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Why Parent Ministry Is So Important to Me

May 6, 2010

Today I set aside some time to read. I have been reading for the past 4 years only what I have been told to read by professors. Since that chapter is coming to a close I now can read what I want. I came across a “Top Ten” list by Dr. Richard Ross from SWBTS. He presented this at a conference at NOBTS last year. After reading it, I was reminded of why I am so passionate about Family Ministry. Feel free to pass this along. You can also learn more about Dr. Ross at

Top 10 Things I’ve Learned
Ministering to Parents
Dr. Richard Ross,
Professor of Student Ministry
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

1. Almost every church has a student ministry that is church-centered,
family supported – rather than family-centered, church supported (even
though it isn’t biblical).

2. The great majority of student ministers believe Scripture calls for
parents to be the most important spiritual leaders to their own
teenagers – but they give most of their time, giftedness, and budget to
making their program first in spiritual leadership.

3. At least half of Christian parents do not know the basics of parenting
teenagers and therefore make mistakes that impact relationships and
spiritual development. (But most churches have done little or nothing to
help them).

4. Emotional injuries account for the majority of relationship problems in
Christian families. Few parents or teenagers ever ask, “Is there a way I
have hurt you but never have made right?” (And few churches ever
create teaching and environments where such conversations are likely
to happen).

5. Whether they are conscious of it or not, most Christian parents would
rather see their teenager win state in some athletic, artistic, or
academic competition – than to see that teenager visibly join Christ in
bringing His kingdom to their school campus. (But most churches have
not led parents toward spiritual transformation that changes priorities).

6. The majority of Christian parents have forgotten that a heart connection
– a warm and close relationship – is the pipeline or conduit that carries
spiritual impact from them to their teenager. (They tend to believe just
managing young lives will lead to positive outcomes).

7. Parents have allowed their teenagers to so multiply extracurriculars that
those extracurriculars now harm students rather than build students
(because they harm families rather than build families).

8. Student ministers, parents, and teenagers have underestimated the
value of intergenerational ministry events – primarily because they have
never seen them done well. (Planning with core parents and students
offers the best hope for building excitement. High-quality programming
that everyone enjoys and profits from offers the best hope for sustaining

9. Spiritually alive youth families offers our best hope for reaching and
caring for teenagers from spiritually lost homes. (Only poorly designed
parent and family ministry excludes solo youth).

10. The student ministry train is pulling out and will leave some
student ministers standing back at the station. Student ministers who
will be valuable for the future quickly will re-tool – to become prophetic
in calling and equipping parents to become the primary spiritual leaders,
to become competent in providing programming to train and support
parents, and to become effective in planning and leading
intergenerational youth ministry events.

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