In the book, Reclaiming Glory, Mark Clifton identifies reaching and discipling young men as one of the six imperatives for church revitalization. He states, “I have never heard a dying church say, ‘We just have too many young men, we need to go out and attract some older people.’ I have also never seen a healthy church that is without a solid core of young men.” Discipleship of young men is imperative.
While visiting with and preaching for the Clarksdale Baptist Church a few weeks ago, I discovered a fledgling movement called the DAD COALITION. Developed by my new friend, Rob Taylor, the DAD COALITION is a discipleship ministry of fathers who are discipling other fathers. Rob and his wife, Shanna, are actively involved in the AWANA ministry at Clarksdale Baptist where they routinely minister to dozens and dozens of children. Many of the children’s parents do not attend church at all. Even when invited, they do not come. God has burdened Rob’s heart for these parents, especially the dads.
As Rob explained his vision for the DAD COALITION, I remembered the discipleship principles outlined by Robert Coleman in The Master Plan of Evangelism and The Master Plan of Discipleship. The biblical pattern is one person reaching one person who then reaches another. Participation in the DAD COALITION is by invitation. One father develops a friendship with another father and invites him into a discipleship relationship. From the very beginning, the new participant in the DAD COALITION knows that he is expected to invite another father. This is biblical discipleship!
When Rob and I talked about this a few weeks ago, we were driving around Clarksdale. As we passed by some community ballfields, I thought about the possibilities of dads getting to know other dads as they coached little league baseball or youth soccer. We often tell our church members to get out into the community and reach people without giving them tools to make it happen. The DAD COALITION is a tool for fathers to use to encourage other fathers to…
Love their children sacrificially as God loves us (John 3:16).
Lead their children by example to a secure and successful future in Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Protect their children through sound guidance and firm direction by shepherding their hearts toward God (Psalm 23:4).
Play with their children as often as possible.
I think Rob may be on to something. Helping fathers to love and lead and to protect and play with their children is a great way to make disciples. It’s a great way to reach young men. It will likely take months or even years, but can you imagine what will happen when fathers start surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus and following him in baptism. That might just revitalize a church. I know it will change the lives of dads and their children.
If you would like more information about the DAD COALITION, I will be happy to connect you with Rob Taylor. Leave a comment or send me an email.