We're only a couple of weeks away from Father's Day! This week I
wanted to share with you part of an interview I did with ThoWe're
only a couple of weeks away from Father's Day! This week I wanted
to share with you part of an interview I did with Thomas Mahan and
Richard Nicorvo, founders of Top Drawer
Dads, an organization serving dads that's focused on
encouraging the strengths and power of ordinary fathers everywhere,
often through passing on a legacy of family history and faith.
Meant to equip, educate, and encourage, Top Drawer Dads aims to
shout to the world that dads matter.
David: Why do dads matters so much in the
Tom: Look at church retention
rates. Churches are reporting membership losses. In 2011,
Methodists had a 600,000-member turnover and Presbyterians had a
400,000-member turnover. Our program is a vehicle to build men's
and dad's groups as a retention model for churches. The main
purpose is to build a sense of community for men in the church.
Rich: For instance, Tom recently managed
a weekend men's retreat through his church. A noteworthy part of
the retreat was the small group meetings. Several of these groups
are now continuing to meet together for breakfast, study, and
fellowship. That's exciting. I think that's what it's all
about-initiating small groups where men can share and grow in
knowledge and spirit.
Tom: The objective is to create ways for men to
talk to each other around meaningful life experiences and to
connect these experiences to biblical points. The secondary,
but also important, goal is to build retention models for
churches. As fathers find their place in small groups, the
decision to remain at their church strengthens. Men involved in
groups are more likely to stay.
David: How can we get dads more involved in church?
Tom: Children's and women's
ministries have been a focus of churches for a long time. Families
often choose to stay or leave churches based on women's community
and children's community. However men, young and old, are
often the forgotten population at churches.
Rich: I'm in total agreement. There's a
desperate need to create an environment where men feel they belong
and can share their life experiences. We want Top Drawer Dads to be
a way to initiate that effort and build men's communities within
the church. It's just getting back to the basics. Several years
ago, I attended a men's community group at a local church. We met
once a week. After getting the program started, there were over 400
men attending; 40 percent were from other churches! Build the right
program and they'll come.
David: How can churches and children's
ministries work more intentionally with dads?
Tom: Currently little is being done-but it
could be. Men are thirsty. Young men are looking for older men to
mentor them. Older men are looking for ways they can share what
they know with younger fathers. Churches need to start building
communities for men.
Rich: Dads bring other dads into ministries.
We're beginning to see some of that in our churches. Take for
example the father/daughter dances and the father/son weekend
camping adventures. But it needs to be so much more. My hope is
that Top Drawer Dads will be a catalyst to spark the hearts of
fathers. Spark their hearts to share with one another as a
community that continues to learn and grow spiritually. Dads can be
more active in their role as Christian husbands and fathers,
safeguarding the family unit.
The full interview can be found inthe current issue of Children's Ministry
What are your plans for Father's Day? How do you celebrate
fathers in your ministry? Let us know your thoughts using the
comment section below!