Confrontation: Still Learning...
Earlier this week I had to deal with some issues in our youth ministry which included some of everyone’s favorite part of doing youth ministry: confrontation.
Seriously, most people run from confrontation like it’s the plague, but I’ve learned to embrace it because confrontation can be a positive turning point in someone’s life and is always an opportunity for me to grow as a leader. I don’t LIKE it, but I never run from it.
Here are a few things I learned/remembered this week as I dealt with this particular issue:
1. Be up front. Don’t waste their time or yours beating around the bush all day. I have a tendency to try to “warm up” to the issue, but it’s usually best to just come out and lay it on the table. In this particular issue, the person across the table from me literally said “just tell me what’s wrong.” Don’t prolong it for you or them—get it out there and start dealing with it.
2. Be on their side. Seriously. If you can’t confront someone with love and with a positive end in mind for them (redemption, restoration, growth), you shouldn’t be confronting them in the first place. Remind them of this as well—that you're on their side—and that you want to see this issue resolved in a way that everyone learns and grows through it.
3. Don’t overlook spiritual needs. Often we deal with confrontation by addressing the specific issue without ever going deeper and seeing what some of the underlying issues are. Ask questions about the person’s walk, how their faith-life is doing, etc. Keep an eye open for areas of weakness that you could help in, because I’m convinced that at the core of most issues is our hearts and who or what is at the center of them.
Confrontation. It’s not fun, but it can be an amazing opportunity for you and them to learn and grow. What are you learning about dealing with conflict when it arises?