If you opened up social media over the weekend, you probably saw Steve Hartman’s story for CBS on the group of Lousiana fathers called Dad’s on Duty. After a series of fights at a local public high school, this group of dads showed up and brought the school to order by simply giving the school the gift of their presence—stern looks, dad jokes, and all! If you haven’t yet seen the story, it’s worth a watch. You might shed a tear.
Why do stories of fatherhood stir such emotion in us? We find a clue in Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14–15. There the apostle declares, “I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Paul here highlights the fact that the Greek word for family (patria) is derived from the word for father (patros), but he’s not just using a pun. He’s telling us a big truth about family life and fatherhood.
We don’t address God as Father, because he is like a dad. No, what it means to be a father derives from him. He was Father before any earthly dad. So, if we want to learn about true fatherhood, we must look to him. He shows us what it means to be consistently just (more than stern looks) and yet always merciful and gracious (abundant laughter). Our heavenly Father rejoices over his children with gladness; he quiets us with his love and rejoices over us with singing (Zeph. 3:17). He is the one whom we ask for daily provision (Matt. 6:9–11). And he is the one who is faithful to forgive even when we’re faithless in our fatherhood. (1 John 1:9)
If you are a dad, rejoice that God has made you reflect the heavenly Father today. And if you’re not a dad, find a dad—either your own or a spiritual father in your life—and thank them for giving you a small glimpse of what the Father is like.
Gospel-Centered Family’s mission is to help parents and church leaders share Jesus with the next generation. Below you’ll see how to subscribe to our new family worship podcast, Press Pause, and you find information about our upcoming cohorts as well as our weekly links. If you’re enjoying the newsletter, you may also like this article I wrote for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission on three opportunities public education offers for Christian families.
If you ever want to ask a question or give us feedback, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you’re loving the newsletter, please forward it to your friends.
Thanks again for subscribing and reading!
Press Pause is our new less-than-10-minute family worship podcast that gives you a chance to engage with and get to know your kids while learning a new big truth about God each week. Never done any discipleship work with your kids before? No problem. Grab a Bible and fire up an episode while you’re with your kids at breakfast, bedtime, on the way to practice, or waiting in a carpool line. Already a family discipleship pro? Awesome! Then this pod can be a chance to mix things up once a week and offer a change of pace to the rhythms you’ve already got in place. Episode 1 is live tomorrow morning. You can subscribe to Press Pause on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify now so that you’ll be ready when it posts.
There’s nothing like doing ministry to expose our anxiety and weaknesses. We feel it on those days when the stalled check-in computer or the missing medical release forms stress us out. But in the midst of our weakness, there’s great glory in knowing and sharing Jesus with the next generation. One of the most helpful ways to keep your leadership and ministry centered on and—more importantly—shaped by the gospel is to get help through coaching. If you’re looking to improve your personal leadership health as well as your ministry capacity, check out our new cohorts which kick off in January.
This Week’s Links
Here’s our list of blog posts we’ve found helpful:
Sarah Rainer writes at the ERLC with 6 tools that can help if your son or daughter is struggling with a mental health issue.
The Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) had a post on anxiety. The past year and a half have been hard on us all. This post gives three helpful suggestions on how to deal with anxiety. It ends this way, “Your calm demeanor, as your heart waits on the Lord to do the work he’s already doing, can be both a gift and a witness to them.”
Ministry Spark had a video by Michelle Anthony on recruitment. She says that recruitment should be viewed as replication because that’s a discipleship model. It’s one thing to teach adults to teach kids information; it’s another thing to replicate the ability to teach kids toward transformation.
Children’s ministries don’t just need warm bodies. They need warm people. Here’s an article that can help. Ronnie Martin writes at TGC on how to train the whole church in hospitality.
What have you been reading online lately? Send us a note and let us know.