Last week, I visited a friend’s youth group. It was a strange experience for me. Historically, I hate visiting youth groups. I will attend with a friend, and that friend will spy their own friends and say, “See ya!” Then I will contemplate which corner I will claim as my own for the evening.
During the car ride to their church, I became suddenly aware that I hadn’t brought a Bible. When they had visited my youth group, they had all brought their own Bibles. Terror washed over me, and this was all I could think of.
Thanks, Blimey Cow.
Even without that playing through my mind, I was still nervous. The building we pulled up to was huge. I had very insufficient directions to get where I was supposed to be, and all I needed was to end up wandering around in a hallway at the wrong end and have someone find me two weeks later.
Luckily, there was a familiar face when my dad and I approached the door. I started to feel a little better, like maybe I wasn’t going to collapse somewhere, and I followed my friend through the hallways.
I was still a little numb. A few people said hello to me, and I didn’t return the proper response. To one girl I knew from camp, I started nervously blurting things. I think I startled her.
Once I got into the actual place I was supposed to get to, I warmed up even more. The group was larger than my youth group, but it wasn’t massive. The youth pastor was warm and friendly, and there were Oreos.
Being a visitor is tough for me. I don’t like new experiences, especially when I have no one to share them with. Most of where I go, I’ve been there so long, that it’s become my territory. I have no problem laughing too loud and talking too much.
This place was welcoming enough that I feel like I could go back. And that’s miles better than any other youth group I’ve ever visited. Why did I feel so welcome? Oddly enough, I think it was because everyone was being themselves. They were too loud and too giggly, just like I often am. And even though I didn’t walk away with any new friends, and no one introduced themselves to me, it was strangely friendly there.
And remember, kids. Don’t forget your B-I-B-L-E.