Our friend Brian Doyle, founder of the Iron Sharpens Iron National Conference Network, has shared some thoughtful advice for pastors as you prayerfully discern how to celebrate fathers and fathering on Father’s Day. Many men groan when they think about going to church on Father’s Day because they just don’t feel like they measure up. Let’s prayerfully affirm men and the role of fathering.

This should be an opportunity to build men up rather than beat them up.  

6 Tips to Help Pastors Build Men Up on Father’s Day:

Preface: Father’s Day is June 20th this year.  It is a special day to honor dad and communicate appreciation to the many men in our church congregations who are dads. Church services on this Sunday can be consistent with this theme in some regard but can also, with good intentions, drive men accidentally away from church and from God. 

Here are some tips based on what we have learned over the years on what to include and what not to include in a Father’s Day Service. 

  1. Communicate gratitude and thankfulness for dads and to dads. The culture marginalizes fatherhood in various ways. Fathers are often seen as optional and not important.  Father’s Day should celebrate fatherhood and God’s Design.  
  1. Be careful about challenging the men. Please save the exhortation to dads for an upcoming men’s only gathering or a regional men’s conference when the context is different and a man’s wife and kids are not sitting next to them.  
  1. Be careful about instructing the men. Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 are not texts for a Father’s Day sermon. Please save those texts for the men’s conference or a men’s meeting when men will better hear and receive strong biblical exhortation.  
  1. Consider a sermon NOT on fathering. It may be best to invest 5-10 minutes communicating gratitude to dads and have your sermon on a topic outside of fathering. Stay with your present sermon series.  
  1. Tell a personal story. Share a positive story about your own dad or a dad you may know. Not a ‘super dad’ story that will convict most of the men but a story of provision and protection and love. The result of the story celebrates the dads who actually came to church that morning.  
  1. Give a gift. Thank the men with a gift. It can be anything from a book to a CD to a gift certificate to a local fast food restaurant. Join a man’s family and thank God for Dad with a gift and a card. 

Suggestion: Books! by the Box (Check out Patrick Morley of Man in the Mirror on our Podcast in Ep. 56: Voices in Your Head.)