By Jay Sanders
Have you ever noticed how different Father’s Day is from Mother’s Day?
In a lot of churches, Mother’s Day is like a birthday party where every mother is the guest of honor. Mom gets to hear a sermon about how important her job is, and then she gets to walk down front and get a rose. If she happens to be the oldest mother or the one with the most kids, she’ll get two roses and a round of applause.
It’s different for dad. He’s more likely to hear a sermon on how sorry men are along with an exhortation to get his act together.
And he doesn’t get to walk down front to grab a subscription to one of those shaving clubs that sends razors every month. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a pencil with the church’s name on it because the youth minister ordered about 200 too many for last month’s Disciple Now weekend.
Maybe Father’s Day is a good time to think about what dads really need from the church. Clearly, their greatest need is the gospel—but taking the next step into discipleship requires more than just a sermon.
Dads Need Encouragement
There are times when dads need to be corrected. That’s obvious. But what’s less obvious is that dads are often discouraged. They feel like they’re not doing their job well.
The church fails them if all they ever hear is, “Get your act together.”
Dads need to hear how Jesus has taken care of that for them. They need encouragement to walk with Christ as imperfect men in an imperfect world.
Dads Need Friendship
Too many men don’t have friends. Sure, they have buddies from back in the day. But they don’t have other men with whom they can share experiences, trials, and fears.
There’s no better place than the church for a man to find this.
Your church doesn’t need a new program to foster friendship. Knowing what the Bible says about community and how to live that out will do just fine.
I hope my Preacher Card isn’t taken away from me for what I’m about to write, but here it is: The weight room, the garage, and the lake are just as important to the development of godly men as the small group meeting room is.
The weight room, the garage, and the lake are often the places where men talk more freely and develop stronger bonds.
For too long, some leaders have seen these places as enemies of the church. Instead, we should make them supplements to the church.
Dads Need A Mission
Maybe it’s better to say that dads need to be shown they are already on a mission. Leading the family is a God-given mission.
Some dads in the church regularly go on mission trips to build orphanages in faraway countries. This is a good thing and it should be encouraged.
But what about when they get back home? Or what about the dads who can’t go on one of these trips?
Dads need to know that one of the most important mission trips they can take is the one to the kitchen table where they sit down for a meal with their family.
Dads Need Mentors
Young fathers who grew up without a father of their own need spiritual fathers to guide them.
Men who just returned home from Afghanistan need help and encouragement that no one can offer them quite like the godly man who returned home from Vietnam a few decades ago.
The dad who’s thinking about walking away from his family needs loving correction from the older man who’s been there, done that, and has the scars to show how foolish it is.
Father’s Day isn’t an excuse for us to beat up on dads. It’s an opportunity to encourage fathers—something we should do all year, not just one day every summer.
Church leaders who build up dads rather than tearing them down are doing real kingdom work. It’s the kind of work that inspires men to glorify Jesus Christ in everything they do—from the weight room to the kitchen table.
JAY SANDERS (@jaysanders714) is senior pastor of Towaliga Baptist Church in Jackson, Georgia.