By Matthew Schultz
Perhaps there is no work more rewarding to men than being a dad. It’s rewarding not only for the dad but also for the child. According to a study conducted by Focus on the Family a few years ago, dads are integral to raising well-adjusted, moral, and empathetic children. Research conducted by the Child & Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas has also shown that children whose dads were actively involved in their upbringing had better outcomes than children whose dads were uninvolved.
But it’s not easy. Long commutes, long hours, and feeling tired at the end of the day—all these things and more can make fathers feel like they are failing their children. Around Father’s Day, you can find several media stories about the struggle working dads face to stay involved in their children’s lives. Any working parent knows how crushing it is when you must miss another game, another practice, or another recital.
The good news is that, as the church, we have a great opportunity at Father’s Day to give dads a little extra love! Father’s Day gives us a chance to let dads know that we understand them and are here for them. So here are three ideas to lift and encourage your dads this Father’s Day.
- Father’s Day Project with the Kids—According to a poll conducted by the data analytics team at YouGov, something that dads greatly desire for Father’s Day is a special experience with their children. What better way to encourage dads then to set up a project for them to do with their kids?
- You could do this on the Saturday before Father’s Day or even the Sunday of Father’s Day. It could be as simple as making a desk picture holder. If you have lots of time, dads and their children could build a birdhouse or do a community service project. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. All you need to do is give the guys a chance to hang out with their kids.
- Father’s Day BBQ Baskets. Let’s face it: most guys love to grill. Everything about it is awesome—the fire, the smell, and the flavor! But it’s more than that—grilling is a chance for dad to hang out in the backyard and just have some fun. So why not give all the dads a DIY barbecue basket on Father’s Day? Send everyone home with a ready-made meal or picnic to encourage the family to spend quality time together on Father’s Day.
- Father’s Day Encouragement Cards. The number one thing fathers want for Father’s Day is a word of encouragement.
- What better way to elevate your church’s dads than to have the congregation write notes of appreciation? It doesn’t have to be anything big, just give a thank-you note to every dad as he walks into worship. You could have other ministries in your church create special notes of encouragement. They don’t need to be personalized. They just need to show that the efforts of the fathers in your congregation are recognized!
Fatherhood is rewarding—but so is recognition and appreciation. This Father’s Day, make sure that your congregation takes the time to say, “Thanks, Dad!”
Matthew Schultz is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Niskayuna, New York, and a former consultant at the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
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