10-second Tip: Leave Room For Doubt
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.
THE 10-SECOND TIP:
“Leave room for doubt. It’s the wellspring of faith.”
MY ADDED THOUGHTS:
Leaving room for doubt is really about creating space for your students to be honest with you. Your students probably have doubts running through their mind already. So instead of wondering whether or not doubts exist, you should focus on whether or not your students feel comfortable talking about their doubts with you and in their small groups. Creating space for doubts to be examined, and for the most difficult questions to be asked, will help your students tap into the fullness of their faith in Christ. Here are 3 ways to do that:
Never turn away a question.
Anytime a student asks a question that shows they are doubting some aspect of their faith, thank them for being honest, and if it’s an appropriate time to engage in the question, redirect it back to them by asking something like, “What do you think?” If you’re in a setting where it’s not appropriate to address the question, you can still thank them for being honest but let them know you’ll be connecting with them later to chat more. Be sure to actually follow-up with them, or you’ll miss an incredible opportunity.
Use experiences to invite questions.
Sometimes, it takes a specific experience or event to help students articulate their questions. Here are just a few ideas:
- Build a question box where students can write down any and every question they have and drop it in the box. Then, every so often, have a youth group time will focus on addressing a few of them.
- Ask your pastor and a few church elders to be a part of a panel that can address questions from your students.
- Set-up a local field trip for your students to tour a local Mosque or a Temple and ask questions of the Imam, Rabbi, or Priest.
- Watch a series that isn’t created from a Christian perspective, like National Geographic’s The Story of God, and engage your students in a discussion about how the views expressed in each episode compare with their own.
Be honest about some of your own questions.
Your students need to know that you have some questions. Not all of your questions are appropriate to share with students, but it’s important for them to know that their doubts and questions are all a part of a healthy faith in Christ.
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.
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.