The Vison for The Fatherhood CoMission — The REAL Impact of the Movie, COURAGEOUS

This past November, The Fatherhood CoMission hosted over 50 key fathering leaders from across the U.S. to pray, learn, laugh and build collaborative relationships in order to champion the cause of fatherhood TOGETHER with one heart and one voice.

On Thursday night (Nov. 29,2012) Stephen Kendrick, FCM board member, presented an update on God’s faithfulness regarding the film, Courageous, over the past year.

courageousbannerStephen began his session recounting how he came to be part of the Fatherhood CoMission leadership and vision. He and a few others had caught the vision of what FCM could accomplish- to create a collaboration platform where Christian organizations and leaders passionate about fatherhood could come together in the spirit of unity and champion the cause of fatherhood together.

How Will We Fund This New Venture?

After Stephen came on our board, one of the big issues facing us was how do we fund this cause and organization that doesn’t exist? Stephen mentioned an idea that Courageous was being submitted to the San Antonio film festival, and if it won, the $101,000 prize might could be used to launch the Fatherhood Comission. But there were about 7 different hurdles that had to be overcome including the fact there were over 300 other submissions and that if Courageous won, all the parties and organizations benefitting had to agree to give up their portion of the winnings. The possibility didn’t seem likely in human terms.  But, Stephen and I prayed, “God if you are in this, make it happen.”  Guess what? Every hurdle was broken down. The movie qualified, won the festival, everyone cooperated, and God provided the money to start the Fatherhood CoMission. This past year the organization was formed, web and social media presence built out, national leaders’ summit planned and executed and that’s just the beginning. God is giving us the ideas and strategy to make a bigger impact together in 2013.

The REAL Impact of COURAGEOUS on Men and Families Around the World

During the Leaders’ Summit presentation this past November, Stephen went on to detail testimony after testimony of how God blessed the movie Courageous and has been using it to help bring the hearts of fathers back to their children not only in America but around the world.

“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Mal 4:6, ESV)

Here are a few highlights of what God has done and continues to do through Courageous.

  • Courageous was the number 4 movie in the nation when it released theatrically.
  • Over 4 million people went to theaters to see Courageous.
  • Courageous remained in theaters over 17 weeks.
  • It was released in theaters in over 20 countries.
  • It was the number one DVD in the US the week is was released to the market.
  • The Courageous DVD was released in over 75 countries.
  • Some of the proceeds Sherwood’s movies are being used to establish missionaries where there are none like among the Dutch speaking people in Germany and buying motor scooters so pastors in Sudan can share the Gospel throughout the barren region. Over 100 new churches have been established this past year as a result.
  • Courageous was translated into one of the dialects of the Philippine language. Over 1,000 police officers came to Christ in the Philippines as a result.
  • In Ecuador, key government leaders and thousands of Police Officers saw the movie and many believe this could have an impact on turning corruption around in that country.
  • In Malawi Africa, Courageous was shown by a local missionary in various villages. 100’s of men came to know Christ, gave up drinking their daily wages away, rededicated themselves to their families and have been holding resolution ceremonies in their cities.

Tumbuka Tribesman with their signed Resolutions

  • In Afghanistan, soldiers saw the movie and rededicated themselves to their spouses and children. Many marriages have been saved and fathers returned to their homes.

The REAL Power Behind the Success of COURAGEOUS

Throughout the presentation Stephen reiterated that Courageous was God’s thing, and no one could take credit for it. They prayed for over a year about what the next Sherwood film would be about. God gave them the story behind Courageous. Even during filming and production, they began each day with prayer asking God to guide and bless each scene. They prayed for the right actors, God gave them strong believers who could produce professional performances. They prayed for a scene that would make the audience laugh after a deeply emotional scene. God gave them the “Snake King” idea (by far one of the most popular scenes in the movie). Every aspect of this film was given over and dedicated to God and the Lord ordered their steps and blessed their efforts. (Proverbs 16:3)

It’s still bringing people to Christ and leading men back to their families. Resolution ceremonies are still being conducted all over the world. Men are stepping up to the plate and being the courageous leaders of their homes that God has called them to be. Sherwood Baptist and the Kendrick’s freely give all the glory to God for what is happening.

Keeping the Light From COURAGEOUS Shining – The Fatherhood CoMission

And now through the Fatherhood CoMission, fathering leaders are coming together from over 30 organizations asking God to take the foundation that Courageous has laid and allow them to build upon it and keep the winds blowing in the sails of this incredible movement. Egos and logos are being laid to the side and God’s leaders are coming together asking Him once again, “how can we, together, continue to champion strong fatherhood in the world?”

Join Our Team to Champion Fatherhood!

Will you join us in rejoicing with what the Father has and continues to do through Courageous and now through the Fatherhood CoMission? Will you pray with us as we begin our 2013 plans to help churches and communities encourage and equip men to be strong fathers? Will you consider helping us financially in 2013 to champion fatherhood in our nation?

As we continue to serve together, we believe that that dads will respond to the call and step up to the plate. Dads will recommit to their wives and children, they will start spending time with their children, they will lead their families spiritually. The result? Stronger churches, communities, states, countries. Less crime, less addiction, less incarcerations. Better schools, safer neighborhoods. More families coming to Christ and more families Courageously raising future generations for the glory of God.

*Click here for more information about the Fatherhood CoMission or to support our cause.

Together we can make 2013 the Year of the Father!

 

 

10 Warning signs that you might be losing the heart of your children (from The Resolution for Men)

This is the 3rd of 4 posts by Stephen Kendrick, taken as an excerpt of Chapter 7 of The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

FATHERS LOSING THE HEART OF THEIR CHILDREN

losing the heart of your childA quote from a young woman’s blog,

“I wish my inner child would find my inner dad and tell him everything I never had the courage to. And then, I wish she would turn around and walk away for ever, and never look back.”

Fathers are notorious for doing things that anger their children and lose their hearts. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Before telling us to train and instruct our children, we are warned not to frustrate or embitter them. Why?

If we are losing the heart of our children, we are losing everything. They simply won’t listen to us. This is so important that if it is not heeded, fathering will fail.

Intimacy is tied to feeling emotionally safe around someone. If your kids get angry with you and you don’t resolve it, then their hearts will close off to you and become bitter. Then the devil will begin to fill their minds with accusations against you. He will develop a “List of Crimes” in their minds of wrongs you have committed and then use this list to help them justify rebellion against you.

So when your children get angry with you, then you need to stop what you are doing, get engaged, and help them to deal with that anger until it is gone. You cannot live in denial and keep putting up barriers that choke out your ability to influence them for good.

Here is a list of 10 things that fathers do to anger and lose the hearts of their children. Seriously consider them and see if any of these are present in your relationship with your child as you examine if you are losing the heart of your children. Work hard to eliminate the following “heart hindrances” that will push them away:

  1. Your Absence.  Whether a man abandons his kids all at once or is never home because he’s always working, he still leaves them as sheep without a shepherd. This sends the signal to your kids, “You’re not important enough for me to prioritize you, spend time with you, or really care about what’s going on in your life.”
  2. Your Anger.  Psalm 27:4 says that wrath is cruel. When you react in anger, you can thoughtlessly say or do things in the heat of the moment that deeply wound your children’s spirits long-term, which can cause them to withdraw from you. Love is slow to anger. But if you blow your top, then humble yourself and quickly apologize. Too much is at stake!
  3. Unjust discipline.   Children can sour if they feel discipline is unjustified or administered unfairly. Parents must explain rules and consequences clearly using God’s Word and authority rather than their opinion. (Ephesians 6:1-3) As you discipline, as yourself, “How can I train them without losing their heart?”
  4. Harsh criticism.   Dads can sometimes be unnecessarily hard on their kids. What seems like a small chisel of criticism to you can feel like a crushing hammer to them. Never call your children names or embarrass them in public. Don’t be sarcastic or belittling. Kids who have no freedom to fail will tend to rebel when given any freedom at all.
  5. Lack of Compassion.   Mercy warms hearts. Carelessness distances them. Children can get worked up about temporary, pressing matters—school, friends, feelings, competitions. We must provide a listening ear, wise counsel, prayerful support, and a willing hand. Rescuing your kids during times of panic makes you their hero!  Help them think of you as an oasis they can run to, not a dry desert that offers no relief.
  6. Favoritism.  Less favored children become resentful. Favoritism and jealousy led Rachel and Leah to fight and Joseph’s brothers to hate him. You may not feel like you play favorites—but perception is reality to your children if they think you do. Every one of your children should feel like you have no favorites, but if you did, it would probably be them because of your great love for them. (see this post about a guy who openly shared one of his children was his favorite)
  7. Hypocrisy.  No one is perfect, but preaching one thing while doing another, breaking promises, and refusing to apologize will kill trust between you and your children. When they identify hypocrisy in you, be quick to repent, turning from your sin and seeking God’s forgiveness along with your family’s.
  8. Hurting their Mother.  Whether through divorce, adultery, or mistreatment, children feel confused and betrayed when their father hurts their mother. They will tend to take up offense for the woman who loves them. Since they are commanded by God to honor their mother, you need to defend her not attack her. If you teach them to dishonor her, they will eventually dishonor you.
  9. Misunderstanding.  Rebellion is often tied to kids feeling misunderstood and not listened to by their parents. When children open up, parents need to listen carefully and then communicate back what they have heard to the child before sharing their own opinions or disagreeing with them. If a matter is important to them, it should be to you. Tune in.
  10. Unrealistic expectations.  Children will become quickly discouraged if they believe their parents have set them up to fail. Avoid comparing their weaknesses with another child’s strengths or expecting them to act as mature as you. If your child believes he can’t please you, he’ll eventually quit trying.

Let these ten warnings signs help you to avoid future pitfalls and also motivate changes that will draw your children back into your arms. As a father, you must keep your radar up to sense if you have your children’s hearts. Periodically ask them things like…

Have I ever wounded you and not made it right?

Have I said one thing and done another?

Have I made promises and not kept them?

Is there anything that you are angry with me about?

Is there anything you are not telling me because you are afraid of how I might respond?

Your kids may be able to present you a “list of crimes” that have wronged or angered them. Be ready to write, work through them, and apologize so you can let the healing begin.

One man was sitting with his family at a father-daughter banquet held by their church. Someone at the table asked one of the girls what her father had done that made the biggest impression on her. She said, “I remember one time when Dad was harsh with me. Then a few minutes later he came back into my room, and he cried and asked my forgiveness. I’ve never forgotten that.”

God can graciously redeem our many failures for good, provided we recognize those failures and confess them. Too many men foolishly refuse to apologize because they’re trying to save face and don’t want to look bad. But their pride is only making matters worse. Dads who admit their shortcomings don’t lose their children’s trust. They gain it.

To be continued…

 

This article is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of the book The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough Published by B&H Publishing Group, Copyright 2011 Now Available Where Books are Sold

FATHERS LEADING HEART TO HEART by Stephen Kendrick

This is the 2nd of an excerpt from Chapter 7 of The Resolution for Men by Alex and Stephen Kendrick

kids leaving faithFATHERS LEADING HEART TO HEART

One of the most important ingredients for successful parenting is having your children’s hearts. Research shows that Christians are theologically losing the next generation. More than 90% of born-again kids today are rejecting the absolute truth their parents embrace. Respected apologist Josh McDowell explains it this way: “You can be the greatest explainer of truth. But if the very heart of your son or daughter does not believe ‘my daddy loves me,’ they will walk away from your truth.”

People tend to embrace the teaching and beliefs of those who love them the most. And your children are no different. They are much more likely to accept the truth you teach if you deliver it to them within a loving, heart-to-heart relationship. Whoever has their heart has their ear.

This sheds light on why God ended the Old Testament with the need to “restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). When this doesn’t happen, fathers invite the “curse” of broken relationships into their homes (verse 6). Truth will be forsaken. So the success of Christian families truly depends on parents learning to shepherd the hearts of their children.

One of the greatest challenges to any father is knowing how to properly wield his authority— how to be a gracious servant-leader rather than a demanding tyrant. Some fathers are content with outward obedience only. The heart doesn’t really matter. They just want their kids to behave. But children in that situation will jump at the chance to disobey when their dad isn’t around. They’ll go elsewhere to find their affirmation—from the wrong people in the wrong places.

You can tell when a father doesn’t have his kids’ hearts. You sense the disrespect and anger, the bitterness and emotional distance. The kids don’t want to be around him. They no longer listen to him. But children who trust their dad’s counsel and leadership are those whose fathers have been proactive in winning their hearts. “Give me your heart, my son,” Solomon said to his own child, “and let your eyes delight in my ways” (Proverbs 23:26).

One pastor wisely explained it like this:

 “The key ingredient in raising good children is to get their hearts early, keep their hearts, and be extremely vigilant not to lose your children’s hearts. If you do lose your child’s heart, then quickly find out where and when you lost it, and put into action a plan to get their heart back no matter what it takes to do it. No matter how much time or trouble or money it takes to get back your child’s heart, you must decide ahead of time that you will be willing to pay the price.” – Dr. S.M. Davis

You know how to do this if you’ve ever dated or courted someone. You can tell if their heart is with you or not. You know when something is not right, when the connection between you is strained. If this is a relationship you really want to pursue, you’ll talk as long as they want, go the extra mile, fulfill any promise, do whatever it takes to make sure you have her heart and she know she has yours.

Why should your relationship with your children be any different?

Jesus was so loyal to His heavenly Father that He was able to say, “Whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). And here’s why: “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing” (verse 20). The Father knew the heart of His Son, and the Son entrusted His heart to the Father.

How well do you have your children’s hearts?

How sure are your children that they have yours?

 

This article is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of the book The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough Published by B&H Publishing Group, Copyright 2011 Now Available Where Books are Sold

Dad, Are You Tempted Today to Think You Don’t Matter?

Guest post by Leon Wirth, Sitting member of the Fatherhood CoMission Board and Executive Director with Focus on the Family

It’s natural for us to struggle with this question.

Sometimes we really do wonder…we wonder as dads if what we do really makes a difference in our family’s life.  Do dads matter?  What if I wasn’t there?  Would they miss me?  Do they really need me?  Don’t they get most of what they need from their mom, the church, their teachers and coaches and friends?

The temptation comes because we feel discouraged, questioning whether or not we matter at work, at home and elsewhere.  It comes when we wonder what it would like to be “free” from our family, without the daily grind that comes with family responsibilities.  It comes when we’re tempted by the enemy to fantasize about starting a new life, a “mulligan” of sorts.

However and whenever you are tempted to think you don’t matter, whatever the reason, I challenge you to “perish the thought.”  Think about the importance of your dad, present or not, in making you who you are.  Look at the many examples in Scripture of reasons that dads are important and dads matter (and the Heavenly Father most of all).

Dads matter…an example

But if you need a practical example to encourage and inspire you, if it helps (and it sure does me), I urge you watch the following video, or find your favorite similar such video, and bookmark it to watch it from time to time.

Because few videos capture the importance of a dad in a family’s life, without any words needed, then a video that shows the homecoming of a military dad.

Wow.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not ashamed to admit these scenes bring tears to my eyes every time.

Look at the joy.  The relief.  The desire to be in each other’s arms.  Notice how the kids drop whatever they’re doing?  Do you think there is anything more important than being in their dad’s arms at that moment?  Do you think they’re thinking about sports, relationship problems, money, video games, homework, or what anyone else around them is thinking?

Dads can stir courage into their kids

The courage of the kids, in a way, is remarkable.  They seemingly could care less about anyone else.  Everything else seems to melt away as they rush to their fathers.  Do you think they care what their peers think about them?  Not a chance.

Dads can stir the courage and hearts of their kids in powerful ways.

In fact, study after study actually shows that the impact of a dad is powerful.  Dad’s positively impact a child’s social, academic, relational, emotional and spiritual health.  Some studies even show the impact of a dad is greater than the impact of a mom in certain aspects of a child’s life.  That’s not to say dads are better, but it is to say that dads certainly matter.
Yes.  It’s true.  Dads really do matter.

Maybe that’s what these kids in the videos know better than we do as dads sometimes.

Those families are not perfect any more than yours or mine are perfect.  They have problems.  The dads eventually will get crossed up with the kids over something, just like you and I do with our kids.  But at the moment of that reunion the message is simple:  Dad, I’m so glad you’re here, you’re home.

The first question this raises for me is about my relationship with God.  Do I enjoy my time with God like these kids do who are reunited with their dads?  Do I run into His arms to tell Him I love Him?  Do I accept His love in return as these kids so eagerly do?

The second question is for me as a dad in my family:  Do I do everything I can in my time with my family that they’ll look forward like that to my coming home?

Sometimes I travel for work.  And I love coming home and hearing “Daddy’s home!”  But how I leave, and how I come home…where my head and heart and attitude are…can either help or hurt that “re-entry.”

But even on regular days, wouldn’t it be great if my kids and wife were like those families in the video, wanting my presence and longing for my hugs and words of love? Again, how I leave home and how I come home either helps or hurts my return.

The bottom line is this:  I want to live in such a way that I’m missed, that my return home is exciting, that my presence is meaningful.

Yeah, when I watch those videos, I want to be THAT DAD, like one of our great military servicemen, who gets that kind of reception.

__________________________________________________

Leon C. Wirth is a Christian speaker, husband and father. He serves as Executive Director of Parenting and Youth at Focus on the Family and host of the Dad Matters podcast with Dr. Greg Smalley. He is the co-author of the book The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions. Leon lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Michelle, and their daughters.

Welcome to the Fatherhood CoMission Blog

by Mitch Temple, Executive Director

According to a 2009 study by the National Center for Fathering titled “Fathering in America,” 7 out of 10 people surveyed agree that the physical absence of fathers from the home is the most significant family or social problem facing America, and only half give most fathers credit for knowing what is going on in their children’s lives. There’s a serious problem in our country around fathers not being active in the lives of their children.

To help address this, The Fatherhood CoMission was birthed.  The Fatherhood CoMission is a group of leaders coming together to champion fatherhood by inspiring other leaders and influencers to support fatherhood both inside and outside the Church through clear, compelling evidence of God’s design for dads as noble difference makers in their families and the world. Very simply put: we want to be a courageous advocate for fathers nationwide. We want to shout from the rooftops that dads are important and churches and communities need their complete support.

After the opening of the Sherwood Pictures film, Courageous, in September 2011, several national partners of the film collaborated with Focus on the Family on how to practically strengthen fathers to be the leaders God intended them to be. In a culture where families are falling apart because of absent fathers, each ministry was motivated to bring its resources and leadership together under one movement to equip fathers to lead.

By bringing together leaders from the nation’s top ministry organizations we wish to collaborate on the issue of fatherhood and in turn become a united champion of fatherhood to the church and beyond. Here’s the men I am privileged to work with to tackle this issue together.

We ask for your prayers and support. Go to our website, look around. Read the articles and watch the videos. Like us on FB and share. Tell your pastor and others leaders about what we are doing. Join us in doing what you can in your home town to encourage and empower dad’s to be the kind of dad’s God wants and every child needs.