Because we care about people, as ministry leaders, we plan and see to a hundred details for events at church. We thoughtfully plan programs, conferences, Sunday school classes, mission trips and more.
Planning for a recent missions trip was detailed and intentional for our team, but again and again we were reminded to plan on plans changing. We were encouraged to prepare, and to hold our plans loosely.
We had meaningful sessions planned and sermons prep fully prepped, but do you know what stood out and was impactful?
It wasn’t the messages, although they were good. It wasn’t the event itself, although it was great. It wasn’t the ever-changing schedule, although it worked out just fine.
What was priceless were the songs and games we didn’t plan – and the bubbles we pulled out at the last minute.
We spent time with a group of women in South Asia. It was our last day and we were packing up to head out. As an after thought, I grabbed the bubbles we had brought for the kids (who didn’t end up coming).
I opened the little bubble containers and started handing them out. They looked at the containers with a smile … and with a lost look. I opened the bubbles, took out the wand and gently blew. Bubbles floated into the air and were met with surprised laughter. I handed out a few more bubbles and again, modeled how they worked. Again, they laughed.
That was our “closing session.” No deep theological discussions, just bubbles and lots of laughter. It was a little moment of unexpected whimsy – which is typically how whimsy comes. You can plan for whimsy, but most of the time you just have to say “yes” when whimsy comes your way.
Is there a place for bubbles and whimsy in your ministry? What didn’t you plan on you can say “yes” to?
Sometimes the profound comes in the shape of bubbles and in the sound of laughter. There is a sacredness in whimsy. If you don’t pay attention, it can slip right through your fingers.
Let’s start praying for the unexpected ministry that happens all around us. True ministry is rarely neatly packaged. It’s usually a little messy, on its own timeline and ready when it’s safe and invited.
Let’s expect the unexpected and prepare our hearts for whimsy. Let’s protect some time for surprises, conversations and random ideas. Who knows? Maybe there will be bubbles at your next event.