Have you ever felt disrespected in student ministry? Oh you haven’t? Well, then you are a liar. Disrespect is something that goes with the territory of being in student ministry. By the way, if you think I think all skateboarders are disrespectful because of the photo, you are correct. Just kidding, I cannot stay on a skateboard to save my life so I actually respect them. n a perfect world, disrespect wouldn’t happen, but remember, we live in a fallen world so disrespect is a heart issue that our students have. When it happens though, how do we handle this? This is something that I am working on. I have failed miserably at this in my time in student ministry, and am sharing some thoughts that I am currently working on to improve handling disrespect in our student ministry.
- Communicate boundaries clearly and regularly– Students need to know the boundaries so that if they cross the boundary, they cannot come back with the phrase, “I am sorry, I did not know.” Communicate the boundary often and clear.
- Be consistent– This is a struggle for youth leaders, but we must be consistent with every student regardless. Students pick up quickly if you treat others differently than you did them when they did a similar thing. Make sure that you find your boundaries and be consistent with the way that you handle it.
- Keep your cool– There have been times where I have gotten ticked off at students. Make sure that you always keep your cool, and remember that this is a heart issue, and you have to show them Jesus in the way that you respond.
- Handle things privately if possible– Be careful about how you handle public rebuke. If a student is texting your lesson, speak with him afterward instead of calling them down during your lesson.
- Believe the best in every student– This is difficult to do, but something that I am currently working on in my own heart. I want to believe every student wants to know God more, and wants to live their lives for them even though their actions show differently. If you do this, you will respond with compassion and love.