10-Second Tip: Listen and Ask “Why?”

Jacob Eckeberger
June 16th, 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.


Listen, to not be afraid to ask “why,” and to not take it at surface value.


This tip has more than just one layer. It’s certainly what we hope our students would do while they are thinking critically about their beliefs. In order for this to happen, most students need an environment that cultivates this type of engagement. Here are a few ways we can help create that environment for our students:

  1. Always welcome questions, even the ones that seem a bit crazy or unorthodox.
  2. Stop assuming that all of our students are on the same page or even agree on core Christian beliefs.
  3. Don’t be quick to offer solutions, but submit to a process where we can guide students toward the answers. Sometimes a truth leaves a bigger impact on the life of a student when they realize it for themselves, and we can help lead them toward that realization.

Beyond our students, this is also a great tip for us youth workers when we’re evaluating our ministry processes and programs. It’s healthy for us to regularly examine the stuff we spend our time on, and here’s how this tip can help:

  1. Listen to feedback from students (regulars and non-regulars), parents, volunteers, and community members.
  2. Asking “why do we do this? Does it still align with our core values as a ministry? Is it still effective?”
  3. Recognize that there’s always something beyond what we see at surface level. A game just isn’t a game, it’s a way to break the ice and to connect with the energy of our students. A program isn’t just a mid-week activity, it’s a way to build impactful relationships. A negative opinion might not just be someone who has it out for you, it could represent deeper hurts and pains that existed long before you showed up.

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.