The idea of celebrating Father’s Day in church is one that divides us. Is it an opportunity not to be missed? An irrelevance? A cause for celebration? Commercial exploitation?
What are your views? Perhaps you think it’s fine as a secular tradition, but not for the church? Hopefully I can change your mind…
I believe that the day provides us with a fantastic opportunity for evangelism.
I’ll get a few things straight first – some facts we can build on. The modern Father’s Day was first celebrated in churches; it is not an invention of the greetings card industry. Father’s Day has steadily grown in significance within our culture, and it is widely recognised and celebrated. To honour fatherhood is not at odds with anything in Christianity.
I’ll introduce some opinions now. I believe Father’s Day is an opportunity too good to let pass, and, as a church that belongs to a Father God, we should be at the forefront of the celebrations. I believe we should use the day to encourage not just dads, but all father figures. I believe there is the potential to do far more than a five-minute slot in a Sunday morning service. And I believe that the day provides us with a fantastic opportunity for evangelism.
Perhaps I can share a few ideas for how your church could seize this chance to reach out to dads and father figures on Father’s Day:
Acknowledge possible pain and hurts and offer support, but don’t avoid celebrating.
- Make Father’s Day the theme of your whole service.
- Start with a bacon butty for everyone. At the very least, people will get to church on time!
- Don’t have a traditional half hour sermon; split up the talky bits into a few smaller chunks.
- Think through the words of the songs and hymns you choose. Are they easily understood and comfortable for a man to sing?
- Get people laughing. Make sure the service is fun and full of joy. Enable people to see that Christians know how to party.
- Celebrate father figures as well as biological fathers and make the point that all men are fathers to all children. Why not use Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, as an example?
- Interview some dads and father figures about which objects, beliefs and passions they would like to pass on to the next generation.
- Be sensitive. Acknowledge possible pain and hurts and offer support, but don’t avoid celebrating.
- Talk about God, as a father, and encourage people to consider their relationship with him.
Why not construct the service with dads who are not Christians or churchgoers in mind and invite all the men your church has connections with? How about sending personal written invitations to dads on the edge of church and those who take part in your community activities?
Why not construct the service with dads who are not Christians or churchgoers in mind?
If, for whatever reason, a special Father’s Day service is not possible, perhaps you could hold a special event on another day for all men and children to attend together. Maybe a games evening, a curry night or a movie matinee. You could even use it to springboard into a regular Who Let The Dads Out? group.
Who Let The Dads Out? has a vision to ‘turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers’ (Malachi 4:6) and ‘to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’ (Luke 1:17). We hope you’ll join in with us this Father’s Day.