5/24/2010 11:34:00 pm

Bait and Switch

Posted by Tom French |

I was asked after church on Sunday if I was going to "the young adults thing downstairs".

There's been discussion over the past few months about starting a young adults hangout time downstairs after church. So I asked "Is this the new hangout thing?" To which my friend Gough, who was inviting me, responded in the affirmative.

After I had been talking upstairs for a while, Gough said to me "It's just started, are you coming?" So I trotted on down.

When I went in there wasn't the buzz of hanging out young people I expected. There were just a few people sitting in a circle with one person reading the Bible. I thought "Wow, this is pretty intense for a post church hangout."

Then the Bible reading kept going. And going. We read almost the whole of Colossians. I thought, "This is going to be a full on Bible Study, I don't know if I'm up for this every week. I'm pretty tired from church." Then I noticed everyone was holding Bibles and photocopied pieces of paper. "How did they know to be prepared, and not me?"

Then I realised there must have been an email sent out and everyone here was invited, except me. I started to feel a little miffed that I'd been left off the invitation. I also worried a little bit that so few people had turned up to the first young adults hangout. It didn't look like it wasn't going to be very popular. I felt bad for Tamie who has been organising the young adults stuff.

Then Tamie, started by saying "So I wanted us to read and think about this passage before we plan what's happening with the young adults."

I realised then that this wasn't a young adults hangout, it was a meeting about the young adults ministry. I had been asked if I wanted to be in this group a few weeks before and I had said "No" and now here I was in a meeting for it. I realised that that was why I never got the email about it, I was never meant to get an email about it. This wasn't my group.

I started to feel really bad. I had turned up to a meeting uninvited, and just sat myself down like I belonged there. I was sure everyone was thinking "What's Tom doing here? We didn't invite him. How do we tell him he wasn't invited?" It was like a bad dream, thinking you're one place then realising you're somewhere totally different...and you're wearing no pants.

Thankfully I was wearing pants, I checked.

Then Tamie said something about how she wanted to check with us if we were still committed to working to make the young adults thing happen. I didn't want to seem rude and say "No" but seeing as I had said I didn't want to be in the planning group, I wanted to say "No". Plus I didn't know if they would want me to say "No" because I had turned up uninvited. Perhaps they would be relieved if I said "No".

Then Chris, the Associate Pastor, piped up and said something like "I think we can assume we're all happy to help make this thing happen. None of us are here under duress. Except perhaps Tom." To which everyone laughed.

I thought, "Is that a joke because I'm not meant to be here? Or does he think I'm meant to be here and he just made a joke and unwittingly hit the nail on the head?"

He went on to say "So if no one has any questions we can probably move on."

At that point I was confused enough that I thought I should speak up. "Sorry, but I don't really know what I'm doing here." Everyone just laughed at me, like they all just thought I'd made a good existentialist joke, and didn't realise that I really was confused. I didn't know how to make them understand that I had no idea what was going on.

Then Tamie said "This is the group you told me you didn't want to be part of, but Gough invited you anyway, because he thought you should be part of it."

And then everyone laughed a little bit more and moved on with the meeting. It seems that everyone knew I'd been asked to come even though I had said "No" to joining the group. Gough had asked me to come because he thought I should be there, and I thought it was the hangout that was planned, so I went. He maintains that he didn't trick me into going there, but I'm not so sure.

Anyway, if you want to play a good practical joke on someone ask them to come to a fun, relaxed hangout and then surprise them with a church meeting. It really is like a bad dream in real life. Hell is probably an eternal, unnecessary, church meeting.

That said, sometimes a meeting is necessary even if they're hard to endure. And this one wasn't too bad, it wasn't too long, things moved fast, and I'm excited about the young adults ministry. Seeing as I realised everyone knew I was uncommitted I decided I'd just say what I thought and remain uncommitted. I managed not to pick up any new commitments all meeting. Win!

So it should be a good young adults ministry, they were a good team I met with, it's in capable hands. I'm looking forward to being a part it as a young adult and not running it as a young adult. I run enough.

And Gough is still one of my favourite people even if he did promise fun times and give me a church meeting. He gave me spaghetti bolognese tonight which turned out to be spaghetti bolognese. Excellent.

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