Note: Monday Morning Quarterback is a recurring post that examines personal and pastoral events of Sunday.
6:00. Up n’ at ’em, boss
6:05. Look in the mirror to see my left eye has puffed up overnight in some strange allergic episode. It’s a nice compliment to the large infected hair follicle on my neck.
6:18. Taking antibiotics. And Zyrtec. And Ibuprofen.
6:28. Check email to find the sermon manuscript from a student who’s preaching for Youth Sunday this morning. Contains the phrase, “This is not what I’m actually going to say.”
6:43. Reading this article over granola
7:32. Getting dressed. Wife says, “You need to clean up the patio this afternoon.” Right. Check. Got it. No problem. Silent assenting nod.
7:56. Arrive at church and head straight for sanctuary. Do not pass office. Do not collect 200 voice messages.
8:04. Moving chairs onto the chancel. It’s Youth Sunday. That always means more chairs for some reason.
8:09. Writing an announcement about our youth work trip car wash to be read by a student.
8:15. Writing an announcement about today’s Teacher Appreciation emphasis to be read by another student. No idea who that will be yet.
8:26. Allergy fog moving in.
8:43. Text from sound tech student about the Introit his sister planned and that we practiced 27 times at yesterday’s rehearsal: “I’m not 100% sure that will work.” Baffled.
8:51. Sound tech student’s sister enters the sanctuary and briefs me on the sibling squabble that produced her brother’s text.
8:53. Sanctuary ready. Bring on the students, who were told and texted repeatedly to be here at 9:00.
9:08. Text from student: “9:00 or 9:15?”
9:13. Running the Introit, you know, just to make sure it works. It’s a recorded song played through an auxiliary cable on the sound board. It worked every time during yesterday’s rehearsal, and it works now. No worries.
9:30. Texting one of the student preachers: “Where are you?”
9:32. Reply from student preacher: “Do you need me for something?” Panic.
9:40. 3/4 of the youth string quartet that’s playing in worship arrives just in time for a five minute rehearsal.
10:00. Student-led prelude has begun. Youth Sunday is underway.
10:04. Realize during announcements I forgot to recruit a student to read the one about Teacher Appreciation. Gesture frantically to the student closest to the front on the chancel. He descends the steps to the first pew and I tell him the announcement’s on the lectern and he just needs to read it. He’s got this.
10:06. Student calling for Teacher Appreciation announcement. My guy calmly crosses the chancel to the lectern, fumbles with papers, checks back sides of papers, then gives me look of panic. Calmly stroll to the lectern and point him to the paper he needs to read. That moment when your own lack of preparation makes a student look bad . . .
10:09. Student sets up the Introit. She’s worked on this for two weeks: a choreographed energizer to “Happy.” She calls for the music, and . . . nothing. Awkward laughter as she and two other leaders stand up front, waiting for music to start. After 20 seconds or so, inauspiciously stroll down the center aisle (to more nervous laughter) to the sound board to find sound tech student in a panic. The thing is playing, but no sound is coming out. This is a thing that happens sometimes, but it didn’t happen once during our extensive preparation. Make necessary tweak, and it starts working. Assure sound tech student it’s not his fault. He’s panting.
10:10. Introit underway, and it’s as cool as we thought it would be. And I’m happy.
10:37. Because it’s Youth Sunday I can sit with Wife and Daughter during the service. That’s nice, until Daughter starts climbing my back.
10:47. Some confusion on the chancel transforms the normal phrase, “Let us dedicate our offering” to “Let us praise the dedication.”
10:58. Rehearsing the charge and benediction with the two student preachers during the final hymn. Forgot to actually plan this part . . .
11:06. Fielding annual Youth Sunday feedback on the patio, which is a less-than-artful hybrid of praise for students’ leadership and complaint that they weren’t loud enough.
12:35. Lunch with Wife and Daughter. Planning afternoon in my head: clean patio, maybe watch rest of iTunes rental movie before it expires, maybe watch some of Royals game, maybe, even, nap. Thoughts interrupted by Wife: “You need to take Daughter swimming this afternoon.” Not. In. The. Plan.
2:00. At pool with Daughter. She’s talking, but I keep nodding off. She’s losing patience.
3:30. Cleaning the patio.
3:43. Text from high school student: “We’re not having youth group, right?”
3:44. Text all high school students: “See you at 7 tonight for youth group!” I got this.
4:30. Jr. High Youth Group. Two students.
5:43. Youth Intern describes me as “malevolent.”
6:12. Ordering pizza for high school youth group. Complete order and remember about the gluten-intolerant kid. Order another pizza from another place that has gluten free crust. Wonder if the delivery guys will fight in our parking lot.
7:34. High school youth group devolving into fart talk.
8:12. Youth Intern reading Book of Legends portions to students about Adam and Eve. They’re riveted.
9:02. Student begs to borrow Book of Legends. Resistant at first, but relent with the realization that this is exactly the kind of thing you want to happen in youth ministry.
9:09. Circling the campus with student while checking all the doors. He’s crossing himself and pronouncing a blessing his grandma taught him. It’s kind of freaking me out.
9:28. Drop student off and head home.
9:58. “The rental period for this movie has expired.”