This recently came up in our youth ministry and forced me to think through it rather quickly. What’s the best procedure for confronting a student who’s involved in something dangerous, criminal, or very inappropriate? Here’s what came to mind:
What NOT to do
- Don’t freak out and jump to conclusions.
- Don’t bring up all your references or defend your reasons for having a suspicion.
- Don’t be accusatory or express disappointment or anger that will cut off communication.
- Don’t avoid the situation or hope someone else will take care of it.
What TO do
- Pray about it. Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment.
- Meet with the student one-on-one (or with another adult if you’re the opposite gender).
- Communicate your love and support and let the student know you’re on their side, but also express your concerns.
- Let the student know that you must share your concerns with their parent(s), but that you wanted to respect them and talk with them about it first.
- Be forthright. Don’t beat around the bush. Just come out and ask what you need to ask.
- Ask straight-up questions and expect straight-up answers in return.
- Report the situation to the Sr. Pastor.
- Talk with the parents after meeting with the student and share with them your impressions and any recommendations you have about the situation.
- Report to the appropriate authorities as necessary.
- Pray for the student.
- Be available to follow-up with the student.
- Be willing to be an accountability partner if agreed by the student.
I know every situation is different and there are grey areas in this list, so think of it as a rough guideline. What input can the rest of give?
Posted on October 9, 2007