Championing Fathers – There’s More To This Than Meets The Eye

Often when we look at an organization or big initiatives from “the outside” we typically have little “insight” as to what it takes to keep the “wheels in motion.”  I learned this first hand when I went to work for Focus on the Family back in 2004. At that time Focus had over 1400 fulltime employees and operated out of three massive buildings at their headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Coming from a local church I was really clueless about the incredible processes that have to occur on a daily basis in order to offer hundreds of resources to millions of people all over the world. As I began to bury myself in planning meetings day after day, I soon began to realize how much work really goes on “behind the scenes.”

I have experienced the same thing by being involved in the launch of the Fatherhood CoMission. It takes hours upon hours of planning, phone calls, emails, building and managing social media, web site production, event planning and days of travel to pull together an organization which is designed to be a collaboration platform for numerous organizations to come together for one cause- the cause of championing fathers and fatherhood.

Fatherhood CoMission

Then, there is the Fatherhood CoMission board. This is a group of men who have willingly, selfishly volunteered hours upon hours to provide leadership to FCM in order that we might work in unity to champion fathers to the church and culture. This is in addition to the fact that each of these men are senior level executives at some of our nation’s top Christian family and fathering organizations (Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, Iron Sharpens Iron, National Center for Fathering, Sherwood Pictures). Add to this the fact each of them are devoted husbands and fathers to their children. One of our board members has eight girls all under the age of 16!  Bottom line- these men are true servants. They sacrifice above and beyond their day to day responsibilities for others and for the cause of building up fathers across this country.

Fatherhood CoMission team

The verse that comes to mind regarding this group of servant leaders is: Matthew 23:11: The greatest among you shall be your servant. (ESV). They are incredible examples of great men who live out their daily lives by serving others.  May each of us be inspired to do the same in our homes, with our kids, spouses, neighbors and on the job.

P.S.: Please pray for our leadership as we move forward with executing the mission of the Fatherhood CoMission.  God is really blessing this initiative and we will be making a very exciting announcement soon about an initiative for the Father’s Day 2013 weekend, which you, you’re organization and church can participate in. Stay tuned!

The Low Down on The Fatherhood Summit 2012

Fatherhood Leadership Summit team

Over sixty leaders and spouses came together last week at Winshape Retreat in Rome, Georgia to support the 2012 FCM Summit Vision: to train, equip, and unify local and national ministry leaders so they can strategically work together to champion the cause of Biblical fatherhood across the nation.  Practically our desire was to rejoice and laugh, grieve and pray, listen and learn, educate and encourage each other, network and fellowship, and then dream and collaborate so that we can be united in advancing God’s design and heart for strong fatherhood.  We feel these goals were met by God’s good grace. Be encouraged by reading testimonies submitted by Fathering Leaders who attended (below).

There are two prominent questions being asked stemming from the 2012 Summit:

1.      What’s next?      This is a question that we are all asking and seeking the favor of God about.  Currently here’s what  we have been shown:

  • Ongoing encouragement for Fatherhood leaders to work together in unity, laying aside ego’s and logo’s for the common good of the big K (kingdom) cause.
  • To embark on a significant Father’s Day undertaking together.  The FCM Board is convening in Dallas in January to solidify ideas and strategy.
  • To offer the Fatherhood Leaders Summit again in 2013 at Winshape.
  • Keep relationships moving forward through conference calls, web-n-r’s, social media

2.      What can I do?    Though we are still very much in the formation stage, below are specific tasks which will help FCM continue its work into 2013 and beyond:

  • Pray regularly that God will bless this movement with unprecedented guidance, protection and favor.
  • Help us spread the word about FCM by posting on our Facebook page , “like” us and post links to FCM on your social media channels.
  • Sign up for our blog and forward link to your email contacts
  • Follow FCM on twitter and re-tweet FCM tweets
  • Share “best of” resources on our FB page– help put tools in fathering champion’s “tool boxes”
  • Share what is happening through FCM with your pastor, church leaders and community leaders
  • FCM board members have committed to make a personal donation to FCM by end of month. If you believe in the direction we are heading, prayerfully consider a personal donation or ask friends, colleagues, influencers to make a year end gift to our 2013 efforts.  Details about online donations coming soon. Send donation questions or intents to: mitchtempleonline@gmail.com

Follow this link for a Summit slideshow. Enjoy!

Thank you again and May God bless us as we stand together and champion the noble calling of fatherhood. I am truly honored to help lead this effort into the year 2013.

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.

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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.

Privilege of Fatherhood

by Brian Doyle, Iron Sharpens IronThe privilege of Fatherhood-Leaving a family Legacy - Jonathan Edwards

One of the great privileges of fatherhood is our ability to live and leave a legacy.

New England is the home of one of our nation’s great spiritual leaders,  Jonathan Edwards. This great man is best known for his public ministry and the historic Great Awakening of the 1700’s. Almighty God used him in marvelous ways to stir people to respond to the Gospel message. Edwards left quite a legacy.

Edwards also had a family life. He married well. Sarah Edwards was a wonderful woman of God who served her God and her husband by sharing her practical wisdom. Sarah and Jonathan literally poured their lives into their eleven children. It was their number one priority. They did not delegate the responsibility of discipling their children to anyone else. Each day that he was home, Jonathan would help each family member and the servants rise before sunlight to pray and hear a chapter of the Bible read aloud. This Deuteronomy 6 in action. Jonathan Edwards was commited to sharing the Word of God to his children in his home as they rise up each day.

Although Edwards is best remembered for “The Great Awakening”; consider the legacy he and his wife have left through their eleven children and their children and the children that followed:

The Edwards Family Legacy

    • 300 Pastors or missionaries
    • 120 Professors
    • 110 Lawyers
    • 80 Public servants
    • 66 Physicians
    • 60 Prominent authors
    • 30 Judges
    • 14 University and college presidents
    • 3 United States senators
    • 3 Governors
    • 1 Vice President of the US

You and I may not have a lead role in the next great awakening, but we can partner with our wives in leaving a family legacy. Why not start this fall and follow Edward’s model of a morning devotional time. By the way, you can start after sunrise!

Psalm 78 urges us to be this type of man.

Ps 78:4-6   We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His Power and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.