10-second Tip: Take Time for the Questions at Midnight
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:
“As a Father, whenever my kids ask a heavy question at midnight right before it’s time to go to bed, it’s worth answering the questions and staying up late because those questions might never come back again.”
MY ADDED THOUGHTS:
Whether it’s your own kids or the students in your ministry, it’s so important to make the most out of the moments when they reach out to you. Those moments are rarely convenient. They happen when you’re in the middle of a project, when you’re busy, and when you’re tired. But making time for these somewhat rare moments to connect with your kids and students will help strengthen your relationship and give you a unique opportunity to speak into their lives. Here are a few things to remember in those moments:
This is why you do what you do.
The whole reason why you do youth ministry is to create an environment where these moments can happen. So whatever you’re working on at the moment, it can wait. Put down what you’re holding, close your laptop, put your phone on silent, and turn your entire attention to your kids. If you’re worried about being tired in the morning, remember that coffee is God’s gift to youth workers and parents.
Be more than just a human form of Google.
Google will give your students the answers to their questions, but you can help guide them towards the answer and be with them through the experience. To do this, you’ll need to:
- Practice active listening with your body language, eliminate distractions, and focus your attention on your kids.
- Look for the root cause of the question—the question behind the question.
- When you do speak and share from your experiences, don’t let the focus of the conversation shift to you. Keep their questions and emotions at the center of the conversation.
- Be OK with not reaching a solution in that moment and leaving the conversation open-ended.
Make time for a follow-up conversation.
Follow-up is what helps continue the momentum. The next day or week, reach out to your students and create an opportunity to continue the conversation that they started. Some ideas might be:
- Share a link to a video that helps communicate the same questions they had.
- Find a song that represents the feelings they shared with you.
- Send an encouraging text with a Bible verse or quote.
Truth is never fully understood in a single moment.
Truth has a depth that we just can’t see or understand in the midst of one conversation or life-experience. So we have to give our students time to fully engage with whatever truth they are uncovering. That means letting them live with it, experiment with it, and create room for it to influence one aspect of their life at a time. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
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.
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.