Hollison Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams Jr

Growing Pains?

on September 16, 2009

In a perfect, ideal world, this post would have photos and bells and whistles and glitter.

Ha. This is so not a perfect, ideal world. At least mine isn’t. This week is crazy busy so you will have to do without photos and videos and the like.

However, let’s not let that stop me from sharing about this past weekend.

As you may have read about in my 7 Quick Takes on Friday, this weekend was Kickoff Weekend for our Life Teen program. Normally this involves a Life Night on Sunday night, and that’s about it. THIS year, we added a 2 day mini-retreat for our incoming freshmen. We have never done this before, but were hoping that it would be a fun way to get our freshmen excited about Life Teen, introduce them to our programs, and get them to meet our older teens. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors served on the team that put it on and did a GREAT job with talks and small groups and games and were incredibly warm and welcoming. By the end of the day Saturday, it took 5 minutes for me to get everyone’s attention because they were all talking (normally, this would be a bad thing, but I saw it as a success!).

Sunday brought another great day of the retreat (when I say “day” on Sunday, I mean “3 hours”) with games and prayer and a talk. Then, after mass, it was time for Life Night. Last year, our average attendance at Life Night was 50. On a good night, 60 and if we were really lucky, we’d hit 65. We expected that number would be a little higher due to the retreat. What we did not expect was 95 teens.

Ninety. Five.

This number may fluctuate a little, but seriously. That is awesome. Two years ago, we were getting 45-50 teens on Sunday night and 6-12 teens on Wednesday night. We now have 95 teens on Sunday (again, we’ll see what we land on), and 30-40 teens on Wednesday night.

All this growth is exciting, but it brings a whole new set of thoughts and adjustments. Mainly, how do we make sure we don’t “overlook” anyone? With a smaller number, it is easy to tell when a teen is acting different or has a different mood than normal , which usually indicates something is going on. With a larger group, that becomes a lot harder.

Our solution for the moment is to make our small groups strong. Work that relational ministry and really get it to where the adult volunteers notices when someone is missing or upset or just not themselves. I really hope our expansion has only just begun. I just also hope that we “grow” with it too.

Just for fun, here are some things I learned/was reminded of this weekend:

  • Sometimes God has to change your plans for you and will use whatever necessary to do it (our “rained-out” session turned out to be way better than the outside one we had planned)
  • Never underestimate the fun that can come with no props (ninja, light saber wars, ECD)
  • By the same token, never underestimate the fun that comes with shaving cream, Cheetos, and water balloons
  • It is possible to be cold in September in Texas
  • Freshmen boys are, well, freshmen boys. (uh, and freshmen girls are freshmen girls)
  • When deciding to do a mess fest, make sure you know you have hoses that reach the field you are playing in before you start (it all worked out, just took a little maneuvering
  • When placing an order with a certain deli department of a store (we’ll call it Floor-Mart), you should call ahead and make sure they put the order in the right stack.
  • Sit back. God will handle it.
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