I’ve always thought my dad is the coolest of the cool. He’s rocked a beard for thirty years, expertly mows the lawn in dark socks, can fix anything with a zip-tie, and works the grill like Bobby Flay. He’s also modeled what it means to love Jesus, live generously, and enjoy life. I’m all for celebrating Father’s Day, but if I’m being honest, it usually sneaks up on me. Every year. (more…)
As a father, you have immense influence on the legacy you leave. Thankfully, God doesn’t leave you to figure everything out on your own. Scripture is full of powerful insights into the duties and joys of godly fatherhood.
Here are four Scriptures to equip you for fatherhood:
1 Corinthians 8:6
“Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (ESV).
God has set the ultimate example for what it means to be a father. The more we look to him and learn about him, the better fathers we become.
“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (ESV).
God should be the guide of your life. As Richard Longenecker points out in Patterns of Discipleship in the New Testament “there is thus no disciple without a teacher.” Hand off the proverbial torch and teach your children how to carry it. This is your influence. Likewise, that should be His influence. He should be your teacher, being where you draw your influence from. Just as you are a teacher and guide in your child’s life.
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth” (ESV).
As a father, you have the privilege to disciple your children. Be a good steward of what he has given you. You are a leader in the faith. Bill Hull, author of Jesus Christ, Disciplemaker writes, “Regardless of what I do from now on, my legacy will be disciple making.” Build your legacy by being a disciplemaker.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (ESV).
Dennis Rainey writes in Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood, “Today our nation suffers from a sickness of the soul because our families are weak.” Build your family into a strong, everlasting light for Christ.
It’s not easy to be a good father. In fact, it can be very challenging at times. But the good news for you is you’re not alone. God is the perfect father for all of us, imperfect fathers. As we lean into who he is as a father, we discover what good fatherhood looks like.
“It’s a Herculean task to lead a family, but if you respond to the call of Christ to become the point man, He will buttress you, bolster you, and empower you in His limitless, unfailing strength.” —Steve Farrar, Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family
To have a lasting spiritual impact on your family, you need to be equipped. This Father’s Day, check out resources that will help you be the dad you want to be.
Be the dad they need. Be the dad you want to be.
Some of us have been blessed with tremendous models of what fatherhood was always meant to be: a reflection of our relationship with our Father in heaven.
But what do we say to the people in our churches and our communities who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by the man who was appointed by God to be their earthly provider and protector? Today, more kids than ever live without the man Father’s Day calls them to honor. According to James Merritt, 43 percent of American kids today live in a home without their biological father. For these people, referring to God as a father either forces them to identify their relationship with God with an earthly model they never had (thus, forcing them to reflect on what a father is conceptually supposed to be), or it compares God to someone they’ve been hurt by, and perhaps, someone who has been entirely absent from their life.
Last month, we interviewed John Sowers, founder of The Mentoring Project. Sowers has made it his mission to train mentors to fill the void left by absent fathers. The Mentoring Project equips mentors with the wisdom and resources they need to step into the lives of fatherless youths.
Last year, The Mentoring Project launched a Father’s Day campaign to change the way we approach honoring our dads: “Don’t Buy the Tie.” The idea? Instead of another new razor, a tie, or other “traditional” Father’s Day gifts, The Mentoring Project encourages people to honor their dads by perpetuating a legacy of positive mentors.
See how you can honor your father and give someone the gift of a mentor this Father’s Day:
More kids than ever are left to grow up without fathers—but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a father figure that strives to reflect God’s love for them. When you support “Don’t Buy the Tie,” The Mentoring Project sends your father a special card and a copy of John Sowers’ new book, The Heroic Path: In Search of the Masculine Heart. As you reflect on the ways your dad has shaped you into who you are today, consider giving a Father’s Day gift that reaches further.
You can connect with The Mentoring Project at TheMentoringProject.org, or reach them on Twitter @tmproject. You can also check out John Sowers’ book Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story to learn more about how the absence of fatherhood affects families—get your copy today.
With more than 25 million fatherless youths in America today, this generation has been tragically called the “fatherless generation.” How are we supposed to tackle such a monumental problem? How can we reach out to, love, and disciple this generation?
Recently, I had the privilege of connecting with John Sowers, founder of The Mentoring Project. His heart for loving the “fatherless generation” is incredible. See how this man of God is working hard to bring the love of Jesus to youths across America.
For those who don’t know, can you briefly explain the purpose of The Mentoring Project? Where did the idea come from, and when did you start it?
The purpose of The Mentoring Project is to call and equip the church to respond to the crisis of fatherlessness. Reaching the fatherless generation has been a life-calling to me—it was my story before it became my mission. It’s very personal to me. In 2009, Donald Miller called me to start and lead The Mentoring Project—it was previously know as the Belmont Foundation. So in June 2009, I incorporated it and created the mission and model.
The project seems have really picked up some traction in the last year or two. Why do you think this is?
I think in the past five years the church has begun to examine the issue of fatherlessness. There has been an overall emphasis in service and loving the world, which is great. Still, one of my key roles at The Mentoring Project has been as a herald because it seems people get the international orphan crisis more than they do the local one. For some reason, when we think “mission” we default to another country, when the issue of fatherlessness is in our own neighborhoods or just across the railroad tracks. There is overall traction on the issue of fatherlessness, but still a lot of awakening needs to happen around the idea of “being missional” to the fatherless child right next to us.
The Mentoring Project’s website says there are 25 million fatherless youths in America. What is your grand vision as to how the church will be able to fill this need?
The idea of the church reaching the fatherless generation through incarnational ministry is our goal. To do this, the church needs to adopt a vision for local, community-based mentoring relationships. We want to see the church create sustainable mentoring communities, reaching both single moms and the fatherless kids right in their own context. How many single moms and their children sit quietly in the shadows of our own churches?
What’s one story of mentorship impacting a youth that has touched you personally?
One of my favorite stories has to do with one of our sites in Oklahoma City, where we work with high-risk youth and the Oklahoma City Police Department. At the first of the year, we asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grow up. They all said, “rappers, ball players, and rich.” After six months of mentoring these kids, we asked them the same question again. They said, “police officers and mentors.” Children aspire to be what they see.
Last year, The Mentoring Project ran a cool Father’s Day promotion called “Don’t Buy the Tie.” What was the reason for that campaign? Do you have anything planned for this year?
We loved Don’t Buy the Tie—and we will do it again this year. We feel like Father’s Day is a great space to say, “This Father’s Day, help a child without a dad—give the gift of a mentor.” We are also working simultaneously with the DC guys for My Brothers Keeper, and may be partnering with them for a Father’s Day event. Last year, we were blessed to send mentors and youth to the White House, and two of them met the president.
If someone is interested in getting started as a mentor or wants to partner with The Mentoring Project, how could they get started?
If someone wants to mentor, we have a cool set of tools called the “Mentor Toolkit,” which help people develop a foundation for mentoring. The training includes three videos and they can be watched alone or with a small group. It also has a field guide and some best practice tips. Our Mentor Toolkit is perhaps our best initiative. We’ve seen thousands of people use it in the past four years. We are rereleasing it this July in an updated and expanded version.
Thanks for sharing about the Mentoring Project. You get to have the last word. Go!
One theme that really has my attention is the idea of masculine initiation. We live in a culture with few elders, with no rites of passage or sense of “coming into manhood.” We don’t have a framework for masculine initiation—we don’t even have a language for it.
I started journaling about this idea the night my twin girls were born. I was thrilled but also felt exposed as a man. This is both a cultural and generational phenomenon—a generation of men without place. These journal entries became a book called The Heroic Path: In Search of the Masculine Heart—which comes out May 13.
At the root of most fatherlessness is the issue of fidelity. I believe if men can understand who they are as men and find their identity hidden with Christ in God, the fatherless pipeline will shrink. This is my hope for the book—to be a word for a generation of men who are trying to find the wild masculine, and in a divine sense, claim their mythic ground.
I believe we are all mentoring someone, whether we know it or not. The Mentoring Project is just asking people to be intentional. And if anyone is interested in connecting further, check us out online at TheMentoringProject.org or on Twitter @tmproject.
To learn more from Sowers, check out his book Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story.