10-Second Tip: Be Constructive with Your Criticism

Jacob Eckeberger
June 23rd, 2016

At the NATIONAL YOUTH WORKERS CONVENTION, we stopped youth workers from all across the U.S. and asked them to share a 10-second youth ministry tip.


To not be shy with your youth worship team, and be constructive with your criticism.


Offering constructive criticism to our students in leadership is one way that we can create an opportunity for them to grow. To do it effectively, we have to think about not just the words that we say, but the environment we say them in, and the trust that needs to be developed before we earn the right to offer our critiques. Here are a few ways to prepare your student relationships for constructive criticism:

  • Set expectations. Long before you offer critiques, make sure the leadership team understands that constructive criticism is an intentional part of the mentorship process—it’s meant to build them up and to help develop their skills.
  • Control the environment. Meet with the leadership team away from the other students in your youth group. This makes sure that they don’t feel called out or embarrassed in front of their friends.
  • Make it a part of a bigger hangout time. Include your constructive criticism as just one part of a scheduled hangout time that is geared around team-building, future planning, and other fun stuff.
  • Start with what they did well. Before you jump into critiques, always lead off with the things that they should be proud of.
  • Prepare solutions and brainstorm together. When you get to the critiques, have some possible solutions prepared so that they have practical steps to take in the future. Invite your students to be a part of creating the solutions too. Ask them what they think about your proposed solutions, and brainstorm together about how to make them even better.
  • Tell them you’re proud of them. Always remind your leadership team that they are talented, that they are awesome, and that you’re proud of who they are regardless of their performance.

Join us this year for the National Youth Workers Convention in Cincinnati, OH for way more tips and ministry ideas from the 50+ seminars and training opportunities. Register early for NYWC to save BIG: NYWC.COM.

JACOB ECKEBERGER is the Content Manager at Youth Specialties, an itinerant worship leader, the spouse of a church planter, and a long time volunteer youth worker. You can find him blogging about social media and digital strategy ideas at JACOBECKEBERGER.COM.

Jacob Eckeberger

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.