If you find yourself having regular conflicts with lots of other people, look inside yourself and realize that the “person looking at you in the mirror” must be largely responsible. Remember that the attitude in which you view other people will invariably be the attitude with which they view you back.
Humanly speaking, we often rule ourselves with our hearts but rule others with our heads. To be effective in youth leadership, this order needs to be reversed. Remember as you are dealing with that defiant teenager that you have no idea what has gone on in his life over the last 24 hours. Jesus gives us pretty strong incentive by telling us that “with the same level of judgment we judge others, we ourselves will be judged.” I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty motivational to me.
Wow! This is so much easier to say than to live. But it’s hugely important. Your voice tone and body language will often be the key factors in how defensive you come across. Work on keeping our voice tone slow, even, and low. Exercise the 101% Principle and try to remain calm and non-defensive even if the other person ramps up the emotional energy. Proverbs reminds us that a “soft answer turns away wrath, but emotional words stir up more anger.” I often remind myself mentally, “The bigger person will remain gentle and calm right now. So with Your help, Lord, make me bigger!”
Thomas Jefferson would have made a great youth leader. Listen to his quote: “In matters of principle, stand like a rock. But in matters of taste, swim with the current.” In sailing, the smaller boats usually make room for the larger ones. But in Christian leadership, the exact opposite should be true. The larger your “leadership boat,” the easier it should be for you to “move out of the way” for the “smaller boats” in your life.
The way you handle conflict will be huge, not just in your ministry but with the people you work with and live with! I think this is such an important topic, I’ve chosen it as the focus for the next ALLIANCE gathering.
Never been to the ALLIANCE and you’re wondering what it is? The ALLIANCE is “an authentic, safe, tight-knit gathering of youth leaders…from all different denominations…marked by laughter, prayer and hunger to grow” and hundreds of groups are meeting all over the United States and in Canada. At each group gathering, you get to watch a video of me, talking about a youth ministry topic and then you have the opportunity to discuss it with other youth pastors in your local area. I also give you THREE FREE RESOURCES on the topic, just for showing up.
If the ALLIANCE is something you’d like to be a part of, but aren’t sure where the closest meeting to you is…go to the ALLIANCE website where you’ll find a map with our ALLIANCE Facilitators and how to contact them. Still have more questions? Just email Chris Infalt, (Chris@youthleaderscoach.com) the ALLIANCE Operational Facilitator and she would be glad to answer all your questions!