Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

How Honest Should You Be With Your Youth Group?

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I have had seasons of frustrations and, sadly, allowed those feelings to bleed out on my students. It wasn’t pretty or fair to them.

I allowed the pressure from my boss (pastor), parents, church members, family issues, personal issues and the immaturity of the students I was leading to come to the forefront in the form of biting words and even anger as if it was there fault. It wasn’t.

I have since made a vow to keep my feelings in check when communicating with students and only share what is going to be beneficial to them.

If you’re feeling the heat from all sides, here’s a few tips, based on experience, that may help navigate those toxic feelings.

  • Don’t let your frustrations about your ministry or your students bleed over into your interactions with them. Your frustrations can come out as sarcasm or antagonizing, which is never good.
  • If you’re going to share your feelings with your students, do it from a pure place. Come from a place of love and care for them, not from a place of frustration or guilt.
  • Don’t overdo it. Share your feelings in a brief way, weave them into your teaching or message as the Apostle Paul did

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! Galatians 4:19,20

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives it’s name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:14-17

  • Don’t jump on your students for being teenagers They, like you, like all of us, are in process. Season your conversation with copious amounts of grace.
  • Remember that your goal is to help your students mature in their faith. Will your feelings accomplish that?
  • Don’t share your toxic feelings with your students. If you have issues with others, don’t lay it on students, they have enough on their minds without having to worry about your problems.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Pray before you share your feelings with your students. Ask God to help you to do it in a way that is loving and helpful.
  • Be mindful of your audience. Consider the maturity level of your students and what they are able to handle.
  • Be specific. Don’t just say, “I’m feeling frustrated.” Instead, share something that is on your heart for them. Don’t make it about you.
  • Be open to feedback. Listen to what your students have to say, and be willing to learn from them.

Sharing your feelings with your students can be a powerful way to connect with them and build relationships. By following these tips, you can do it in a way that is both beneficial for you and for your students.

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