Saturday, April 26, 2008

Being the dad you wish you had

Who goes to church conferences? I used to think it was only for Pastors, church elders or staff, basically full time ministry people. If you asked me a few years ago if I would like to attend a church conference, I would have declined. Why would I go listen to a bunch of stuffy, boring 'church people' talking about the best color of carpet to put down in your activities room to hide the Kool Aid stains?

I have had great experiences in church and I have seen the side of the American church that drives people away. I have walked out of a church, a growing church, because of the way they bickered about what kind of worship music to play or how they have been doing it this way for years and we don't want to change. The number of churches in decline is staggering.

So what makes a thriving church? If I had to sum it up in a sentence, it would be this. A thriving church is passionate about lost people, it is passionate about kids, and cares more about reflecting Jesus back to the world than it does about carpet colors or the layout of it's program handout.

The breakout sessions at the Thrive Conference are what bring me back. The general sessions with speakers such as Sherwood Carthen, Francis Chan, Miles McPherson, Brennan Manning, and Ray Johnston are great, but the small breakout sessions are my favorite. The best session I attended at the conference, in my humble opinion was "Being the dad you wish you had" presented by Greg Weisman. Greg is the Pastor for Men's Ministry and Adventure Sports for Bayside.

I sat in a room with 30 other dads, or dads to be, and listened as Greg told the story of his relationship with his father. Although his story was different than mine, the feelings it brought up were strong and sometimes painful. He explained his father's story and the way he was raised by his grand father. He finally came to the conclusion that it was unfair to hold his father up to the example of today's fathers. He said his dad did the best he could with the example he had seen in his grandfather, and because he was working so hard to keep the bills paid. Greg said when he realized the pattern that runs in his family, he made a conscious decision to break it. Amen to that.

What followed was an hour of great information about being a great father to both your sons and your daughters. Be a man of God, MAKE time for your family, love your wife, be real with your kids, spend individual time with your kids, choose your vacations and leisure carefully, do what THEY love to do, treat your boys like boys, treat your girls like girls and so on.

Nothing earth shattering, nothing outside my ability, just honest ways I could become the father I wish I had. I have some homework to do this week that I hope I can turn into habits.

This is a side of the church that most people don't see, and that has to be laid at our feet, as the body of Christ. If the church in you neighborhood closed it's doors, would anyone notice? If not, you had better roll up your sleeves and get to work.

1 comment:

MrAndrewBradley said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Thrive 2008, I thought it was great too, the breakout sessions were amazing.