The last couple of weeks, I helped orchestra 2 CBOQ Youth high school retreats called Blizzard.  I’ve noticed over that time and time again, I had a thought or a plan, and God challenged it (as only he can do).  Some examples:


At one session, it was my responsibility to gauge how things were going with the small groups occurring right in session.  I had a prideful thought: “I tend to be good at gauging these things”.  God decided he would move in a way that was different than I expected.  It did catch me off guard.  Rather than things shifting one way or another, it seemed to go in 2 different directions simultaneously.  It took some time for our staff to readjust, but God definitely showed me there’s more than 2 ways of doing things (at least that particular thing).


Again, in one of our plenary sessions, I was planning out transitions.  I had another prideful thought (seems to happen sometimes): “I’m pretty good at making transitions.”  Part of that included incorporating student interviews.  In each previous session, I was able to coordinate with the student when and where s/he was to meet me.  Each time, it worked.  Until this time.  The student forgot to meet me at our agreed location and time.  So I had to think about how best to transition and somehow get this student on stage but not knowing if she would actually show up (for whatever reason).  However, it somehow worked and we flowed in well.


Typically, we don’t have some kind of major challenge or response for students at our Friday night sessions.  However, in this case, God shifted gears and we had ourselves an altar call.  Not expected at all (at least not on my part).  But I realized that we could not continue on our schedule program, but had to make some adjustments (and our staff adapted VERY well).

Another time when we had an unexpected situation was, during our leader’s meeting, we received word of the death of a student’s mother.  While the passing was expected (she was dealing with a type of cancer), the youth pastor and group were mobilized.  During our leader’s meeting, we made adjustments to pray for this student, his family and their church community, knowing that it would definitely impact the immediate future.


All through the weekend, I kept reminding the church leaders that they were responsible for their group as they were the “pastors and priests” of their students.  A comment I made was, “Our impact is limited compared to what your influence will be because you’ll be going home with them; I don’t want them all coming home with me.”  Well, on the final day of our last retreat, there was a bus issue with two of our churches (i.e. the bus never came).  We were able to accommodate these 2 churches onto our staff bus and things worked out.  But someone reminded me, “Didn’t you say you didn’t want students coming back home with you? Looks like some of them are :)”.


The fact is, while we can plan and discern as best as possible, God will make changes as things progress towards his will.  It’s not to say that we should never plan.  I think because our staff knew what was happening and how the “chain of command” worked, we were able to effectively move to fulfill God’s will.  And God will continue to keep me trusting him (because I know sometimes my ego grows a bit too big for my own good).