5 Ways to Engage Men This Father’s Day
You don’t have to preach a Father’s Day sermon to honor the men of your church! Here are five unique ways you can engage men this Father’s Day and help them live out the Christian life at home and in community.
By Brett Clemmer
President & CEO
Father’s Day will be here before you know it! If you’re one of the leaders at your local church, don’t find yourself sitting around that morning saying, “Man, I wish we had been intentional about reaching our men this year. Well, maybe next year.” Now is the time to start planning.
Here are some unique, practical ideas you can use to engage men:
1. Plan a Father-Child Adventure Day
While “Daddy-Daughter Dances” have become almost ubiquitous, they aren’t the only way to give dads a fun opportunity to interact with their kids. Think about offering a few different options for father-child outings, recruiting guys to lead small outings in their area of interest.
Then give fathers (and grandfathers) a couple of weeks to sign up. Be sure to include at least one outdoor, socially-distanced option for those who prefer it.
You can send groups out to go bowling, drive go-karts, visit a local museum, go fishing, hike a nature trail—you get the idea.
Then meet back at the church in the late afternoon for a cookout. Have some lawn games out to play, and wrap it up with a bonfire and s’mores. Let the kids share their favorite experiences from the day. You could even include moms at the end!
2. Honor the New Dads on Father’s Day
If your church is meeting in person, take a moment during your Sunday morning services to invite the new dads to come up front. Depending on the size of your church, it could be dads of newborns or dads with kids under the age of five. You decide.
Bring them up front and encourage them to persevere through the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and projectile vomiting. Make it fun, lighthearted, and above all, encouraging. Then ask all the older men in the audience to pray for them. What a great way to connect generations of men!
You can even “dedicate” the dads. Similar to the vows a congregation takes during a baby dedication or baptism, have the congregation pledge to support these new dads as they seek to raise children who love God.
3. Give Your Men a Gift at Church
Why not get a gift for every man in the church on Father’s Day? It could be a men’s study Bible, a keychain with a verse about fathering, or some token that helps men remember the great influence they have as fathers and mentors.
Of course, Man in the Mirror has been providing Books by the Box for around $2 per book for 20 years. The Four Voices, The Christian Men, How God Makes Men, and The Man in the Mirror are all available in this program in boxes of 12 or 48 books.
Why not give your men a gift that lasts long after the day ends by helping them grow spiritually and relationally?
4. Start Something New This Summer
Don’t sacrifice the summer. While many church activities take a hiatus at the end of the school year, this can be an advantage for men. For instance:
A summer men’s group. Without the distractions, you can start a summer small-group series (using one of the books above) or Bible Study that guys can drop in and out of as their schedules allow. Or kickoff a summer series of men’s activities—like golf, fishing, skeet shooting, etc.—and use Father’s Day as a kickoff.
A fall ministry for men and boys. Father’s Day is a great time to start forming a Christian Service Brigade or Battalion unit (similar to scouting) for the fall. Use the summer to train up leaders and build momentum for a great ministry that teaches men to disciple boys and young men. Visit CSB Ministries website for more information.
5. Remember the Dadless and the Childless
Father’s Day can be a difficult day for men without children and for kids without dads. Don’t forget to think about how you can make Father’s Day a positive experience for them as well.
This can be a great time to think about launching a mentoring program. Ministries like Fathers in the Field, Christian Service Brigade, and A Chosen Generation all have resources that can help you set up opportunities for the men of your church to provide mentoring to boys without dads.
So what about a Father’s Day sermon?
Here’s my advice: just don’t.
It’s difficult to preach a sermon geared to dads that doesn’t end up just making them feel guilty, especially if you’re talking about discouraging statistics or how men’s spiritual engagement needs to catch up to women’s.
Acknowledge dads for sure; even use the service to honor them, using ideas like the ones above! But in my experience, it’s best to save the sermon for proclaiming the gospel to everyone in the church—and beyond.
Instead, focus your attention on giving them opportunities to pursue Christ and to act out their roles as leaders in their families and communities. Strengthen them. Encourage them. And love them.
THE BIG IDEA: Engage your men this Father’s Day in living the Christian life.
From all of us here at Man in the Mirror, Happy (early) Father’s Day!
This article was first published on the Man in the Mirror Blog in 2019; it has been revised and updated.