Just for Dads ~ April 2020

by Ward Williams

My wife and I have been in ministry for over 25 years, working with children, youth, and families. (We met and fell in love at a Christian camp for children.) A fantastic children’s pastor for almost 15 years, my wife has significantly impacted the spiritual development of many children. Even with our combined experience in ministry, we sometimes questioned if we were successful in spiritually leading our own children. We played worship music and watched Christian programs made for children. (In fact, our kids watched so many “Veggie Tales” episodes, I imagine my teenage sons may still think of Bible characters in vegetable form.)

Author George Barna has done extensive research on the spiritual impact parents have on their children. His research shows that parents understand that they have a huge spiritual influence on their kids, but are timid in teaching their own children. This is especially true with fathers, who may often believe moms should handle spiritual conversations. However, it is important for dads to know the powerful effect we have on our children’s spirituality. A child’s view of their father shapes his or her view of God the father.

One of my prayers for my kids is that they never know deep evil, and I believe I’m like most dads in that regard. There is good news in the revelation that God cares about the spiritual development of your kids and has cared about them from the very beginning. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that “before we were in the womb, God loved us and had a plan for us.” That takes some of the pressure off to know we are not alone. Because God created our kids uniquely for their own purpose, one of our goals needs to be helping our kids discern that purpose through the Bible, prayer, and a lifelong pursuit of God’s will. The Easter season is a time when people tend to be open to spiritual engagement. I encourage all dads to take a moment for a “spiritual checkup” and make a commitment to engaging your kids spiritually.

Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at ward@vfsdads.com.


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