"Chaos" seems to be our buzz word when it comes to anything related to youth night... whether it is toaster ovens, mousetraps, plungers, lollipops, or just getting teenagers loaded on a bus. This Wednesday was our first youth night of the semester, and the moment the kids came in the door I could feel the chaos rising. Everyone talking at top volume at once, everyone moving at top speed at once, energy levels so electric that our group of fifteen kids could have lit up the city of Fort Wayne.
That kind of energy is hard to find in the American church and in your average Joe-Christian, and I've seen it often frowned upon as reckless behavior that needs to be controlled or contained. But I don't think that's the heart of God - I think he actually creates that energy and allows certain chaos to ensue in order to express how wild and uninhibited is his joy and love for us. I think the true challenge of youth leaders is not to calm the youth down, but to find out how to channel their energy into good things, things that will positively impact the kids themselves and change the world for the better... things that bring glory to God.
In the midst of chaos, the kids got their homework done, we got to have great group discussions with the boys and girls seperately, they listened to some great music, we played some great teamwork games, and after lavishing hugs and words of encouragement on them the kids piled back on the bus knowing - KNOWING - they are truly loved. In the midst of chaos, they experienced Jesus walking with them through math problems, listening to and valuing their opinions, laughing with them and sharing life with them to know them more personally, wrapping his arm around their shoulders and telling them they are amazing.
Probably any random stranger who peeked in through the window that night would have shaken their head at the obvious ruckus and volume. But even in the midst of that beautiful chaos, God - in all his crazy love - was there.