Thursday, April 30, 2015

That Was the Week That Wasn't

The month of May is right around the corner, and that always gets me thinking about all of the summer youth ministries I was involved in over the years. Beginning in the late 1980's (see The First Youth Week) we included a Youth Week in every summer that we planned at every church I served. The week always had a theme, and always featured at least one event each day. It most often began with something at the church on Sunday evening and ended when Rec Around the Clock finished on Saturday morning. It was always one of my favorite weeks of the year, both in the planning and the execution.

In September of 1999 my future at FUMC-K was a bit up in the air, but I was still expecting to be there the following summer. The year 2000. It seemed like it should be big deal, and we began to formulate a plan to make Youth Week 2000 the most amazing ever. We had always joked about taking a group cruise; that was cost prohibitive, so we began thinking about a cruise themed Youth Week instead. But then life happened and I left the church in March of 2000. Fast-forward to late 2004. I was the speaker at Youth Tremors, a post-Christmas camp for students held at Quaker Lake. My old friend Tim Vestal, who coordinated the event, used a cruise theme for the long weekend. It reminded me of my previous plans, and upon my return to Wesley Memorial UMC we began to put together a special Youth Week for 2005. The theme would be the 2004 Ian Eskelin song Save the Humans (you can hear it at the bottom) and we would "tour the world" with the message of Jesus. I wrote scripts for skits, and we even went to the beach and made our very own Save the Humans video. Then once again life intervened, and I left WMUMC in June of 2005. My last official act was a scaled down Youth Week- just not THAT one. Again my plans went unused. In January of 2007 we began to prepare yet another cruise themed Youth Week for the students of Trinity UMC. But due to my own sin and stupidity, my career ended in February, with the plans already in my computer. Three times I tried, and three time I failed. Clearly, that was the week that wasn't (TW3)!

Now all these years later it occurs to me that this is still a great idea. My life may no longer include student ministry, but my heart and my head still go there on occasion. All this thinking (it's always dangerous when I think!) makes me ponder what TW3 would look like in 2015. It makes me wonder what we could do with modern technology and (I can dream, right?) unlimited resources. So I have decided to plan another Youth Week, this time without the restrictions of reality! That means for the next 6 Thursdays this blog will be will be fictional! Instead of memories of events and people that were part of my life, there will be stories of things that never actually happened. I will combine some of the original elements from FUMC-K with some of the ideas from WMUMC and TUMC (and lots of brand new stuff!). What you will get in the end is a killer (if outrageously expensive) dream Youth Week Worldwide Cruise as it might happen in the Orlando/Kissimmee/Tampa area today. It will be totally unrealistic, but hey- it's my dream, right? So don't get hung up on the facts- just enjoy the ride! Each day's events will be drawn up just like we would have done in a summer brochure if we were actually doing it- so feel free to sign up for the events you like! And the great part is it's all free!!! This little experiment is my way of taking care of some unfinished business. For my former youth, I hope it will remind you of the excitement of looking ahead to great youth events. This may be even more fun now that you are an adult. And for my friends in student ministry, perhaps you will find a bit of inspiration in my over-the-top plans. The fun begins May 7th!

Because of Jesus,

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