Mike WallaceSo, you think you may want to go into ministry but are a little apprehensive about talking to your parents about this decision. This is understandable. After all, this is a pretty big life decision you are making. The good news is that many have walked where you are now and can help you in knowing how to have the healthiest conversation possible. With that said, here are some of the most important things to keep in mind…

So where do I start?

  • Give your parents the benefit of the doubt. Odds are you have been thinking about this for a little bit and you are just now springing this idea on them. Therefore, they might need some time to process this decision well. Even the most Christian of parents may have some serious concerns about your ministry decision, and that is okay. You will need to be patient with them and understanding. Your maturity in this conversation will help them ultimately to be more supportive.
  • Choose a good time and place. Sometimes we can set ourselves up to fail if we spring this kind of deeper conversation at a time or location that does not allow for space to hear each other well. Ask to talk with your parents at a time that works for you both and a location that is conducive for healthy dialogue.
  • Demonstrate your seriousness. It will be important to show them that you are serious about this decision and not just tell them. What does that mean? It means you will need to take a deeper approach to your service at church. Get more involved. Ask to shadow or have coffee with someone on staff at your church. Seek to serve behind the scenes to get a better view of life in ministry. These actions will help show your parents you are serious.
  • Do your homework. Not school homework (although that is encouraged). Rather, do your homework on the very real and healthy questions your parents are going to have about ministry. Questions like, “Can you earn a living at this?”, “How much money does a minister even make?”, “Are there jobs available for your area of interest in ministry?”, “What is required to become a minister?” Good news… We have written an article called, “Help, my child wants to go into ministry” that addresses many of these questions. It could be helpful to share this article with your parents or at the very least familiarize yourself with the information so you can talk intelligently about the real issues.
  • Be at peace with the outcome of the initial conversation. This is key. The ministry decision conversation is hopefully not just a one and done conversation. The ministry conversation with your parents will likely be a series of conversations and this is a good thing. Therefore, you do not have to “win the argument” on the first sit down. Your goal should be to let them have real insight into what you are thinking and how you got there. Don’t be disappointed if you are not greeted with enthusiasm at the outset.
  • Pray. You saw that one coming, didn’t you? But it is absolutely essential to your ministry journey and to communicating with your parents on this issue. Pray for your parents. Bathe the ministry conversation with prayer. Pray for your attitude and wisdom while meeting with your parents.
  • Affirm the importance of your relationship with your parents. Lastly, be sure to tell your parents that you appreciate them and authentically care about their opinion, regardless of the outcome. Express to them your love for them and that you desire to have their support eventually. Maybe this goes as far as leaving them a note after the conversation thanking them for listening and reaffirming your appreciation for them.
  • Wait, what if my parents are unbelievers? Almost everything we’ve said here applies to both believing and unbelieving parents. Most every parent wants what is best for their child. An unbelieving parent may never quite get to the excitement level of your ministry decision that you may want, but many will come around and support you if you can demonstrate that it is really important to you and that you are not being foolish in your approach to your future.