This week I wanted to share with you part of an interview I did with Thomas Mahan and Richard Nicorvo, founders of Top Drawer Dads, an organization serving dads that’s focused on encouraging the strengths and power of ordinary fathers everywhere, often through passing on a legacy of family history and faith. Meant to equip, educate, and encourage, Top Drawer Dads aims to shout to the world that dads matter.
David: Why do dads matters so much in the church?
Tom: Look at church retention rates. Churches are reporting membership losses. In 2011, Methodists had a 600,000-member turnover and Presbyterians had a 400,000-member turnover. Our program is a vehicle to build men’s and dad’s groups as a retention model for churches. The main purpose is to build a sense of community for men in the church.
Rich: For instance, Tom recently managed a weekend men’s retreat through his church. A noteworthy part of the retreat was the small group meetings. Several of these groups are now continuing to meet together for breakfast, study, and fellowship. That’s exciting. I think that’s what it’s all about-initiating small groups where men can share and grow in knowledge and spirit.
Tom: The objective is to create ways for men to talk to each other around meaningful life experiences and to
connect these experiences to biblical points. The secondary, but also important, goal is to build retention models for churches. As fathers find their place in small groups, the decision to remain at their church strengthens. Men involved in groups are more likely to stay.
David: How can we get dads more involved in church?
Tom: Children’s and women’s ministries have been a focus of churches for a long time. Families often choose to stay or leave churches based on women’s community and children’s community. However men, young and old, are
often the forgotten population at churches.
Rich: I’m in total agreement. There’s a desperate need to create an environment where men feel they belong
and can share their life experiences. We want Top Drawer Dads to be a way to initiate that effort and build men’s communities within the church. It’s just getting back to the basics. Several years ago, I attended a men’s community group at a local church. We met once a week. After getting the program started, there were over 400 men attending; 40 percent were from other churches! Build the right program and they’ll come.
David: How can churches and children’s ministries work more intentionally with dads?
Tom: Currently little is being done-but it could be. Men are thirsty. Young men are looking for older men to
mentor them. Older men are looking for ways they can share what they know with younger fathers. Churches need to start building communities for men.
Rich: Dads bring other dads into ministries. We’re beginning to see some of that in our churches. Take for
example the father/daughter dances and the father/son weekend camping adventures. But it needs to be so much more. My hope is that Top Drawer Dads will be a catalyst to spark the hearts of fathers. Spark their hearts to share with one another as a community that continues to learn and grow spiritually. Dads can be more active in their role as Christian husbands and fathers, safeguarding the family unit.
The full interview can be found in Children’s Ministry Magazine.
What are your plans for Father’s Day? How do you celebrate
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