Build A Ministry To Parents In Four Steps

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Today's resource is based on a series of articles from Ministry to which shows 4 steps for building a Parent Ministry.

You can follow the links below to access each of the articles and their downloadable resources. I have taken their model and some of their content, but where I felt there could be more I have added my 2 cents. Part of their purpose is for you to use their service in ministry to parents and if you want to sign up then by all means have a look at what they offer and make use of their service, but if you just want content so you can start something yourself then please read their original articles via the links and our additions below.

Original articles are:


The Roadmap

For many of us, the only thing that keeps us from getting started is finding the first step. What if you want to build a ministry to parents in your church?

  • You know that parents are the most significant spiritual influence in the lives of the kids you serve.
  • You know you are called to teenagers or children but also have an opportunity to minister to their whole family!
  • You know that you should be ministering to parents.

You’re not exactly sure how to do it, so where do you start? Here is the Ministry to Parents Road Map:

ministry to parents road map

It’s a guide to help you get started partnering with parents. Each step along this journey will help you and your church multiply your ministry efforts by leveraging the powerful influence of parents.


Step 1: Build a Parent Ministry Plan

There are many components involved in building a parent ministry plan. One of the fundamental features is a SAFE and STRUCTURED ministry. When parents visit your church for the first time, they may ask, “Will my kid be safe?”  And if they don’t ask, they’re thinking it. Setting guidelines and expectations, doing background checks, and having a well thought out application for volunteers communicates to parents trust, safety, security and structure. 

From Youth Min NZ's perspective, some other aspects that you should consider in your Parent Ministry Plan are:

  • Who you have that can take point for this area? Do you have an empty nester who would love to help other parents, or an older person who can love on parents, or a parent in your ministry with a heart for other parents etc.
  • What would help the parents in your church? This will involve some conversations and research, rather than just assumptions.
  • Once you have things working in your church, would you look to serve parents in your local community? How would you do that?
  • What resources are available to you? Parenting organisations like Parenting Place, Focus on the Family, other churches etc. Marriage resources like Family Life's Weekend to Remember etc
  • What will you offer and how often? Articles, books, training/courses, support groups or small groups. parent/child events, other outside events and resources, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually
  • How will you communicate with the parents? Email, newsletters, text, social media, website etc
  • What is your review cycle for adjusting and tweaking?
  • What are your health and safety policies? As this will also help build trust with parents.

Those are at least some starting points, but I think the most important thing to do is to make the plan achieveable. You might have big plans, but it might take 2 years before you have the right structures and volunteers in place, so plan in phases, starting with what you can do over the next 3 months and expand from there.


Step 2: Encourage Parents

When you decided to step into your role in youth ministry, I imagine you were excited to work with the children or teenagers. But then, you quickly discovered early on those students have parents. And when those parents need encouragement, they come to you because you love working with their students.

But…are there times as a minister where you don’t feel like a parenting expert? If so, me too. Parenting is hard, and I’m not sure anyone can claim to be an expert at it.

But I have some good news for you!

Parents don’t need us to be experts.  They need us to be encouragers.

Now that’s a job any of us can do.

Every time you walk through the hallways of your church, you have the opportunity to interact with parents who are:

  • Disappointed – their kid didn’t live up to their expectations and feel shame
  • Discouraged – they feel hopeless about their kid’s situation or behavior
  • Angry – their family just finished an intense fight in the car on the way to church
  • Hurting – their kid faces a struggle or traumatic event that has the parent reeling
  • Afraid – they feel fear over their kid daily

The bottom line is that the opportunity to encourage parents is so BIG we can’t ignore it anymore.

  • To the disappointed parent, you become a safe listener.
  • To the discouraged parent, you become a reminder there is hope.
  • To the angry parent, you become a calming presence.
  • To the hurting parent, you become a physical representation of God’s comfort.
  • To the fearful parent, you become a faithful friend.

From Youth MIn NZ's side, some practical ideas on how to encourage parents might be:

  • Let them know that they are not alone
  • If it is a common issue, then let them know that it is normal and maybe have some books, podcasts or articles handy that you can pass to them to help them
  • Pray with them
  • Find specific ways to speak well of their youth. If they have a great attitude or you have seen growth or positive change, or there is a talent or ability that you have noticed, then let the parents know.
  • Honour them for who they are and the good aspects of their parenting
  • Follow up and follow through. If you have had a conversation then make a note to follow up with that parent in the next 1-2 weeks with an encouraging text or similar. And if you say you are going to do something then do it.


Step 3: Help Parent's Lead

Here are some truths you might have heard about parents:

  • TRUTH #1- Parents are the most significant spiritual influence in the lives of their kids.
  • TRUTH #2- The students you serve spend the majority of their time at home with their parents and not at your church.

What if you trained parents to act as a minister to their kids?

If so, then the greatest influencers who spend the most time around our students become the primary source of spiritual encouragement.

Think of the possibilities.  We work smarter, not harder to carry out God’s calling on our lives to see young people discipled.

From Youth Min NZ, some ideas that you could consider are:

  • Communicate with parents in regards to what you are teaching their youth in small groups or at services and include some questions to help spark conversation with their youth
  • Speak supportively about parents and family. We should never undermine parents, especially if we are only hearing the youth's side of a situation. Parents aren't perfect but in the list of people that care for the youth, they have done it longer than us and will continue to do it after we have gone, so we need to give them their due respect.
  • Make resources available that will help them, whether that is a culture update, a parenting book or website, or some discussion starters
  • Communicate big events or changes early and across as many channels as possible. Families are busy and if we want the support of families then we need to get information into their hands so they can plan.
  • Let families win. Yes we want our programs and events to be well attended and effective, but if a youth misses your program because of a family commitment, we should celebrate that the family spent time together and we should pray that it brought them closer together. This may even go as far as to changing your events. One example is that we run a summer camp at our church and one year it was run over New Years, which gave an opportunity for a fun party, but with many parents on holiday with annual shut-downs we separated youth from their families during a time that normally had them all together. We moved our camp into mid January so families could be together and the youth could go to camp after parents were back at work.


Step 4: Care For Your Soul

This step is the most foundational of them all. Why?

There is no ministry if the minister burns out.

I have a question for you. Who ministers to you?

I know who serves the kids and teenagers in your church. You.
I know who serves the parents in your church. You.
But who is caring for you? 

You might read that and say, “How does soul care fit into Ministry to Parents?”

Ministry is hard enough as it is.  We are on the front lines in a Spiritual Battle. We have our callings to shepherd our walks with Christ, our relationships with our family, and lead others to do the same.

This responsibility gets even harder when:

  • We’re burning out and struggling to find passion, energy, and motivation.
  • We’re trying to connect with God, but are struggling to grow spiritually.
  • Our family is going through a crisis, and the conflict wears us down.

We understand how hard it is to take care of ourselves as we care for others. This struggle is why we create content concentrated on how to care for the soul. We want to help you “watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23).


Here at Youth Min NZ, we hope this content has been helpful. If you want to discuss starting or improving your parent ministry, then you can go to Ministry to, or you can contact us and we would love to help however we can.

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