You don’t have to be in ministry long before you find yourself in the middle of some kind of drama. The reality is, when you work with people, you work with both the good and the messy sides of life. Ministry is messy because we as people are messy, and if we never find ourselves in the middle of people’s problems, we are missing out on opportunities to minister during times when they need to be reminded of God’s love and grace the most. Drama comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s the drama within the youth ministry; sometimes it has to do with people outside of the ministry; sometimes the drama involves others, and we serve as mediator; sometimes we are personally involved in the issue or problem at hand. Whatever the situation, there are a few steps that I have found helpful when dealing with drama, both personally and in a ministry capacity.
- Take a deep breath. It’s always important to take a step back and take a deep breath, even if it is simply a “mental” deep breath. This can be the form of a prayer, asking God to give you wisdom and guidance, or simply a time to remind yourself that most drama seems bigger in the moment than what the problem really is in the grand scheme of things.
- Listen. It’s easy when you’re in leadership to talk and offer advice too early or to talk too quickly because you want to make sure your side of the story is heard. However, the often-quoted “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is sometimes all-too-true when dealing with drama. Make sure you show you care by listening before jumping in and talking too much. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and do what you can to show you care before jumping to conclusions in your response.
- Respond, don’t react. It’s easy during a time of drama to let your emotions run wild. However, it’s important to remain controlled in these situations and let God work above where your emotions lie. When you are in the middle of drama, it’s important to check your heart and your motives. It’s easy to overreact and say things that you later regret saying. It’s always better to take your time to make sure you are responding to the drama and not just reacting to it, than it is to have to go back later and do damage control.
Whatever drama you are dealing with, always keep in mind that God understands the messy parts of our lives. Look to Him for guidance and wisdom, and trust that He has a greater plan than the drama of the moment.
What are some other things you have found helpful when dealing with drama personally and in ministry?