Yesterday one of my two after-school youth groups met at a diner because Tuesday is the only afternoon they’re all available and Tuesday is when I take my daughter to ballet down the street from that diner. Nine of us loudly took up the booth along the back wall, gulping shakes and chili cheese fries and generally making an unholy ruckus.
The youth arrived before I did, and so they had time to explain to a woman with a teenager daughter at an adjacent table that they were a church youth group. Which is funny. Two of them come to our church.
When I sat down the woman approached me and asked which church we were from. I told her, but then qualified that “church youth group” designation in a stammering, egg-headed way that none of the youth would do. They don’t hesitate to identify themselves as a church group, so why should I?
The meaning people make out of the work the church puts out into the world isn’t up to the church. I’m repeatedly surprised by the meaning people impart to things that I dismiss as routine church programs. Maybe the church isn’t the best judge of its meaning to the world.