Dads, Church And Football!

 

In this edition of the family ministry blog, we speak to Matthew Lunn, Children & Family worker for the Methodist Church in Harrogate & Knaresborough. He tells us about his work with Dads.

Matt, what does your role involve? The main parts of my work are planning all-age worship, Sunday Club, Messy Church, parent and baby toddler group, after-school football, and school assemblies.

That's a wide range of activities! Where have you had the opportunity to work with Dads?

Mainly at Messy Church whilst their children are engaged with the activities. I have many conversations with dads at church about their week at work or at home looking after the kids. One of the many things I like talking to dads about is football. Many people at church knock football, but I find the sport helps to engage people, especially dads. Recently I have started pub church for parents. The majority of the people who attend pub church are dads. Meeting in a pub can help dads to open up in an environment they're used to. Its church, but in a pub where people can enjoy a pint!

What do you really enjoy about working with Dads?

I love listening to what they have to say. I get a buzz seeing dads feeling more relaxed and start to open up because they feel they belong. Two years ago a family at our church decided to get their child baptised because one of the sons (aged 6) nearly lost his life due to being hit by a car. This made the parents think about God and now they regularly come along to church. During the celebration after the baptism the dad made the following speech; "I used to think the church was an old dusty building, but now I see the building as our church". He'd experienced the church caring for him and his family by visiting and praying for them during that tough time.

How do you think the church could support Dads better?

  Dads feel comfortable when watching their football team because they have a sense of belonging and they believe in their team. We want to encourage dads to identify with belonging to church because it could lead them to believe in something greater than a football team! The church needs to be on the terraces not the changing rooms! Dads need to see people caring and supporting them and I think the church can be fantastic at this!

If you're looking to find ways to encourage Dads there are some great resources and organisations who can help you:

  • 'The Sixty Minute Father' by Rob Parsons - A practical, down-to-earth book for Dads
  • 'Only Dads' - provide advice and support for single dads: www.onlydads.org
  • 'Who Let the Dad's Out' - aims to inspire, resource and support churches to develop initiatives that will give dads, father figures and their children the opportunity to spend time together, have fun and engage with the church.www.wholetthedadsout.org.uk
  • 'Dad.info' - provides information on a range of topics and has a selection of blogs all written by fathers. www.dad.info
  • 'Faith in Homes' have articles for Dads/written by Dads as well as ideas for Father's day: www.faithinhomes.org.uk
  • Also check out the Children & Youth pages on pinterest for more ideas and information.
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