in Southern Illinois. Translation: the church needed another Relatively Adult Type Person (RAT-P) to ride a rented school bus 27 hours in the hottest part of summer so the kids in the youth group could join seventeen hundred other hormone-infested creatures in a 5-night slumber party with cafeteria food.
I know that sounds horrible, but there's a reason why -- it WAS horrible.
Having 87 years experience in Professional Youth Ministry, I knew exactly what to expect while serving as RAT-P:
- Feeling like Forrest Gump when trying to find a place to sit on the bus. ("This seat's taken.")
- Feeling like a marionette with broken strings when trying to stand up and get off the bus.
- Becoming increasingly sleep-deprived throughout the week as the Darling Youth under my charge grew more interested in late-night fellowship than in restorative rest.
- Going slightly deaf after five straight evenings of double-digit decibel, rock-n-roll worship.
- Experiencing record levels of constipation from the new routine of high-starch dining.
- Loving every single minute of it, because there is no where else on the planet where teenagers become so totally focused on their relationship with God and where they can hear more clearly, if they listen, His call on their lives. That's why it was truly an honor to participate, and that's a factual fact.