I have been lucky enough to be involved in the Parent Life ministry for over 15 years. My first encounter was as a parent attending a Parent Retreat. My experience that weekend put a profound and real love for Christ in my heart and a desire to serve and give back to my faith community starting with my daughter’s Life Teen program.
Over the years, I have been blessed to see Parent Life Ministry in parishes throughout the country. I have witnessed how parishes and families have been changed because parents are offered not only a chance to grow as parents but also to grow as a child of God with faith experiences found on the Parent Retreats, the Parent Life Gatherings, and hands-on support for Life Teen.
1. What is Parent Life?
Parent Life is a ministry of Life Teen that is dedicated to the parents of teens and middle school youth. It was created in 1993 and started much like Life Teen, one parish at a time. It is designed to give parents an opportunity to support their parish youth ministry program while strengthening their own relationship with Christ and His church.
2. What does Parent Life look like?
The structure of the ministry uses a three-prong approach with one person or couple overseeing the ministry as the Parent Life Coordinator. They are assisted by other parents or couples who are responsible for the three separate components:
- Parent Life Gatherings – These are Sunday meetings that parents attend. See more below
- Parent Life Retreats – These are weekend retreats for parents hosted by a group of parents and teenagers.
- Parent Life Support – This is how parents keep their parish’s Life Teen program strong: prayer, fund raising, helping prepare for retreats, coordinating travel, building Life Night environments, etc.
3. Why does my parish need a Parent Life ministry?
- It’s about the family. In youth ministry, we are aware that we cannot reach and transform our youth while ignoring one of the most important aspects of their lives, their families. Parents are the primary catechists in the family and a healthy parish youth ministry program must work together with parents to “lead their teens closer to Christ”. Parents can encourage or discourage their teen’s relationship with Christ depending on their own faith journeys. Parent Life offers parents opportunities to serve and to grow spiritually enabling them to encourage their teens in their faith as they model their own vibrant Catholic faith in action. Teens, parents, youth Life Teen program and the parish at large benefit greatly from the Parent Life ministry.
- The New Evangelization. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that family catechesis precedes, accompanies and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Pope John Paul II called the family the “domestic church” and Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the family a key part in the role of the New Evangelization by challenging parents to model a vibrant Catholic faith for their teens.
4. How do I get started?
This summer we published our new Parent Life resource to help you start and sustain this ministry in your parish. This resources contains two parts:
- Understand the foundations of the Parent Life ministry. Its step-by-step format explains the structure of the program, leadership needs, as well how to advertise the ministry kickoff. FREE PDF: Download: “Why Parent Life Ministry?”
- 12 original Parent Life Gatherings with a supplemental DVD that seek to build community and strengthen the faith of the parents. FREE PDF: Download “Beyond the Cradle” Parent Life Gathering
If you have any questions I would love to talk with you about your needs for Parent Life and how to get it started in your parish. Call Me: 480-820-7001