Monday, May 2, 2011

Rock The House!

Edyn, Alex, Lexi, Kristin, Skylar, Sean, Zach & Justin

In March of 2004 I took the group pictured above from Wesley Memorial UMC on a retreat to talk about their parents.  Now it's never hard to get teenagers to talk about their parents- as a matter of fact, I always joked that anytime I felt a discussion dying at youth group I would just bring up parents and everyone would want to to talk at once!  But that was because they wanted to complain.  This retreat- called Rock The House and based on a video curriculum by Wayne Rice- was to look at the responsibilities of being a Christian child.  I took a small group (after scaring people off with promises of actual lessons), and we spent time as a group and one-on-one talking about how they could help their parents understand them better.  We had a marvelous weekend with great discussions and came up with some worthwhile action plans to take home.  We had lots of fun, ate some great meals together and continued to build relationships amongst ourselves.  But 2 of my primary memories of that weekend are a little weird-  so, of course, I wanted to share them with you!

First of all (and I just confirmed this a week ago over lunch with Zach) this was the weekend that began a tradition of Zach Wehr and Justin Overstreet wrestling everywhere we went.  As you can tell from the headlock in the picture, Justin was a good deal bigger (and older) than Zach- but that didn't stop them from having some amazing bouts.  No motel room was safe when those guys were on the loose.  And we loved watching them go at it.  No matter how cold we tried to make the rooms, when the elbow drops and the body slams began, the sweating did too.  The matches quite often ended with Justin sitting on Zach and proclaiming himslef the champion.  It became a very surreal form of entertainment for all of us.

Secondly, this weekend holds a unique place in my 28 years career as a youth pastor.  In those years I served 8 different ministries and led over 150 trips and retreats.  And this is the only one where I simply cannot tell you where it took place (Zach couldn't remember either).  I know I went online and found a cheap motel a little over an hour north of Tampa along state highway 19.  I don't remember which city we were near, or even which motel chain we used.  I have tried to re-create the event in my mind, but I've got nothing. I know it had no meeting room, and we used my room as the "group room" for our lessons.  I know it had no restaurant and we had to travel for food.   Somehow all of this added to the charm of the weekend.  A small group, some great sessions, wonderful worship and incredible fellowship somehow happened in a place so unimportant that we don't remember it at all. 

The moral of the story?  I have no idea!  I just know that whether it was Myrtle Beach, NYC, Nashville, Quaker Lake or Tijuana, those 150 trips and retreats all had one thing in common- a group of people who gathered together to do whatever they were doing in the name of Jesus.  I probably reminded every one of those groups that we were visiting those places as representatives of our ministry, our church and our Savior.  And that made every single trip special.  Even this one- the great trip to nowhere!  One final note- Zach and Justin both still help out with youth at WMUMC, and I'd love to see them wrestle one more time.  It would be a much fairer fight these days...

Because of Jesus,

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