With Father’s Day here again, it’s good to think about this topic of Fathering.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Fatherhood is at a low premium in the culture today. Everywhere you look the concept of “father” has been diminished. Look at the most popular TV shows, if there is a father figure in the storyline he is often weak, irrelevant, harmful or of no consequence.
  2. Fatherhood is VITAL for human flourishing. The top ailments in society today – violence, addictions, criminality, aimlessness, etc. – can be traced to a lack of effective fathering. Secular psychologists point to the notion that fathers – more than mothers – are meant to convey sexual identity, morals, values and a sense of purpose to their children.
  3. God the Father, in his mercy and grace, has been highlighting in this hour his own fatherly nature. He is offering healing and restoration to those who have not had healthy fathering.
  4. God does not work in a vacuum; he partners with human beings. He is calling for men to become true fathers who reflect his fatherly nature so that culture can be restored to its senses.

Paul wrote to the church, “For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me.” – 1 Corinthians 4:15-16 (NLT)

The Holy Spirit is challenging the church (including me) in these days on this issue. There are too many teachers and preachers but there are too few men who are willing to invest their lives into others for the sake of disciple making. It is relatively easy to teach and preach the way we do in the western church. Most people can learn a few things and then regurgitate them in a sermon from a pulpit. However, to father people requires a different kind of character and commitment.

Teaching is about transmitting knowledge from one head to another; fathering entails transmitting life from one heart to another. To be a natural father requires proximity, being close and intimate with someone. Similarly, being a spiritual father requires proximity with the people that you are meant to father. It requires that you actually do life together with the ones that you are meant to influence.

Ironically, this concept of proximity has become increasingly difficult in an age of communications technology and social media. We have all these ways and means of communicating with each other yet our relationships are in many ways so superficial. We are so busy “communicating” that we hardly make time for meaningful connections with people in our world.

It is in this climate that the Spirit of God is calling men to be men like Jesus was a man – and to father others. As John Maxwell put it, “We can teach what we know but we can only reproduce who we are.”

Men, let’s be fathers, God’s way!