Fostering Fatherhood: Goals, Events, and Resources for Your Ministry
By Alison Zeller
Fatherhood is changing and it’s changing in several complex ways. The Pew Research Center reports that 25 percent of fathers live apart from their children. Only 40 percent of these dads call or send e-mails to their children over the course of a week. On the other hand, dads who live with their kids are spending more time caring for the children’s needs, but nearly half of dads realize they still don’t spend enough time with their kids.
In both cases, the fathers are struggling. Premarital sex, affairs, divorce, addictions, 24/7 jobs, poverty, a lack of role models - the list of fatherhood-crushing criteria in our world could go on and on. Consider the fathers in your community - what kind of challenges do they face?
Christian fathers, devoted to God’s Word and devoted to their families, are rare today. And, it’s probably because fatherhood is extremely difficult. But what happens when men are surrounded by a ministry that stands by fathers and teaches them to trust their heavenly Father for guidance? Can you say that your church offers this kind of support to fathers? What would happen if you did? You can start now . . .
3 Goals for Ministering to Fathers
- Fathers will know their heavenly Father
No earthly father can compare to God, but all men can turn to him for guidance and wisdom in fatherhood. God has taught us about grace, mercy, discipline, love, and many other fatherlike qualities in his Word. Most of all, he showed the power of a Father’s sacrifice and forgiveness by sending his Son to be our Savior. Above all else, make sure the fathers in your church know the love of their Father and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
To get started on this goal, hand out a devotion book to every man in worship on Father’s Day (June 18). CTA offers several Bible-based books that will encourage and reaffirm every man’s faith. Look for these themes: Blueprints for Life, Man of God: Renewed for Life, and 5 Meaningful Minutes for Dads. You may even consider starting a father’s Bible study class or sermon series based on the devotions in these books.
- Fathers will have opportunities to spend time with their children
This goal could play out in a variety of ways:
- For fathers volunteering and serving in your ministry, be careful that it’s not at the expense of family time.
- Offer support for fathers who do not live with their children. Put them in touch with other fathers in the same situation. Compile Christian resources to help these fathers make the most of the time they do spend with their children. Encourage fathers to bring their children to worship, Sunday school, and church events whenever they can.
- Consider integrating your Sunday school classes. Once or twice each month, invite fathers to attend their children’s class. Or, if children usually stay in the church nursery during worship, invite them to sit with their fathers on occasion.
- Create events specifically designed for fathers and their children. Your church can invite dads to build birdhouses with their kids, go fishing together, go out for a game of miniature golf, or spend a day at the pool together. End the event with a FREE kids’ devotion from CTA’s Resource & Idea Center.
- Your church will provide respite for fathers
When fathers need help, your church can be number one on their list. You have treasure to offer. Jesus can heal broken relationships and forgive wrongs. Offer counseling through your pastors or care-ministry programs. Start small-group gatherings so that dads can get together and support one another in a social, no-pressure-to-be-perfect kind of way. Host a Saturday morning prayer breakfast for dads. Organize a men’s retreat to give dads some time away from home and teach them the skills they need to approach real-life fatherhood.
CTA wants to help your ministry encourage and equip Christian fathers. Visit www.ctainc.com to see several resources for men’s ministry programs - devotion books, Father’s Day gifts, outreach materials, and much more! Place your order online or call 800-999-1874 to complete your order with a customer service representative.
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