At the Corner of Fatherhood and Leadership – the 2012 Fatherhood Summit

Fatherhood CoMission Leadership summitLater today more than 50 influencers in the church and men’s ministries will convene for one reason…to come together in unity around making Godly fatherhood a reality in every home across the nation.  The statistics tell the story of how fatherlessness has ravaged our families over the past 50 years.  This isn’t to place all the blame on men and fathers.  There are a number of reasons that this is a present day reality.  But, men do have to take responsibility for abdicating many of their responsibilities as dads and husbands and the resulting impact it has had in our culture.  The past is the past.  It’s what we do now that matters.

In 2010, Sherwood Pictures (an outreach of Sherwood Church in Albany, GA) released the fourth film in their remarkable string of increasingly popular faith based films.  What began as a small local project (Flywheel) became an eye-popping unsuspected success (Facing the Giants), then grew to a movie that caught the attention of Hollywood because of it’s theatrical numbers and its key theme of having a Godly marriage (Fireproof), and recently created national attention again as it turned out millions to the theaters while dealing with one of our nations more difficult issues to address—fatherlessness (Courageous).   Sherwood is ultimately much more interested in God being glorified through their work than the worldly success of their movies.  But, the more success a movie has in numbers, the more people who are exposed to the power of the movie’s message.  As much as Sherwood Pictures wants to influence culture for good beyond the movie’s theatrical and DVD releases, at the end of the day, Sherwood Pictures makes movies.  Once the movies message is out, who is there to champion it?

That’s where the Fatherhood CoMission comes in.  This team was formed to help champion Godly fatherhood as was exemplified in the movie, Courageous.  Influential ministries came together to determine how they could help churches and ministries continue to keep fatherhood at the forefront of the cultural discussion while providing guidance, information and encouragement inside and outside of the Church.  The idea for the CoMission was started before Courageous was in theaters but finally formed earlier this year.  And, starting tonight, the Fatherhood CoMission team and 50 other influential leaders in the Church and men’s ministries are convening for a two day summit to pray, collaborate, ideate and strategize on how to best champion Godly fatherhood in our nation.

Here are just a few of the questions they will discuss with the goal of generating some discussion and ultimately practical takeaway plans to pursue at the end of the Summit:

  • What could we (the leadership summit) do in the next 5 yrs to make the biggest impact on fatherhood in our nation?
  • How can we set up the next generation of fathers for success?
  • How can we influence media to show what strong fatherhood looks like and the impact it really has when it’s lived out in the home?
  • What are the biggest threats and enemies to fatherhood that must be confronted?
  • What resources need to be developed that don’t exist?

There will be many others but that gives you an indication about what will happen beginning tonight and going through breakfast on Friday.  Please pray for this summit, these leaders and their organizations and the subsequent plan that can be developed and carried out to help dads around the nation and globe be better dads.  Here are a few prayer requests that we ask you to spend a few minutes praying, if you would:

  • Pray for unity among the different organizations and the prayer of Jesus to God for unity in believers would be a reality.
  • That all agendas would be put aside except those God wants to move forward.
  • Movement in the hearts of men and churches across the nation to move this issue further up on their radar and the impact it would then have on changing homes in communities all over the U. S.
  • Next step clarity
  • Safe travel to and from this event.
  • The right people would be at the event and the ideas that need to be generated are allowed to germinate and grow.
  • A time of refreshment for these leaders who are engaged in so many activities that make leaving their work difficult.  No anxiety for what is left behind and focus on what is at hand for the two plus days.
  • Families of those involved.  Spiritual warfare is real and if there’s a barrier to positively impacting Godly families it’s when good families fall apart and the enemy raises that up as why efforts like these are futile.  God will not be mocked and what God raises up, let not man tear apart.

Thank you for your prayers and support of this event and of the Fatherhood CoMission as it moves forward over the next few years and champions Godly fathering in our nation.  One day it’s charter will be completed and it will disband, hoping and praying that “feet on the street” ministries and churches keep the momentum going.  Pray for this organization that God is raising up for such a time as this!

 

Family Activities That Build Your Home | Stephen Kendrick – Part 2

This is the 2nd of 2 posts by guest blogger, Stephen Kendrick.  Stephen and his brother Alex have created 4 theatrically released movies including Fireproof and Courageous and have co-authored a New York Times Best Seller, The Love Dare (as seen in Fireproof).

Yesterday, Stephen shared the “Why” of the importance of fathers making time for our children.  Today, he shares the “How”.

A New Day and a New Opportunity

I want to challenge you today to throw on the brakes and start spending more “heart to heart” time with your kids. My wife and I are personally going on a journey to win, keep and mentor the hearts of our children Grant, Cohen, Karis, and John. We want to obey our Lord and desperately long for our children to hear and embrace God’s truth. But they won’t, unless we plant it in the soil of hearts that are bound to ours in a loving relationship. Will you join the adventure? You might be saying, “That sounds great. Maybe I’ll start that tomorrow.” Well as Grant, who is ten now can say, “It already is tomorrow”.  Here are some ideas for family activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, indoor and outdoor activities with your children.

How to Capture Time with your Kids:

ROUTINE FAMILY ACTIVITIES:

Establish Daily Interactive Habits.

Read Deuteronomy 6:7 and observe the four family activities that are in everyone’s routine. Capture those four conversation opportunities each day with your kids.

  • Morning hugs & Breakfast laughs.
  • Car catch me ups.
  • TV-less dinners.
  • Bedtime Tales. Tuck me in prayers.

They all really add up to years full of unregrettable moments.

Invite Tonto to Tag Along.

 Try to include your kids in what you are already doing.

  • My 8 year old Cohen helps me take out the trash every week.
  • Grant joins me for home improvement projects. My Home Depot runs include helpers that get M&M’s at the register.
  • Don’t leave them behind. Develop in them an appetite that longs to tag along with you.

Make Tickling Mandatory.

If laughter is the best medicine, then tickling is the wise doctor’s prescription. Take time to enjoy laughing with your children. My wife and I take turns holding down our kids while the other gets them with tummy tickles. This is an added free perk of parenting that comes with the membership card.

Declare War on the TV.

Would you like lots of extra free time every day? Duck tape down the Off button on your remote. It’s revolutionary. The average American watches 5 hours of television or internet media a day. That’s the equivalent to non-stop viewing 24 hours a day for two months straight – every year. That time is usually non-interactive for families too. So that’s where that wasted time was hiding! I dare you to turn it off and enjoy your family.  FamilyLife has challenged families to observe TV fasts for a number of years, often mentioning it on their FamilyLife Today radio program.  Maybe, you can declare the next 30 days as a TV/Media fast?

SPECIAL FAMILY ACTIVITIES:

Kidnap your Kids.

Each kid needs private one on ones with each parent. Spontaneously showing up where your son or daughter is and stealing them away for lunch is a great bonding activity. Kids never forget such surprises! Talk to their teacher about schedule breaks and kidnap them from school twice a year. A day fishing with dad or shopping with mom while everyone is still in school is unbelievably cool to kids. Don’t you wish your parents had done that for you?

Go Camping.

Research shows that families that camp together closely bond together. It is one of those unpredictable family activities that breeds good healthy catastrophe and misadventures into life. Camping ironically forces families to work together and ultimately develop their own hilarious stories that they share later on. Buy a tent and find a state park. Learning how to camp is half the fun.

Give Grace Gifts.

It’s healthy to teach your kids to be good and work hard in order to earn some type of reward. But they should also learn that grace gives things that are unearned and undeserved. Buying your kids surprises occasionally for NO REASON can be a fun way to teach them about grace. “Just because I love you!” is a powerful declaration that hits them right in the heart.

So, Dad, which one of these can you do TODAY?  As James says, our life is but a mist and we don’t know if we’ll have tomorrow.  If these last two posts have made you lament the time you haven’t spent with your kids today is the day to put the stake in the ground.  Make the next right step and do something, anything that will move you closer to your children.  And, for you that have already watched your kids come and go, modify this to make a covenant today to get back in touch, stay in contact more regularly or continuing to invest your time as a dad into their lives.  You’ll never outgrow being a dad.

Savoring Your Kids While You Can – Stephen Kendrick

Following is a guest post by Stephen Kendrick.  Stephen and his brother Alex are the creators of the movies out of Sherwood Pictures (a ministry of Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia), most recently Fireproof and last years great film about the impact of fatherhood on families and our culture, Courageous.  Stephen is also co-author of the New York Times Best Selling book, The Love Dare.  This is part 1 of 2.

Today, Stephen shares some personal stories about engaging with his children and shares a biblical foundation for dads making time for their children.  Tomorrow, we’ll share some of Stephen’s recommendations about HOW to better engage with your children and will stir your thoughts

Guest Author: Stephen Kendrick

When my son Grant was born, an older friend came by and visited us in the delivery room.  While holding our newborn, he looked at me and said, “Enjoy him while you can. If I could somehow explain to you how fast he will grow up, you would just cry.” I’m discovering he was right. A few days later, Grant turned three.

Early one morning he scampered into my room and began his daily ritual of trying to convince me to play with him instead of going to work. As usual, I was rushing while he was negotiating. “Daddy, I’ve turned over my cowendar and you can stay home from wuck today,” he declared trying to sound like an adult.

“Grant, I have to go to work today, but I can stay home tomorrow.”

“But Daddy…” he countered, “it is tomorrow!” I had to smile at his desperate attempts.

“No, Grant, today is Friday. I can’t stay home until Saturday.”

Didn’t he know I had more important things to do than play blocks on the floor with a toddler? As he dropped his head and slowly waddled out, he muttered, “Well… maybe then you can come visit us.”

Ouch. I could hear the cry of a son’s heart needing his daddy, and I was the daddy he was needing. A few days later, Grant turned five.

I regret to say that too many moments at home have found me busy working on the latest, greatest project or running errands while my four kids have waited hopefully in the shadows. Too often the good things somehow work their way into our schedules and steal us away from the best things – like those priceless non-recoverable moments with our kids when they are still at home. Can you relate? Isn’t it time to redeem the time?

I’m learning more every day that spending time with my children is one of the most important responsibilities I have. A few things have really helped me lately to better grasp this.

A Father’ Dying Plea

This year, I performed the funeral for a man in our church who lost a battle to cancer. A few days before his passing, I had visited his home to pray with him. With a trembling voice between gasping breaths, he looked up at me and said, “Please tell my son not to turn on the TV when he is eating dinner with his kids. I now regret doing that. I wish we had spent that time together.” His words now echo in my ears as I look at my children. Oh, how I don’t want to share the same regret one day.

A Parent’s Biblical Mandate

Some of the most pivotal points in scripture challenge parents to prioritize making time for our children.

Look at the greatest commandment. Premiered in Deuteronomy 6, “loving God with everything you are” is the pinnacle imperative of God’s law. But the next verses explain how parents must daily hang out with their children so they can diligently teach them how to do that. Did you know you are commanded by God to continually teach your child how to love God wholeheartedly? The passage further explains that this happens through your daily interaction with them in the morning, while sitting in your house, when you’re traveling, and at bedtime each night.  Making time for our children is critical for teaching them.

A Child’s Desperate Need  

Our kids deeply depend upon time with us. Children find their security, develop their worldview, and discover who they are from their parents. Even as the animals after creation were named by Adam in the garden, children form their understanding of their identities directly from their mom and dad in the home.

Even if it’s never verbalized, little children look to their parents to find the answers to their hearts’ greatest questions. The words, “Daddy, who am I?”, “Am I accepted?”, “Do you love me unconditionally?” and “Do I have what it takes?” should be printed on a T-shirt and worn by our kids while they are around us. That’s what they’re asking all the time. And parents too often give wrong answers to those questions without realizing it. When we aren’t making time for our children, we are sending them a message,  “Nobody has time for you, little one. We’re busy with things that are important. You are not. Go bother somebody else.”

How many times do our lives unintentionally shout these messages to them?

This response not only negatively impacts their understanding of their value, but tragically their view of God. “If Daddy doesn’t think I’m important,” they conclude, “my Heavenly Father must not either.” Whether we like it or not, we are daily representing an image of God to our kids. They need us to carve out extra time for them so we can represent Him well.

A Nation’s Loss of a Legacy

Research is showing that Christians are theologically losing the next generation. Over 90% of born again kids today are rejecting the absolute truth that their parents embrace. Apologist Josh McDowell explains why. In a chapel service at the Focus on the Family headquarters, he stated, “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.”

Using Psalm 85, McDowell shares how King David followed God’s truth because he knew of God’s unfailing love for him. Likewise, children will embrace the truth taught by their parents only if it is given to them from within a loving heart-to-heart relationship.

The opposite is also true. The parents who lose the hearts of their children have children who forsake their parent’s theology. To summarize: Whoever has your child’s heart, has their ears. It’s no wonder that Solomon cried out, “My son, give me your heart!” as he sought to instruct him. (Proverbs 23:26) This principle sheds light on why God ended the Old Testament with the need for the hearts of fathers to be turned back to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. The future of Christianity depends upon it.

Do you have your children’s hearts? Do they have yours?

What are ways that you’ve made some extra time for your kids when it didn’t look like you had any extra time to give?

Come back tomorrow to see what Stephen suggests to help you make time for your kids.