3 Powerful Words for Ministry with Youth

Youth PaintingHave you ever asked a teenager a question and received a yes or no answer?  Have you ever asked a string of open ended questions and received a few words or a short sentence in response to each?  Have you ever felt like at a certain age the ability for youth to speak openly and freely comes to an abrupt halt?

A Different Question

Brad M. Griffin, Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, wrote an in-depth article about a relatively simple yet incredibly powerful approach to extending, deepening, and adding value to many of the conversations adults have with youth through the use of three words: “tell me more.”

Instead of settling for the short, incomplete and proforma answer provided, adults should show interest by inviting youth to “tell me more.”

Tell Me More

Griffin mentions the work of a woman who is experienced in youth ministry and in young adult ministry who believes in and utilizes these three words often.

They are words of with. Not of solving.

Young adults need with-ness if they—we—are going to be able to solve our stuff. “Tell me more” is a reminder to be quiet, be interested, and be present.

So What?

Whether you are a parent (or grandparent, aunt/uncle, etc.), a teacher (or coach, leader, etc.), or part of a ministry with youth, I believe it is well worth investing some time to increase your use of the phrase, and develop your competency as part of your authentic expression of with-ness.

  • Try using the phrase “tell me more” several times this week.  How did it work for you?  In what way(s) did you find yourself becoming a better listener?
  • What other phrases have you found helpful in your interactions with youth and young adults?

Speak Your Mind

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