Church can have a very feminine focus making men, boys and dads feel it’s not the place for them. In this pair of companion books, Tim Chester – Liverpool FC’s fulltime community family officer, and author of ‘Who Let the Dad’s Out? and School’s Out, Dad’s About (SODA) takes his cue from Malachi 4 v6: “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
You only have read the papers or stand on any street corner to see the fulfilment of that prophecy. But Mark Chester invites you to reverse the trend.
Who Let the Dad’s Out? - In this book (the green one), Mark sets out the theological call to action; but it’s not deep. And as the need is visible all around, you’re probably pretty well convinced already. Perhaps the most important thing this book does is make you realise that most men – especially fathers, won’t set foot in a church unless you give them a good reason. For dads, the best reason to do anything isn’t selfishness, it’s that it’s good for their kids.
Once you know that, you can apply the lessons of Mark’s practical experience of building father-children groups at Hoole Baptist Church just outside Chester. Moving to a dad friendly day – Saturday, and laying on man-food as well as creating a bloke-safe environment, are only the obvious changes Mark initiated. His outlines for dad-kid activities, reinforcing family relationships and leading men toward exploring faith in a bit more depth, are all here in this book and its companion, ‘School's Out, Dad's About’ (the blue one).
Schools Out, Dad’s About - In this book you get the story of the first book and the resources and vision to take your fathers and children ministry to the next level: "if we want to see faith in God passed down through generations of families", says Mark Chester, “then we must make a determined effort to reach out and support relationships between fathers and children. Building on ‘Who Let the Dads Out’ Mark shows you how to create:
- A church based SODA club giving dads and school age children the chance to grow and mix with other families in a safe, stimulating environment.
- A dad friendly five-session parenting programme for fathers with food, activity and and discussions about facing the challenge of being a dad.
- A path that invites dads of faith, some faith and none at all to look at their own beliefs and values while keeping the focus on their needs as men and fathers.
Prove you're on the right track: Overall, neither of these books is rocket science. But they are full of ideas and practical guidance that might save you from making the mistakes others have made before you. That alone is a good enough reason to give them both a read. And if you’re already engaged in father-child ministry, and need help to convince others they ought to give you the support and resources to do more, you should get and share these books as the proof that you’re on the right the track.
February 5th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison