I don’t know if you know this or not but tonight is the Election for the president of the United States. I also don’t know if you know this but it seems like there is a lot of tension, anticipation, anxiety, stress, worry and anger about what is going to happen tonight and the weeks following the results of tonight.
As I am sure you know, there are a lot of people who are VERY opinionated about what is happening in our country tonight and there are disagreements, fights, keyboard warriors, and posts flying all over the place. Lot’s of them being youth workers like us and students like in our groups.
And if your ministry is anything like ours, you are going to have students who all of this goes over their heads and they don’t really care, you have some that just regurgitate what they hear at home and you have some that care deeply and know what is going on with the election. Chances are you are a voice that speaks into student’s lives and they want to know what you think. So tomorrow or this weekend during youth group they are going to ask you or want to talk to you about the election.
I don’t know if that gives you anxiety or you can’t wait to talk about it, either way, we need to make sure we point back to Jesus and our faith while realizing there is going to be a range of thoughts and emotions from different students around this topic.
As I have been processing all of this, I wrote down some reminders for myself to keep in mind if students do want to talk about it I can have the right, Christ-like mindset no matter what way I lean politically:
Make sure you have processed your own thoughts and emotions.
If we are not in a good spot to talk to other adults without fighting, we are probably not ready or should talk to our students about it. I think we need to make sure we are in a good spot first before we even think about talking about and taking questions from students. It’s okay to say, “You know what I am still processing it right now and I would love to talk to you about it a little bit later this week if that is ok.”
Listen and ask questions.
Even if you don’t agree, listen. One of the best things we can do, in order to help students process, is to let them talk. When they talk it out loud, they are processing and we are to help them process what they are going through and ask them good questions about what they are feeling and what does it mean for their faith. Make your space a space that is safe for others to process. This is the goal, is it not? We want to be a place where students feel comfortable to talk about anything and everything. One of the biggest ways to make sure that does not happen is to cut them off, be short, be confrontational, argue etc. Is there a time where those things can happen healthily? Sure. But we want to make sure we are there, listening. This is not a time for you to input your opinions but just to listen to them.
Don’t demonize the other side but use it as an opportunity to coach tolerant disagreement (not only for them but for you too).
No matter who wins, there are going to be upset people and students and we want to make sure there is no demonizing of the winning or losing “side” in the culture of our ministry. I feel like we have lost the ability to “disagree and still be friends” mentality and it is sad. Ultimately, as leaders of a Christian ministry, we have the opportunity to coach our students on what it means to disagree but still live in a way that honors and obeys what Jesus tells us about how to live and treat others.
Challenge to love others like Jesus.
As a youth worker, I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory but in this cultural climate, I feel like I need to put this in here. This is what we are called to do with our students and live out in our own lives.
Again self-explanatory but it can be a great way to pray for and with your students who do come to you about it.
I feel like I have seen it all over to where it’s almost funny but I do feel like sometimes people really don’t understand it but God is on the throne regardless of the outcome of tonight. He is in control. He has won. He has elected us to be with Him by Him coming down from heaven to die on a cross for us. This is what matters most and we need to keep on pointing students to that amazing truth.