START ONE ASAP!
For many, many years I did something in my church that few other churches and leaders I knew, ever did. I started a once-a-month Dads workshop, where I personally taught fathers all the things you have read in these previous 145 articles. Whenever I had the chance I urged others pastors to do the same, but most often it fell on deaf ears.
Instead, most churches initiated men’s ministries. I believe this was and is a strategic mistake. Why? Because the most important roles you will ever have in your life are as a father and husband, and obviously, those two vital roles overlap. The most critical issue for the future of Christianity in the world, is fathers winning and discipling their own children to Jesus Christ and teaching them to walk in God’s ways. But the truth of the matter is most Dads do not know or understand how to do this, and as the thoroughly researched data proves, most Christian dads are failing at this. Many grew up in homes without a dad present, or with an emotionally distant father. Very, very few men grew up with a passionate, devoted Christian father. In addition, most men are incredibly passive and need someone to light a fire in their soul, to envision them, and help keep it burning strong. They get discouraged, distracted, and lose their focus.
Very few men have ever seen or experienced a godly, effective father who is successfully raising children. Children who truly love the Lord and are authentic in their faith.
The other significant, strategic, motivating factor is this: To most Christian men nothing is more important to them than their kids and their family. They have an instinctive, deep love for their children. Every day in their home, they wake up in a real-world situation where they are tested in real-time, they have real responsibilities, real steps of actions that can and must be taken, or they will lose their children to this world. These dads desperately need help. They need wisdom, guidance, wise instructions that are actually effective, practical, useful, and work in real life. They need to know how to relationally connect with their children. They need encouragement, as they often feel very alone and marginalized in today’s culture. They also need to know how to lead their families and their wives!
I look back now on my many years of pastoring and here is my observation. The men who came to my dad’s workshops over the many years I did them have stayed the strongest for Christ, stayed on task the most, and many are seeing tremendous fruit in their children’s lives.
I never took my eye off this ball in ministry, I never stopped my laser-like focus on building fathers in their faith and challenging them, inspiring them, envisioning them, discipling them, training them, and passing on the insights, wisdom, and practical applications God gave to me, to use on their very own children and in their marriages.
In all humility, these Thoughts Provoking articles contain tremendous wisdom, encouragement, and insights for raising your children and building a godly marriage. In fact, they are quite unique. I want to urge you men to start your own Strong Disciple Dads workshop once a month in your own church. Then do this: Use all these articles as your teaching, training, and discussion material. Start with Edition 1- Wake Up Fathers! Have your men read them before they come, then discuss them, interact with them and make vital use of this tremendous resource. This long-term investment in your fathers and in the families of your church will reap tremendous fruit and help shape the next generation of Christ lovers.
I truly believe this is the best thing you men could do for your church.
Let me know any way I can help you or advise you. You can use your garage, or someone’s barn or your home to hold this monthly morning meeting. For years we used a community center room that a man in my church had access to. We met once a month on a Saturday morning, at 8 am, usually for 90 minutes, Sept.-May of each year. Keep them going for years to come, as it takes many, many years to raise a child.
Men, take some initiative. Don’t get bogged down trying to get your whole church to embrace this if you are met with resistance, or get frustrated if every father won’t attend. Simply invite a few dads you know to meet at your house once a month, and start your own Strong Disciple dads workshop, and simply go through all these articles that are already laid out, prepared material for you to use! In addition, there is a link in almost every article to very important life-changing messages related to the topic of the articles. Encourage your men to listen to them. You will not regret it, it will reap tremendous fruit.
All the Thoughts Provoking articles are located on this site along with all the messages.
Here is an example of the impact these articles can have. It was sent to me last week from a dad on the southern coast:
Reading Edition 23, Nurture Your Child’s Heart and Soul yesterday, really brought me to my knees. I have been falling short here, particularly with my oldest, my only son. I can be hard on him and demanding on his achievements. Your article allowed me to objectively re-center and repent. I spoke to him yesterday of how proud I am of him and how much I love him. Seeking forgiveness where I fall short. Thank you Pastor Mark.”
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling