We had the first day of our three day water ski camp today. And I had thought that the whole drama aspect of this thing was past us. I thought we'd come to an agreement of sorts. I was wrong.
The man who is the driving force behind the day camp, who shall from here on out be referred to as Captain Jack (going for a nautical theme), agreed to limiting his water ski exploits through the church to the three day camp. We were all present at the meeting when he agreed to it, when he said it sounded good to him. I heard it with my own two ears. The youth ministry committee would plan a menu and fix the food, do the Bible study, and have people come out to the park to be "beach moms" for all three days of the camp. All Capt. Jack would have to do is drive the boat, which is all he has ever seemed willing to do. We made the agreement, however, that we'd need at least five youth to sign up if the committee was going to take all of the time and go to all of the work to make sure it went smoothly. At the last minute, Capt. Jack pulled just enough kids together so that we were committed. When I arrived at the park today, however, it was a different story. Two of the youth who had signed up were not there. Only three kids showed up. One of the missing youth was accounted for. He was at his summer job detasseling corn and would be coming out later (later meaning about 2:00, which is one hour before we are scheduled to be done) but it seems Capt. Jack had him sign up anyway (although he wouldn't be present for any of the other activities) so that he would bulk up the number of youth present.
Then, at a quarter 'til 3, Capt. Jack took a boatload of kids out to go skiing. You can't do enough waterskiing in 15 minutes to make it worthwhile. He also took youth who he knew were depending on rides from some of the beach moms, thereby insuring that they could not leave at 3:00, either, as was planned. By an act of God they lost the rope, so they couldn't tow a skiier. But they still drove up and down the river looking for the rope, before giving up and coming in. Before the youth left, however, Capt. Jack let them know he'd be starting an hour earlier tomorrow and going a couple hours later. Once again he undermined the authority of the committee. We can't tell him that he can't bring his boat out to the public park whenever he wants to, and we can't tell him that he can't keep it there as long as he pleases. We can't tell the youth that they can't show up an hour earlier than the planned time, nor can we tell them they have to leave when the event is over. Really, we're kind of powerless in this situation where it seems Capt. Jack has manipulated us to get what he wants.
And I'm trying not to be bitter about it. Capt. Jack enjoys waterskiing and he wants to share that with the youth. He's giving of his time to come to the river for the same amount of time that many people put in at the office, to allow youth from church to spend time waterskiing on the river. Normally, when someone wants
to spend that much time with the youth at church, you definitely do not discourage it. But it just seems that he has gone about this the wrong way.
He expects everyone to do all the work while he just drives the boat. After we had agreed to help for the three day camp, and advertised that we were doing the three day camp, he went behind the backs of the committee members and started calling youth to come out every wednesday to water ski. Then he kept telling me that he expected me to come out and do Bible study every Wednesday. Now that we're actually doing the day camp, he tells the youth that he's extending the hours of skiing. It seems that Capt. Jack is getting what he wants, and we can't do much about it.
Reading through this post, I feel as if I'm being a bit too whiny. What are three days, really, in the scheme of things? So what if he spends a couple extra hours with the kids, outside of the planned day camp? Who cares if he still goes out every Wednesday to water ski? He likes to drive his boat. Why shouldn't he pull some kids behind him while he's doing it? Am I just being bitter and petty? After preaching this past weekend about the parable of the sower, how do I know what kind of seeds are being sown through this? The youth are seeing this older member of the church who is willing to take time out to tow them up and down the river. Who knows what kind of impact that is having? And here I am complaining because it isn't "what we agreed on." Who's being the hindrance to effective ministry here? Him or me? Or both?