How To Deal With Confrontation

Confrontation seems to always rear it’s ugly when you least expect it. Whether it’s in an email or done face to face it can put you in an awkward place. It could be a parent complaining about the program. Sometimes it’s a fellow youth minister questioning your best practices. I’m a pretty defensive person so when I open that email I grow angry and begin to fantasize how I can knock the person down a notch. The temptation to fight back is right there.

You will face confrontation in your ministry. It might be from a parent, a teen, your pastor or a complete stranger. Ministry is messy because it’s personal. When someone catches you by surprise with a backhanded compliment or public insult it’s natural to react. The question is how do you avoid leaning into a lose/lose situation?

How To Be Bold

There I was on top of a telephone pole, sweating profusely  trying to ignore the chants of “Jump, jump, jump.” from my classmates.  Our high school had just installed a ropes course and each student had to compete it.  As someone with a fear of heights I had to make a bold move.  I needed to jump from the top of this telephone pole to a hanging trapeze bar, while trusting the smallest guy in the class to hold me if I should miss.  I took a deep breathe, bent my knees and slid off the pole.  No jump and no near miss, I just fell.  Much to my surprise my classmate held on.

You are going to be faced with times where you need to take that jump and make a bold move.  Not many people realize that when they go into youth ministry that they will face obstacles, push back, conflict and necessary decisions in order to move forward.  To make those bold moves and many more you need to:

Facing Spiritual Battle

Facing spiritual battle is a huge part of youth ministry.  I’ll never forget the first time I had to deal with a teen in my ministry passing away.  It was my first year of high school youth ministry and a freshman girl passed away from cancer.  Instead of leaning into the situation and supporting the family, I just stood by and watched.  I had allowed my fears to overcome me and Satan’s voice to fill me with doubt. 

Courtesy of juhansonin/Creative Commons License

Ye Old Battle Axe Courtesy of juhansonin/Creative Commons License

In youth ministry facing spiritual battles means being ready for the different areas it occurs.  For example, when:

  • Teens Hurt
  • You Butt Heads With Leadership
  • Home Is Compromised
  • A Parent Chews You Out
  • The Community Is Shaken

The list is endless and that’s because youth ministry is messy.  It is messy; however, beneath that mess is a wonderful adventure that can bring teens and their families closer to God.  As youth ministers you and I need to be facing spiritual battle by: