It’s during the spring when things seem to get really busy. With the end of school approaching, spring activities starting, and Easter right around the corner, it can be a fast-paced time. Time in a youth group or at church in general can be just the break youth need. Chances are, your youth will want to give you their ideas for what to do during your time together. Being able to give feedback allows youth to have agency and ownership of the time they spend together while still allowing you to have structure. But how do you get the most helpful feedback from youth?
Will you sit with the youth and simply ask for feedback during your time together? Will you hand out a survey for them to fill out? Or will you use another unique approach? You know your youth best—for some groups, asking for feedback out loud will allow only a few voices to be heard, or no one will answer. For others, taking a survey will lead to students writing the simplest answers possible to hand it in and be done. Sometimes one-on-one discussions work best. Knowing your youth, pick one or more ways for students to respond.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
In cultural research for interviews, there is the idea of interview protocols for the order and way you ask questions. Whether you’re thinking of writing a survey or holding a group discussion, the order and way you ask questions matter. Simple yes or no answers aren’t really what you are looking for. Start with easy questions like “What do you like that we currently do?” or “What are some activities that aren’t your favorite?” Use questions that are centered on the students’ experience. This will help you best understand how youth are feeling and what types of activities will be most helpful.
Even if your youth love everything you are doing, helping them feel heard and seen is important. When starting an activity that had been suggested by the group, mention that the activity was something they had asked for to let them know you listened to their feedback. If the majority of the group liked an idea but one person was against it, follow up with that individual before or after the activity to help the person feel like he or she was not skipped over.
You may be surprised to hear what youth want to do, or you might get confirmation of a job well done. Your youth may want a more casual time together or they might really want to dig into difficult Scripture topics. Either way, you will gain insight into how to best serve the students coming through your church’s doors.
Keep youth curious about the Bible with the downloadable study That’s in the Bible?