How To React When Questioned By Others

Leading a youth ministry can get personal.  You pour your time, effort and energy into making it the best experience possible.  But then your questioned by skeptics and critics.  And the challenge becomes about how you respond.

The reason you are questioned as a leader is because you are creating change.  That makes people nervous and anxious.  And nervous and anxious people look for something to challenge.  What you need to do is put together a plan that diffuses the situation and that involves:


Let them vent.  Behind the criticisms, and behind the pushback you’ll discover another story.  You might hear:

  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Confusion

Knowing the person’s motives will help you the next time you are questioned.  You’ll be able to tell if it’s an honest concern or an irrational fear.  You’ll be able to know what needs to be done next.


When questioned people are coming at you with a lot of emotion.  The sooner you diffuse it the sooner you can have a rationale conversation. After they get off the initial vent thank them.

Thanking someone communicates that their voice was received.  It creates a clear communication, which allows for collaboration or affirmation.  Either way you’ve cut out the emotion and allowed for progress to occur.


When you sense a rise in emotion it’s important to get someone else in the room.  It will give you:

  • A Fresh Perspective
  • Accountability To Respond
  • Protection From Unjust Criticism.

That person could be someone of their choice or yours.  Set them up for success by letting them know why they are there.  They can be either another ear or a mediator between the two parties.

To be questioned means to be challenged.  And while being challenged can lead to growth it can also lead to a loss of time and energy.  Know how you want to react.  Lean into the tension and move through it.  It will be rough but you’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Question:  What’s your initial reaction when questioned?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Suzanne Walsh

    Great thoughts Chris, thanks. I think this applies to many situations where one is driving transformation particularly as it relates to something as sensitive as faith.

    • Suzanne,

      Thanks for your comment. Faith is personal and when there is change it’s going to cause discomfort.

      • Suzanne Walsh

        Yes, I agree.