You know how you're supposed to be really organized, scheduled, planned, and prepared for youth ministry?
Last night when I got to youth group, I knew that we would be outside at the farm across the road from us, and that we were going to go bobbing for various fruits. That was really it. Everything else was unstructured, open to interpretation, and free form. It was awesome!
A couple of us guys got into a game of football, because that's just what guys do. We had marshmallows and a campfire, so s'mores were a thing. After a bit of game time, we did the (wildly successful) bobbing for various fruits, in which one student was awarded a free trip for somehow being able to unhinge his jaw and pick up a cantaloupe with his mouth. (A cantaloupe which I later this morning found in my filing cabinet, because you know...) We gathered around the campfire and sang songs, completely by the request of the students. Then after our usual prayer time, we just asked what God was up to in the lives of our students.
I think we lose something in ministry (and life for that matter) when everything is structured and pre-planned. Of course, you have to be prepared, and I'm probably under selling how much prep went into our night last night. We bought marshmallows and apples and cantaloupes and made sure that the field was available the well stocked with footballs. But the unstructured worship and story time, those were gold. It could just as easily have gone the other way, and been a disaster where no one shared. But it didn't, and it rarely does.
My hope is to make more space for this in my life, especially with the boys on their way. Unstructured, unplanned for time together often leaves us to rely on the only thing we have left: our relationships with each other. And those are precious and valuable.