I couldn’t be more excited as I left the house this evening. I was headed to a small group of 8th graders to meet them for the first time. When they graduate in a few months, I’ll be their new small group leader.

Cool stuff, I know.

It was a laid back night: dinner, casual consideration, me not trying to be too awkward as an outsider in a room with 12 guys who’ve known each other a long time. After a little bit, we gathered on the couches, prayed, and talked more. It was so great! I began with sharing a few stories about when I was in junior high. I burned my house down (two days before Christmas) so that usually makes for a good story to introduce myself.

At some point, someone rings the door bell and the mom of the house says someone is at the door and they are looking for the owner of a grey car.

I get up and go to the door and say, “That’s not a someone, that’s a cop.”

He shows me a scribbled note and asks if this is my license plate. I say, let’s go and look… (who knows their license plate?). Upon confirmation, the cop gets serious, disappointed, and speaks with the authoritative superiority that only cops can have (and for some reason, I hate) and says, “I’m going to need you to sit down on the porch.”

I said, “Are you serious? Up till 5 weeks ago I had been a pastor for 15 years.”

He begins to call for “back up.”

Every possible thought hit me repeatedly at once: Is this really happening? He doesn’t need back up, I’m a really nice person. I didn’t do anything. Wait, maybe I did do something. How can this be on the first night I’m meeting a bunch of strangers? What did I do? What do they think I did? I guess I won’t be leading a small group after all. I don’t think I’d like jail. theMISH is going to be pissed. I must have done something wrong, he wouldn’t be here if I was innocent … I wish I knew what it was.

Then Taffy is laughing, which means nothing coming from Taffy. He’d laugh at anything, mostly because Taffy doesn’t have the word “inappropriate” in his vocabulary. So now I’m thinking, Are you kidding me Taffy?

Then Taffy gives the cop a hug, and I figure out that I’m getting worked. I turn around, and all of the small group guys were standing in the doorway laughing with reckless abandon.

I love youth ministry.

And, I’m going to love destroying Taffy. Those music guys have big weak spots because they have all those guitars they like so much.