- "We look forward to your coming with much anxiety...I am not sure what changes you have planned."
- "My favorite hobby is to start fires. I hate cats and every time I see one I have no choice but to kill the animal. I hope you are not a bug collector."
- "I need to talk to you about me the day you get here April 14th."
- "Brace yourself. HA HA HA...you don't know what you are jumping into." (This letter included a sketch of a man jumping off of a diving board into an empty swimming pool- such encouragement!)
- "Everyone here is excited you are coming. I myself am not over enthusiastic, but I am glad someone is coming..."
My normal approach would have been to work my way in slowly, seeing what was working and what needed to be changed. After reading the letters and surveys and praying about it, I knew I needed to come in with the cannons firing. This was a ministry anchored in the past; both the glorious past of huge crowds and strong leadership, and the more recent past of failure and abandonment. It was time to go forward and to do it with great energy. Fortunately, summer was only 6 weeks away, and I knew I could show them leadership and energy like they had seldom seen before. The survey responses indicated that summers had been pretty basic in years past, with a mission trip and what they called "Breakaways" to lake homes or houses with pools on Sunday afternoons. At least five of the surveys stated that "anything I planned would be OK." I had to laugh. They had no idea who they were dealing with...YET! They were hoping for a slice of good pizza. That summer they would get the entire pie! Sometimes first steps need to be baby steps- and sometimes you just have go whole hog! Youth Ministry was never dull. Never!
Because of Jesus,