A teacher came up with a creative solution for students who are constantly distracted by cell phones in class.

What do you think? Would this fly in your youth group? Is it even necessary?

Now that we know how to accept correction, we’ve got to know how to give it. We shouldn’t give correction just because we don’t like what someone else is doing or how they are doing it. We should give correction to build others up in Christ. As Christians, we are all called to give correction to others when needed, “Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Correction with direction
Correction is about guiding someone in the direction they should be going and not telling them they are going the wrong direction then leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere feeling lost and confused, not knowing which way to go. So it is important when correcting, to state what was done and how it should be done in the future. Be sure that the wisdom you are offering is Biblical. Always refer to scripture when correcting. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Correcting with love and gentleness
You are not better than the one you are correcting. Where one falls weak, another is strong; where one is strong, another falls weak. So remember that when offering correction and do so with love and gentleness. Instead of griping, “You always do this wrong, what are you thinking?” Show genuine care and concern and instead say, “I’ve noticed you doing this, this is what God asks of us…” (Fill in the blank)  Keep it clear and simple by leaving out your thoughts, it will be that much easier for them to apply the correction given.

God gives us examples of how to live all throughout scripture and often times we need accountability for our wrong ways. We are to hold each other accountable and correct each other when needed so that we may live more like Christ every day and enjoy God’s best in our lives.

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

When life seems to be perfect; you are number one go-to in the ministry, you have many friends you can rely on, everyone always says how wonderful and vibrant you are, it’s easy to begin to think that you are, well, perfect. Or maybe you are the one that thinks that you are better than everyone, like people owe you and that you never do anything wrong and are, well, perfect. When you think you are perfect, you will not open yourself up to correction and become teachable and just remain, well, perfect. I don’t know if you’ve been told, but no one is perfect, no one except Jesus. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  Like this scripture says, none of are perfect, not until the day of Christ but we should open ourselves to correction and become teachable.

Accepting correction defined
Accepting correction goes beyond listening.  To truly accept correction means to change your ways.

How to accept correction
So, to first hear correction without writing it off as someone else picking on you, you’ve got to make a conscience daily decision to be teachable. Second, you want to check it out! Is what they are saying Biblical or are they just disagreeing with what you have said or done? You check it out by going to God and honestly asking Him to show you what is inside of your heart and look up what He says about it. Dig in a little further and look up sermons or check out some Christian blogs on the situation. From there, you will know whether to go to step 3 or if you are just fine where you are regarding this particular situation. Lastly, to truly accept correction, you’ve got to change your ways.

It is not easy hearing that you are not perfect and that you have impurities within yourself, but truth is, we all do. Impurities are, without a doubt, easier to ignore than to confront but I guarantee you that God has a plan for you and He wants to clean your heart from any impurities that may be holding you back. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept correction and in the end you will be wise.” So right now, ask God to search you, search your motives and your ways and accept any correction that is being given to you.

Next week: Giving Correction

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

We just restocked our “grow booth” with a ton of resources – the most popular and one of the best we’ve ever used is Doug Fields’ 1-Minute Bible for Students. It gets students in the Word everyday and is a great tool to help teach them the disciplines of a daily quiet time. It is $14.99 … scratch that … $6.99 for a limited time (I have no idea how long, I just saw it on the site).


There’s a student causing a commotion in the room – what do you do? This simple and easily-remembered punch list (I think the first 3 are of Kurt Johnston origin with a new 4th “R” from me) will help you or your volunteers handle the situation well:

Request – this is the simple ask for improved behavior. This is almost always the right first step. I like one comment yesterday to a post saying give them “the eye” as a ‘pre-talking to’ move.

Reseat – move them closer to the leader or away from their partner in crime. I like to think of this as “within reach factor” or where a swift elbow to the ribs will bring him into line.

Remove – you may have to remove them from the situation. Remove them for a few minutes, or the rest of youth group, maybe take them home, or ask them to take a few weeks off. Removal is a necessary part of handling something like this. Lead with grace here and you won’t have regrets.

Relay – involve the parents. Make sure the parents are in the loop and ask them to partner with you on making sure the disruptive behavior doesn’t happen again.

If it is a new student, show more grace while they learn the culture of church and what is expected of them. Be quick to discipline a known offender, be slow to disciplining someone who you don’t have a relationship with at all. You may want to check out this older post called How to Remove a Student from Your Small Group as well. Other thoughts – remember they have to start with R?


Took a group of middle school students to Hershey Park.  During the day the students were free to roam the facility; however, had mandatory check-in times.  When one girl arrived late I asked her for a reason and all I got in return was attitude.  It was a little unexpected and at first I didn’t know how to respond.  I wanted to call her parents and send her home, but then I learned that there was more to the story.  In the end she apologized and the rest of the day was fine.

Has a teenager ever copped an attitude with you before?  It’s alarming and sometimes unexpected.  When caught off guard it’s easy to want to shoot back and go even lower.  Or, maybe you just don’t know how to overcome the disappointment and let it slide.  No matter what you feel, when a teenager shows you a little attitude you need to respond.  But, how do you respond without hurting, rejecting or blowing off the situation?  First, you:

Listen – No matter what they say let it sit out there.  Sometimes the teenager just needs a little bit of time to think about what they said.  If their response was in a moment of passion you are giving them an opportunity to hear their mistake.  You respond immediately and you might escalate the situation down the wrong path.

Respond With “I” Statements – When someone offends us the tendency is to immediately shoot blame.  Instead make your first response a description of how you are feeling like, “I’m a little hurt.” Or “I’m surprised by that.”  Not only are you being authentic, but also you are allowing the offender to know the immediate consequences of their actions.

Offer To Go Deeper – This doesn’t mean to pry and fix what’s going on in their life; however, an off colored comment can sometimes be a shout out for help.  All you need to do is simply ask them, “Is there something we need to talk about?”  If they trust you they’ll let you know the truth.  If they do want to talk about it, just listen and if they don’t assure them that you are available.

Follow Up With Discipline – If a student makes a rude comment towards you, another adult or their parent, be sure to address their action.  Dishonoring parents and being rude to your elders isn’t right.  What is that disciplinary action?  Well that depends on your situation.  It can be as simple as asking them to apologize to who they’ve offended, to removing a certain privilege or responsibility.  No matter what the disciplinary action is, deliver it in love.

When a teen cops an attitude it can be anything from a cry for help to unresolved conflict.  Don’t brush it off, overlook it or over react, if anything slow down the pace, listen and show them God’s love

How do you deal with a teenager’s attitude?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read great articles and thoughts about youth ministry on his blog Marathon Youth Ministry.

One of the first life lessons that we learn is that conflict is inevitable.  We are a fallen people and, because of that, conflict is a part of our life.  Whether big or small, conflict is able to make its way into every one of our relationships.  Unfortunately, our ministry relationships are not excluded from that reality. Whether it is with a parent, a volunteer, another department of the church, or the head pastor, we WILL eventually have conflict.

As believers, we are called to confront and resolve our conflict. That being said, if we don’t approach reconciliation appropriately, conflict can be incredibly destructive.

Today my friend (who works at the same church as me) and I were debriefing a confrontation he had that afternoon.  He was frustrated with a miscommunication he had with a member of another department, so he talked with them about it. Long story short, it did not go well.  Their relationship took a huge blow and both walked away more frustrated than they were before.

Thankfully, they are in the process of repairing their relationship.  But it is important that our confrontations don’t produce similar outcomes. If you are deciding whether or not you should confront someone about a conflict, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Did I pray about it? At the first sign of conflict, pray. Pray for guidance and discernment as your navigate your next step.  Search your heart to find out what you are truly upset about.  Say someone isn’t responding to your e-mails or phone calls, are you upset at their laziness or are you upset that they aren’t valuing your time?  Finding out your true feelings about your issue will help you effectively communicate your frustration.

Is it worth it?  Finding out your true feelings will also help you pick your battles.  Frequently communicating small issues is discouraging to others and has the potential to alienate you.  Not communicating important problems can severally damage your ministry and even your church as a whole.

Am I considering the entirety?  Take some time to think outside yourself (outside student ministry), and consider the “big picture”.  Remember that you and your ministry are only small pieces of a large puzzle. Are you looking out for our own interests, or the interest of the Church?

What are some things that you consider before you approach a confrontation?

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Coordinator at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at coltonharker@gmail.com or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.

Loved a new post over on Generation to Generation called Diffusing the Disruption that talked about helping keep order in your small group discussion time and dealing with problem students. Here’s a clip of it, head over there for the complete article:

  • Announce your expectations before there’s a disruption. Lay down the ground rules and let your students know what you expect them to do and what they can expect from you.
  • If a disruption happens first in group time, address it generally in group time. Don’t be too specific about that one student, but let everyone know that your expectations aren’t being met.
  • If it keeps happening, pull that student aside after the group is over. Don’t be specific with him or her in the moment, but don’t let it pass either.