Homefires: Faith in Families (Image Vol 9, No 6 – Nov/Dec 1993)

By Matt Dabbs

By Ron Rose

A “New Breed” of Fathers

There is a “new breed” of fathers emerging from the rubble of our endangered families. These determined men are getting serious about reviving the leadership role of father as God designed it.

While may of us have been describing the problems facing families, God has been shaping a solution. This courageous, involved, empowering family leaders has had his course set firmly by God himself, and his numbers are growing.

These new breed” fathers are breaking the mold. They are eagerly seeking help from seminars, books, other men, God, and even their wives. Many are finding strength in each other, and their number is growing in churches large and small – from Sacrament, California to Nashville, Tennessee. In groups as small as two and as large as fifty, these “new breed” Christian fathers are meeting in churches, offices, gyms, hunting cabins,restaurants, living rooms, and on the jogging path; and they are learning how to put their families first.

Numbers of them are making dramatic life changes, resulting in less annual income, less career potential, more unforgettable family memories, and a strengthened legacy of hope to pass on to their children adn their children’s children.

The Power of the Faith Story

Among the secrets of father, these “new breed” dad’s are discovering the God-ordained, yet almost forgotten, power of storytelling. These dads don’t stop at reading children’s books or classic stories to even Bible stories; they are rediscovering the power of telling and retelling their own story. Truth is, Dad’s faith story – his testimony – is the most important story he will ever tell his children.

From 1990 through 1992, I conducted an unscientific survey in churches across the country. I asked parents to raise their hands if they had ever told their children their own faith story. Never more than twenty percent of the audience raised their hands and most of those hands belonged to mothers. All that’s changing. Men are beginning to revive the practice of telling how God has changed their lives. They are reviving the intent of Psalm 78.

When I was a youngster, the emphasis wasn’t on conversion stories; the emphasis was on discussing my readiness for baptism, teaching why baptism was important, and helping me memorize the right verses and the right answers to the right questions. It wasn’t until after my father’s death that I heard his testimony. Why have we neglected testimony for so long? Why didn’t my generation get to hear the story of how God changed the lives of the generation before us? Why? Praise God, we are returning to the power of the faith story just in time for our children.

It’s not easy for us; our heritage has not trained us in the art of telling our faith story, but we’re learning. Some of us even have trouble calling it “our testimony.” Whatever you call it – becoming a Christian, being baptized, getting saved, accepting Christ as Lord d and Savior – it is far more than a description of a dunking, event. It is a story with chapters, with a beginning, and with an end. It’s a story of rescue, a story of hope, a story of intervention, a story about God.

Faith Story Guidelines for Fathers

Have your kids heard your faith story – your testimony? The following faith story guidelines will help fathers (and mothers) learn to tell the most important story of their lives. Remember, the purpose of telling your story is not to make yourself look good; the purpose of our testimony is to make God look good. And remember too, that listening to your child’s response will help you discover how the Holy Spirit is working in your child’s heart.

Being by describing your childhood visions of God and what first sparked your interest in him. Share you favorite stories bout God and your efforts, as a child, to get closer to him. Tell you children about the people who listened to you and helped you find answers to your questions. Share with them how God helped you deal with your fears and your failures. Tell your kids about a time of crisis when you tried to make it on your own, how God challenged you, and how you finally learned to hand the crisis over to him. Describe the events of your baptism: where you were, what was happening around you, how you felt, and who was there. Tell of a personal temptation after your baptism and how you dealt with it. Describe how you felt when you took communion for the first time. Detail some of the ways God has helped you grow. Tell about a time when you felt especially close to God. Proudly tell your children how they fit in your story – how each one is a unique gift from God.

There is power, real power, in a father’s story! Amen? Keep the homefires burning.

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This author published 1598 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.


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