10-Second Tip: Dealing with Confrontation in Youth Ministry

Jacob Eckeberger
October 13th, 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.


“When dealing with confrontation, make sure you get wise counsel, plan a strategy of communication, and pray and ask others to join you in the process.”


Dealing with confrontation is never fun. Even though the specific way in which you deal with confrontation might change depending on the person, these five things should remain the same:

1) Get wise counsel.

It’s important to bring in a trusted and unbiased perspective to help cover any situational blind spots you might have. This isn’t a license to share it in any Facebook group, because you do have to keep your church’s confidentiality standards in mind. But it is invaluable to have 1-2 mentors who can speak into these difficult situations.

2) Loop in your leadership.

Even if you don’t feel like you need your leadership’s approval, it’s always best to make sure your lead pastor, or whoever you report to, is aware of the situation. If your leadership understands what’s happening, they’ll know how to support you if they are ever in a conversation about the situation.

3) Make sure the person confronting you feels heard and understood.

When a person confronts you, there are usually a lot of things happening underneath the surface. Even if their words feel as if they are meant to cause you pain, listen for key words that might uncover where they are feeling hurt, acknowledge their pain, and try to empathize with them. Sometimes it’s a pain that has existed long before you, and unfortunately, you’re the punching bag they are choosing to take it out on. In those situations, love wastefully and extend crazy amounts of grace. You can’t be a punching bag forever, but your first reaction should be to acknowledge their pain, not look for ways to punch back.

4) Consider how the person confronting you prefers to communicate.

If they hate phone calls, then don’t force them into a phone conversation. If they don’t communicate clearly through text, then invite them out to coffee and discuss it in person.

5) Pray and ask others to pray with you.

The only thing that can bring unity in the most divisive situations is the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Ask God to give you eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to love the person as God loves them.

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.