Father’s day is coming up real fast and despite what many of us dads let on, it’s an easy day for us to become discouraged—and too often, what happens in our Sunday gatherings doesn’t help. Here are a couple of ways we can encourage dads on Father’s day:
1. Celebrate them.
A few years ago we were part of a church that had a lot of “theme” Sundays. Mother’s Day, Canada Day, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day to my American friends)… you name it, there was a message about it.
But you know what day was always conspicuously missing from the rotation?
I don’t know it was ever intentional (in fact, I’m sure it wasn’t), but as a new dad it really stung that fathers were rarely ever acknowledged as playing an important role in their children’s development.
Hebrews tells us we are to spur one another on to love and good works (Heb. 10:24); a great way to do that with dads is to celebrate what they’re doing. Share the Bible’s positive view of fatherhood and remind men that our role as “Dad” is a way in which we emulate our Father in Heaven.
2. Challenge them.
Celebrating fathers isn’t enough, though. Dads need to be challenged, too.
We know there’s a serious problem culturally with men failing to take responsibility for their families, to be part of their children’s lives at all (whether physically or emotionally). Men who neglect their role as fathers need to be corrected, but chances are, that’s the minority of your congregation on Sunday.
When men who are actively involved in their children’s lives hear a steady stream of “men are crappy fathers who aren’t trying hard enough,” it’s easy to feel condemned. But we ought to remember there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).
Nevertheless, even the best of fathers is a poor imitation of God the Father. So we should celebrate the role of fathers, but dads need to continue to be challenged to press further into the role God has called them to. To, as Paul describes the call to sanctification, “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14).
If you want to see men actively engage in their role as fathers, encourage them and challenge them to keep going by God’s grace.