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Why We Need Less Children's Ministry and More Parent Ministry

I believe that children's ministry is one of the most important ministries in the church. Throughout Scripture, we are commanded to pass down the faith to the generations that are coming behind us.

That being said, we know that parents are the most crucial factor in seeing kids grow up and follow Jesus for a lifetime.


Reach the parents and you will reach their children. 


I would never want to undervalue the ministry of those of us who serve in children's ministry.  But I believe we are at a point where we need less children's ministry and more parent ministry. 

A recent study by Pew Research Center reflects the importance of parents in their transmission of the faith to their children.  

Only 8% of religiously unaffiliated parents say it is extremely or very important that their kids grow up to share their religious views. 70% of evangelical parents say it is extremely or very important for their children to hold their religious beliefs. 

The transmission of religion through American families appears to be similarly efficient. In the same 2019 survey, 82% of Protestant parents had teens who also identified as Protestant, 81% of Catholic parents had Catholic teens, and 86% of religiously unaffiliated parents – those who described themselves as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular – had teens who were also “nones.”

The survey also found that most people who were raised in a single religion – either by two parents of the same faith or by a single parent – retained that religion.  Roughly eight-in-ten of those raised Protestant (79%) were still Protestant. About six-in-ten of those raised Catholic were still Catholic (62%), and an identical proportion of those raised with no religious affiliation were still unaffiliated (62%). 

Do you want to see the next generation follow in our footsteps and love Jesus?  Then we must pour into their parents and equip them to lead their children to Jesus.  

Perhaps it's time to focus more on the greatest spiritual influence in a child's life...their parents. 


We need less kids' summer camps and more parent camps.

We need less full color church bulletins and more parenting strategies booklets.

We need less women's ministry potluck dinners and more sharing with parents how to feed their children spiritually.

We need less men's ministry events and more father-son camping trips.

We need less women's Bible studies and more parent-child Bible studies.

We need less money being spent on stained glass windows and more money being spent on outreach to parents and their children.

We need less resources being spent on new lights in the auditorium and more resources being spent on equipping parents to shine the light of Jesus to their children.

We need less books for parents about being financially successful and more books about being spiritually successful as a parent.

We need less cell phones at dinner and more dinner conversations between parents and their children.

We need less video game time and more time for parents to read God's Word with their children.

We need less play time and more prayer time with our children.

I want to challenge you to spend more time investing in the parents of your ministry.

If you reach a child...you reach a person. If you reach a parent...you reach an entire family.

Have you read my book "Fertile Soil...see kids faith and flourish for a lifetime? "  I share the 3 big reasons why kids walk away from the faith and how you can counteract that.  It's available at this link.  It's a must read for parents who want to influence their kids to follow Jesus.

Milestones are also a big factor in seeing kids love and follow Jesus.  Milestones are a shared experience for children and their parents. It can be life-changing for families. You can get more info. at this link.  

Always...always...always...be thinking about parents as you minister. It is the greatest opportunity we have to influence the next generation.


Jan 24

Thank you, Dale, for your ongoing work to strengthen children's and family ministry - a wonderful gift to God's people! Blessings! Dr. Lawson Murray - Children's Ministry Basics Blog: https://childrensministrybasics.com/


Dec 21, 2023

I love this, but one tiny push back. We don't need less play time. We need more intentional play time. God designed children to learn through play. Parents purposely playing with their kids and weaving stories of who God is and what he has done into the play. Play is what helps children process who they are and their role in the world and with others, including God. Play models the abundant life found in Christ. Play is the language of children. Play and prayer are not mutually exclusive, an either/or. They can be a both/and. Fred Rogers said, "It is the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our…

Dale Hudson
Dale Hudson
Dec 22, 2023
Replying to

Good insight. Thanks for sharing.


Dec 19, 2023

Amen Amen Amen!!

When I began serving in Children’s ministry almost 30 years ago, it didn’t take me long to realize ministry needed to be to parents. I was a new mom back then and I needed help. Over time I became very passionate about giving the kids back to parents. I began developing FamiLove you VBS and other activities that would facilitate discipling parents to disciple their children. I left my job as a children’s Director 3 years ago to begin ministry to Mom’s, parents, and premarital couples. Children’s ministry enables parents to not feel responsible for their child’s discipleship. Something needs to change.


Dec 19, 2023

Whooo-boy. You hit a soft part in my heart with this post. I agree with you on parenting classes/seminars. I have done a lot of single parent seminars. They need so much help parenting when alone. I still get phone calls and emails from people who attended a workshop years ago. There is so much work to do with parents, yet most churches leave that ministry out of their planning. Dale, you are spot on with this topic as far as I'm concerned. Linda Jacobs

Dec 28, 2023
Replying to

What workshops have you done? I am interested in any info you can give. I'd like to do a workshop rotation throughout the year. We have only done 1 - Effective Parenting.

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