Health and Growth

How to Acknowledge Fathers on Father’s Day Sunday: A Guide for Pastors

Unsure how exactly to integrate church dads into your Father's Day service? Use these 7 tips to make your church's Father's Day service memorable and meaningful.

How to Acknowledge Fathers on Father’s Day Sunday: A Guide for Pastors
by

Paul Maxwell

Father’s Day provides the church with a unique opportunity to honor the ideals of fatherhood that God prescribes for male family men.

Churches can sometimes get confused about the right way to carry out a Father’s Day celebration. On the one hand, services that double down too much on the “manliness” optics can feel a little tacky. On the other hand, services that don’t celebrate fathers at all can alienate the fathers and families in the audience who do want to emphasize the importance and value of fatherhood in the family.

In this article, we will lay out eight guidelines to help your church perfectly execute Father’s Day so that families have the best experience on Father’s Day Sunday.

1. Know what fatherhood is (and ought to be)

Fatherhood is when a man takes responsibility for his household and loves his children by providing for them, caring for them, and teaching them to be law-abiding and responsible adults.

This may sound like a low bar to some, but it requires an ever-vigilant effort by men, to whom their children look to for moral guidance, physical sustenance, and monetary assistance even into late adolescence.

It’s best to be very clear about what fatherhood is so that when you honor fathers, you can name specific virtues that these men exemplify (and strive to exemplify), as well as the social goods the attainment of these virtues produce.

It’s easy to celebrate “fatherhood” when you never explain exactly what it is, or only use generic examples of things fathers have done.

But it’s easier (and more honorable) to honor fathers when they are honored for specific reasons related to the well-being of their wife and children, as well as the well-being of the church in which they raise their families.

2. Recognize that fatherhood is surrounded by grief

Many church members face the tragedy of evil infiltrated through the angle of fatherhood in their lives.

This is as unfortunate as it is common.

Fathers have died.

Fathers have lost children.

Fathers have been abusers.

Fathers have left, without a note or a call.

Fathers have gone off and started second families.

For different reasons, some men have not been able to have children.

These are tales as old as time.

To celebrate fatherhood without acknowledging its opposite is to bring a naive sense of surrealism to fatherhood, which doesn’t celebrate the sacrifice other fathers make.

When a father sticks around and treats his wife and kids well, things go well.

When he doesn’t, the wound is often unspeakably deep.

Recognize this as part of your recognition of fathers.

3. Set aside a time to honor fathers specifically

While it may seem like enough to preach on fatherhood or acknowledge that it’s Father’s Day in your church, it is not sufficient merely to mention these things.

You don’t have to call out every single father by name (in a growing church, this is not feasible).

Instead, take a moment to honor fathers in your congregation by thanking them for the sacrifices they make, embellishing on the social and communal good their sacrifices yield for the church and families in the church, and the value of continuing to pursue the attainment of the virtues of fatherhood as they continue to grow up into their roles, young and old.

Setting aside a specific time like this enables the church as a whole to turn to the fathers with them and have a special moment giving thanks to God for good male role models in their lives.

One of the best times to do this in your church service is during your church announcements. By setting aside a few moments, you can take a moment to acknowledge the grief some are experiencing, and to honor the fathers in your church who have been faithful to pursue the ideals of fatherhood.

4. Coordinate gift boxes for fathers

It’s not always easy to buy a Father’s Day gift for dads.

In order to help facilitate this, the church can provide an opportunity for members and visitors to register and pay for a special gift for the dad or father figure they bring to church, which they can pick up at your front desk or kiosk.

This box can include any kind of manly items—for example, something with leather, or that is useful, or a book, or a particularly manly movie.

Whatever the box includes, it should also include a special note to the father to whom it is given, which serves as a Father’s Day card.

By providing this service, the church becomes the go-to place for families in the church to express affection to their families on key occasions, which boosts engagement.

If the box is good (and it is very important that the box be good), participants will want to sign up for other holidays, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, and the like.

5. Host a Father’s Day picnic

Men love food.

It’s that simple.

If you cook good, hearty, meaty food, men will show up.

Food is the #1 way to incentivize a male attendance at an event.

To get a family to participate, hype this event before Father’s Day so that families register (both for gift boxes and for the picnic event). For what it’s worth, we make church events and registration for churches easy like a piece of cake.

You can plan an event that is big and fun enough that families can have small get-togethers at home afterward to reflect on personal stories and show appreciation for their fathers at home.

This picnic should have food, games, and a photographer taking pictures of every dad or father figure. This is a great way to capture the moment, and share photos on social media

6. Preach on fatherhood

Father’s Day is a great opportunity to preach on Fatherhood.

Here is a list of 36 bible verses on Father’s Day and 8 themes on fatherhood in Scripture.

Use this as a starting point to begin thinking about themes and passages on which you could preach for Father’s Day.

One of the easiest ways to preach on fatherhood is to preach about the fatherhood of God.

As a Father, God helps us in many ways.

God as Father is merciful:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

God as Father disciplines:

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all” (Hebrews 12:7-8).

God as Father sacrifices:

“For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:22-25).

God as Father instructs:

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,  encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:11-12).

God as Father loves:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).

Reflecting these qualities of God in earthly fatherhood is imperative for a healthy church, not only because it produces healthy families, but because it reflects the wisdom and design of our loving heavenly Father.

7. Don’t preach yourself as the exemplary father

We’ve all heard the sermon where the preacher makes himself out to be a hero.

“A good father is patient with his kids. For example, my kids are so unruly! And I’m very patient with them. Be like that!”

You might be patient with your kids, but construing yourself as the hero will turn off your audience to your message.

Instead, be self-deprecating—not distractingly self-deprecating, but make yourself out as the one who needs patience.

Explain how a father figure in your own life exemplified the fatherly virtues to produce a personal, psychological, social, or spiritual good in you.

Over to you

Acknowledging fathers well on Father’s Day is not too complicated.

Just follow these simple 8 steps:

  1. Know what fatherhood is (and ought to be)
  2. Set aside a time to honor fathers specifically
  3. Coordinate gift boxes for fathers
  4. Make the service truly masculine
  5. Host a father’s day picnic
  6. Preach on fatherhood
  7. Recognize that fatherhood is surrounded by grief for many
  8. Don’t preach yourself as the exemplary father

If you follow these steps, your congregation will feel very grateful that you took a lot of the pressure off of Father’s Day by making plans at the church to celebrate fathers in a uniquely masculine way. Furthermore, fathers will feel appreciated, and the church as a whole will feel a greater sense of buy-in to the spiritual good your church is producing for families.

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How to Acknowledge Fathers on Father’s Day Sunday: A Guide for Pastors