A call to impact parents

Student ministry that impacts the home likely will be the most significant shift in youth ministry. Adding your name to "The Call" indicates your intention to spend time with parents and to focus on impacting families.

For around 60 years, student ministry has focused almost exclusively on teenagers and has done little to impact the homes in which they live. And we now have enough history to know that the majority of students who stay on mission for a lifetime are those from emotionally and spiritually vibrant homes.

The Call

In January 2004, a group of 22 well-known youth leaders at the National Network of Youth Ministries Forum in Glorieta, New Mexico gathered to discuss how to turn student ministries more toward impacting parents and families. The result of this conference was a document entitled, "A Call to Youth Ministers and the Church."

The document was bathed in prayer. The team knew that this effort would matter little without God's direction. The first part of the document contains resolutions drawn directly from Scripture. The second part contains a significant shift in typical student ministry.

What The Call Means

Those who drafted The Call and those who have signed it have the same desire. They want to see ministry that impacts parents and homes work its way into the very DNA of youth ministry. Evidence of The Call will be the way one ministers to families in the local church and community.

The Call to Youth Ministers and the Church

  • Whereas God intends for parents to serve as the primary spiritual instructors of their children (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), and
  • Whereas God intends for those He calls as ministers to equip His people for service (Ephesians 4:11-13), and
  • Whereas many parents in church fail to fulfill their responsibility for the spiritual development of their children (Judges 2:10,14), and
  • Whereas the church makes its greatest impact upon unbelieving youth and families when its own youth and families are healthy spiritually (1 Timothy 3:1-13), and
  • Whereas church and organizational leaders too long have failed to equip parents for their vital role in the spiritual instruction and leadership of their teenage children.


We call for youth ministers to take on their rightful role as pastoral ministers to parents, acknowledging parents as the primary spiritual leaders of their children and serving parents in that role.

To further define this role,

  • We call for youth ministers to champion the call for churches to pray for parents and to mobilize parents to pray for their teenagers.
  • We call for youth ministers to spend intentional time each week administering and communicating ministries that impact the home.
  • We call for youth ministers consistently to involve parents with leaders and resources that equip parents for biblical parenting and primary discipling of their children.
  • We call for youth ministers to acquire training in family ministry to be equipped to respond to families in crisis and to refer when necessary.
  • We call for youth ministers to include events and experiences that bring parents and teenagers together when it best achieves ministry purposes.
  • We call for churches to call youth ministers in agreement with this document and to support and encourage existing youth ministers to make a transition toward parent ministry.
  • We call for senior pastors and church leaders to incorporate the spirit of this document in the church's ministry with parents of all ages.

Will You Respond to The Call?

You have a great opportunity to be part of the most significant shift in youth ministry this decade. Families will be blessed and teenagers will be more fully prepared to fulfill their callings for the Kingdom.

Dr. Richard Ross is a former youth minister and consultant, the co-founder of True Love Waits.

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