I’m writing this mainly to the fathers of the church. I am concerned about the ministries of our church that your children attend, namely the children and youth ministries. I am not worried about the curriculum. It is elder-approved and biblical through and through. I am not fretting over the quality of the policies that are in place to protect your children. We’re doing our best to provide a secure environment; procedures are in place; we screen our volunteers. I’m not embarrassed over the facilities. They are clean and spacious.
I am troubled that only a small percentage of the volunteers within those ministries are dads.
I am thankful for all the students, young adults, mothers, teenagers, and others who do serve the children and youth. As a father, I thank each of you. Thank you for serving the children and their families. That you are serving does not trouble me. Rather it is something for which I am abundantly grateful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
What troubles me is not who is serving. Rather I am troubled by who is not serving in the children and youth ministries. I’d like to see those ministries dominated by dads.
What a man prioritizes is his priority. When he delegates his responsibility to another it often communicates that that responsibility is secondary not primary. Giving up a few hours a week to prepare a Bible lesson for kids says, “Teaching the Bible to kids is a priority.” Serving as an assistant in the youth ministry affirms, “Protecting and influencing the little children matters.” A man communicates priorities by prioritizing.
Nobody cares about protecting his kids more than a dad. God designed men, especially fathers, to look out for predators. And Scripture warns us that predators will attempt to infiltrate the church. So, a great way to protect your children from wolves is to lead the ministries that serve your children. You will have the opportunity to ensure that truth is taught and that children are treated properly.
Having more dads in the youth and children’s ministry would take a weight off my shoulders. I am constantly working with the staff and the elders to evaluate policies designed to prevent abuse in the church. I want our church’s abuse prevention policies to be air-tight, and if I could I’d have those policies and procedures audited ten times a day. But better than policies and better than procedures is the presence of dad. Predators go for the weak, not the strong. Strong fathers will scare predators away more than will any police check or abuse prevention policy. I’m doing my very best, along with the elders and staff, to protect the children. But I’d breath a sigh of relief if more dads served in the children and youth ministries. I think the world is getting creepier by the day. Frankly, more dads probably means less risk of perverts.
When I was child, the fathers were our hockey coaches and scout leaders. Reflecting on that, I see the wisdom in it. It not only provided security and displayed priorities, but it created memories. Having my dad run the bench of our peewee hockey teams taught me and my brothers to love the game. Still today we talk about dad coaching us and the times at the rink. The day will likely come when you share a meal with all your children and grandchildren. I hope they talk about times with dad at the rink or on the field, but most importantly I hope they talk about dad teaching the Scriptures. So why not create those memories by serving in the children and youth ministries?
A former CFL player once told me about the two types of guys in a huddle. “Some guys want the ball. Some guys don’t. You can see it in their eyes.” The same is true with fathering. Some guys want to be fathers. Some want to delegate it. There are many excellent fathers in our church who aren’t serving in the children and youth ministries. So please, I’m not saying that your absence means you’re a bad dad. Not at all. I am only saying that the absence of dads in those ministries surprises me, knowing that so many good dads are in the church.
I think I’d rather see the fathers serve in children and youth ministries more than I’d like to see them in any other ministry of the church. Our most important mission field is the children. The fathers communicate importance by where they are. Dads set priorities. Dads protect kids. Dads create memories. And dads should dominate the children and youth ministries.