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Years ago when I was doing youth ministry, we received applications from students who wanted to go on a mission trip.

The missionary we were helping only had accommodations for a certain number to go, so the applications allowed the youth ministry sponsors to select the final team of students who would go on the trip. In retrospect, we should have searched harder for a missionary that could house a larger group.

Of course, not all of the students who applied were able to go on the trip. The parents of one of the sophomore students who was not selected followed the Matthew 18 model. They invited me over to their house for a face to face private conversation. And the father began the conversation by saying, “Matthew, we’ve been friends for a long time. And I’m sure you know why we invited you over here tonight. I want this to turn out well for all of us.”

Even though we needed to talk about a tough topic, his words set me at ease from the start. So, if you need to have a private conversation with someone, remember to affirm the relationship early in your meeting.

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