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Spiritual Leadership in Professional Sports | An Interview with Mike Fisher

At the Men’s Leadership Network (MLN), I have the opportunity to sit down with some amazing, godly leaders. The goal of MLN is to help men grow as spiritual leaders in their marriages, families, workplaces and community. We know as men grow in their leadership, it impacts so many others and even generations.

Recently, our guest speaker was Mike Fisher. Mike is the captain of the Nashville Predators and husband to Carrie Underwood. They have a busy life, but through it all they prioritize Christ in all they do. Mike is a good friend, and I am so thankful for his life & testimony.

I know you will be encouraged and challenged by watching this interview with Mike, and I pray you grow in your own spiritual leadership within the sphere of influence God has placed you.

 

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Why I Encourage Every Parent to Send Their Kids to Summer Camp

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Yesterday, I was with a couple hundred children, students and adults at our Rolling Hills Summer Camp. Everyone was having such a fun time with smiles everywhere and lots of laughter. Worship was powerful and God-filled! At Rolling Hills, we put a lot of energy, resources and time into our Summer Camp, and as a result, we feel that it is one of the best in the country!

I truly believe every family should make camp a priority each summer for their child and student. Here’s why:

1. It’s Life-Impacting

Taking a week to be away from all their screens allows kids to truly hear from God (In fact, this could make a huge impact on all of us). Being away from all the distractions of social media creates an environment for students to focus on what really matters in life – God, their family, real friends and living a life that honors Him. Students are able to re-prioritize their life and make commitments to God that will have a profound impact on helping them become godly young men and women. Being a Student Pastor for 10 years, I witnessed many students return home from Camp different people. Their parents, family and friends would talk about the difference – “They used to speak to me so disrespectfully, but now they tell me they love me.” Or, “They used to treat their siblings like this, but now they include them.” It is life-changing.

2. It’s Relationship-Forming

Kids need good, strong relationships in order to be successful in life (we all do). First, kids need adults in their lives (besides their parents) who will speak truth, challenge and encourage them in the Lord. It is amazing how, as a parent, you can say something and your kids dismiss it, but someone else says it and your kids think it is the greatest thing they have ever heard! It is worth every penny to have other, godly adults affirming and speaking truth into your kid’s lives. Kids have enough bad influence from the world, they need godly influence. They need adults, both at Camp and afterwards, who will be available to them throughout the years, where they can ask hard questions and find godly answers

In addition, kids need friends. They need to be around other good kids who share their same faith in Christ and desire to live their life for Him. They have enough “peer pressure” at school, on social media and in the world. They need friends who will encourage and challenge them in the Word and in the truth of God’s love. Proverbs 13:20 can be summed up, “You are known by the company you keep.” This is so true for kids. Helping them develop godly friendships at church will impact the rest of their life.

3. It’s Really Fun!

Kids need to have fun. Kids are growing up in a world of stress and anxiety. In fact, research shows that more kids are struggling with anxiety and being medicated today than ever before. There are many factors, but the truth is that kids are having to grow up faster. There is so much pressure in the world from school, sports and even the tragedies they see on tv. They need to have fun, laugh and have a place to just be a kid.

Camp is stress relief. It is joy-filled. There are fun games, laughter and lots of smiles. Camp is spiritually transformational, but also emotionally invigorating. It is joy for the soul and so nourishing. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Kids need a dose of Summer Camp to rejuvenate their spirit.

Throughout the summers ahead, I encourage every parent to make Camp a priority for your kids. Plan for it, save for it (I have three kids there right now and it adds up, but it is worth it), schedule for it and just do it. Do it for your kids, and, at some point, do it for you as well. Maybe you didn’t grow up going to Camp. At some point, be an adult leader. The adults have as much fun as the kids. Seriously, for all the same reasons for sending your kids to Summer Camp, you need to go yourself. Review the list, and put it on your calendar.

As I reflect on my own personal life journey, Summer Camp was always one of my favorite weeks of the year. It was at Camp that I made many friendships. It was at Camp in my 9th grade year, that I first felt called to ministry. It was at Camp that I developed a deep passion for God’s Word and prayer. It was at Camp that I grew exponentially in my faith. It was at Camp, as an adult leader, that I walked with many students as they made life-altering decisions for Christ. I am so thankful for Summer Camp.

To all the Campers at RH Summer Camp, but also at Camps all over the country this summer – I am praying for you! May our God move in a mighty way in your life and may you return home different because of your time with Him.

To all the adult Leaders at RH Summer Camp, but also at Camps all over the country – Thank you! Thank you for the difference you are making for Christ and His Kingdom. If you ever wonder if you are making a difference, just look at me and many of my friends who had leaders like you pour into us as kinds. You are raising up the future leaders of the Church, and I thank you!

Join in what God is doing and make sure Summer Camp is a priority for your family each year!

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The Birth of the Men’s Leadership Network

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About a year and half ago, on a golf outing with some guys from church, I found myself in this conversation:

Golf buddy: “I was reading in Esquire about how guys deal with the death of their own father.”
Me: “Really? What did Esquire have to say about this?”
Golf buddy proceeded to tell me some of the things the article unfolded about how men handle this experience emotionally as well as the pressure they feel now being the one to take care of the family.
Me: “Is Esquire where you go to get advice about dealing with issues unique to men?”
Golf buddy: “Where else am I supposed to go?”

It was then and there that the Men’s Leadership Network was born.

I knew we had to do something to help men with the unique challenges they face. I knew we had to help equip them to understand how to handle life from a Christian perspective. God created us and gave us His Word, and so He is a much better source for men than Esquire, GQ and any other self-help magazines. After this conversation I brought it up to some men on our church staff and we began to develop topics that would be relevant to all men. “How to have a great marriage,” “How to be a successful dad,” “How to balance work and home,” “How to manage money instead of having money manage you,” “How to become the spiritual leader of your home,” and, of course, “How to deal with the death of your father.” These were all topics that we knew men needed help on in order for them to truly succeed.

There is so much pressure on men today. First, they feel the weight of trying to care for their wives, children, parents and more while being successful at their jobs as well as their spiritual lives. Second, there’s an enemy who does not want them to succeed. Satan uses tactics like pornography, money, and more to destroy their self-esteem and their marriage. Finally, men compare themselves to others and don’t feel like they measure up. They are well aware of their own short-comings and then compare themselves to everyone else’s highlight reel – thanks, social media!

The aim of the Men’s Leadership Network is to not only address the questions that guys are asking, but to connect them to Jesus Christ. As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” By interviewing Christian men whose experiences and training have made them well-versed in these topics, we were able to help others learn what the Bible says about it and how to respond as a godly man. We know that the impact on marriages, children, careers and generations will be immeasurable. God created men to succeed and it is only in Him that we truly find our worth, value and ultimate success. Let’s pray and help men become all that God desires and intends. Let’s be the spiritual leaders that God called and created us to be. Let’s change the world!

So, to my golf buddy’s question, ‘Where else am I supposed to go?”

To the Men’s Leadership Network. Join in every Thursday Morning at a location near where you work – Franklin, Cool Springs and downtown Nashville. For more information, check out www.mensleadershipnetwork.com.

Our next semester of Men’s Leadership Network begins tomorrow, April 7th. We have an incredible line-up of speakers and relevant topics that all men face. From learning how to leverage our influence, to dealing with the upcoming Presidential election from a Christ-centered perspective and even how to be a spiritual leader when someone close to you is walking through cancer, the topics are powerful and important.

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Amazon Pastor’s Conference 2016 – We’ve Returned

IMG_4246I just returned from our annual Justice & Mercy International Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon! Wow! What an incredible time with pastors from all over the Amazon. All glory to our great God!

We had 88 pastors and their wives (plus, many more of their young adult children who serve with them in ministry) for a week of training, worship, prayer and fellowship. The first time this conference was held was five years ago with 18 pastors. The goal is to help train as well as refresh these amazing servants of Christ. The entire week was filled with God’s Presence, and I believe it will impact generations.

Every year, I am spellbound by the stories of these faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. As Mike Minter, Pastor of Reston Bible Church just outside of Washington D.C. (and who has taught at all 5 of these conferences) says, “We go to teach them the Bible, and they teach us about Jesus.”

IMG_4164Pastor Diogo travels 7 days by canoe to be at the conference. Another pastor and his wife drove 3,300 km from Venezuela. They are hungry to grow deeper in the Word of God and to learn how to better serve their churches & villages. They sacrifice everything for the call of Christ.

When asked “What was your most encouraging time in ministry last year?” Pastor Cosme responded, “Everything was great! So many people came to know Jesus. My house was washed away by the floods, but we are staying with friends and the work is flourishing.” “Wait!” We responded, “Your house was washed away by the flood, but everything is great?” “Yes,” Pastor Cosme replied, “We were able to help so many people in the name of Jesus, and many people gave their lives to Christ. And, I have a much better home in heaven anyway.”

IMG_4190Pastor Nome was excited because a few years ago he found a job in Manaus cleaning toilets. This gave him enough money to buy fuel for the motor on his canoe. He could then go to other villages and share the Gospel. This year, we had men join us who had been led to Christ by Pastor Nome. God is using him to make an enormous difference in this region.

On Thursday, an 89-year-old Pastor from Manaus came to see what was happening. I was told that he had helped to plant over half the churches in Manaus. As he walked into the John Pac Center, he began to weep. He said, “I have prayed for the Amazon region all my life. There is so much spiritual darkness and so many lost people in this area. And, now, to come in and see all of these pastors gathered in worship and training to take the Gospel to the people of the Amazon, it overwhelms me.” Then he added, “I just wish I was in my 70’s again, so I could be more involved.” I love this!

IMG_4192Last year, Rosimar and Valdenor came for the first time. Their marriage was on the brink of divorce. They have 4 kids, and it’s a struggle to do ministry, raise children and provide food, especially the Amazon. Yet, through their time, they were encouraged and renewed their commitment to Christ and to one another. This year when they arrived, they came bounding up to the Center holding hands and sharing the miracles God had done in their marriage, family and ministry over the past year. They couldn’t wait to see us and share His story! I love these fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

On the last day, a group called Mission Aviation shared the results of a three-year study where they flew throughout the Amazon region and discovered over 1,000,000 unreached people. As they showed maps and revealed locations of distant villages, the pastors at the conference became passionate about reaching the entire region for Christ. They began to pray, committing to reaching other villages and to invest in raising up others in their churches to go.

IMG_4245These people inspire me. They jumped up and down when receiving a new Bible. They worshipped with sincere love in their hearts for God even in tough situations. They serve the people of their villages tirelessly and passionately. They know their eternity is secure, and they live every moment for Christ!

Thank you for your prayers and your investment in JMI and Rolling Hills as we endeavor to bless, train and encourage these incredible men and women of Christ. Let’s continue to invest in this region and help to reach every person with the love of Christ. My these faithful men and women inspire us to everything we have for Christ and His Kingdom. May we not just study the Bible, but may we also live it!

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Amazon Pastor’s Conference 2016 – We Have Arrived!

I am writing from our annual Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon. We have 110 village pastors and their wives here at the John Pac Center where the conference will be held. So many of these pastors were traveling by canoe for days to be here with us. Their stories are amazing, and their lives even more so. They deeply love Jesus, and they are passionate about His call to share His love with those in their villages and communities. They work tirelessly and battle in prayer for those they love. And, God is using them to bring the Good News of Christ to this dark region in the world.

As Mike Minter, Pastor of Reston Bible Church in Washington D.C., says, “We come to teach them the bible, and they teach us about Jesus.” Their passion for Christ is contagious. I am always inspired and encouraged in my time with these men who are in the front lines of ministry. They are the leaders of their churches and villages, which can range anywhere from hundreds of people to thousands. They are the ones who stand in the gap for the people by preaching God’s Word, helping provide education for children and taking care of the sick. The pastors, and their wives, are Christ incarnate in this region.

This week will be filled with teaching, worship and fellowship. Justice & Mercy International pays for most of the cost–the pastors make very little money and they do pay a very small fee to come, but then JMA (Justice & Mercy Amazon) covers the rest, which is a huge portion of it. We do everything to make sure this will be a week where the attendees feel renewed, encouraged and appreciated. This is their only “vacation,” and we want them to feel special. We provide all the meals, supplies, and send them home with materials for the adults and children in their churches & villages.

God has blessed us with a wonderful team from the States to teach, minister and love:

  • Mike Minter, Senior Pastor of Reston Bible Church, and myself teach the men.
  • Kelly Minter and Angela Thomas (both Kelly and Angela are Bible Study teachers and authors) teach the women.
  • Leo Ahlstrom, Rolling Hills Community Church Worship Pastor, and a team from a church in Manaus, Brazil lead the Worship times.
  • Breakout sessions dealing with specific topics are led by:
    • David Shedd, Recently retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
    • Jim Rabelhofer, Lead Pastor of Business Operations at RHCC
    • Mike Myers, Family & Children’s Pastor at Reston Bible Church
    • Harold & Regina Pinto, grew up in Brazil and are both inspiring spiritual leaders
    • Heather Crane, Leading women studies on the PGA and at the Next Door
  • Mary Katharine Hunt, Executive Director of JMI, Francie Leslie, JMA Board President, and Kari Bidwell, Logistics coordinator for JMI, make it all happen.
  • And, Sarah Rodrigues, National Director for Justice & Mercy Amazon works with the pastors throughout the year bringing mission teams, food bags and support to their work.

This is truly a team effort. It takes all of us here, and all of you back at home! Thank you to so many of you who sponsor pastors through JMI. As a sponsor myself and seeing how $40 a month is being used here, I can tell you that your contribution is making a huge difference! Also, thank you to those of you who tithe at Rolling Hills Community Church and Reston Bible Church – a percentage of what you give goes to help make this happen. And, last but not least, thank you to all of those who pray. Prayer is powerful! We are seeing God transform lives for Christ here in the Amazon through your prayers. We are all a part of something very special.

I ask that you continue praying for our team and all the pastors attending the conference this week.

Together, we are seeing God change the world!

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Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon

This weekend, I will be leaving for our annual Justice & Mercy International Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon. We have a dedicated team going there to pour into these servants of the Gospel. I appreciate your prayers during this upcoming week of travel and ministry. We have pastors coming from all over the jungle to learn how to better lead in their villages, churches and families. These faithful men and women of God will go back and impact so many lives for Christ.

Let me share an example of some of the challenges many of the attendees face and conquer to be a part of this conference. This is an email from Sarah Rodrigues, our National Director of Justice & Mercy Amazon:

From: Sarah Rodrigues
2/11/16, 11:00:24 AM

Today I woke up with a message from a pastor who has been traveling for four days to arrive at the conference.
“Dear brothers, God be praised!!! We arrived in Novo Airão today in the morning after traveling on the river. The river is very dry and very difficult. Stranded boats on the beach and stuck in banks. We did not know the river we were on, a small canal in Semiraita, and we went around several times, completely lost. God saw our struggle to navigate and provided a vessel that was traveling to Manaus and we followed them. It has been a five-day trip. We were praying for God to multiply the diesel that we are to use much more than expected.. God kept us from drifting away. Cleide (his wife) now is much better by the grace of my and our good God!! however we were very sad with the fact that a thief entered her mother’s house when they were sleeping and took 350 reais and her bag with all the medicine we had bought for the treatment and other things. That is in God’s hand. And by his grace, nothing will happen to her and her mother and relatives. My brothers, through your prayers God has delivered us from evil. Pray that we can buy her medicine; that is what we are asking God now. Peace.”

What a perfect example of passion and commitment to Christ as well as the desire to grow in leadership. The river water level is much lower than usual for this time of year and may cause similar travel problems for other pastors. Please pray for God to make a way for all those that He wants to be there next week. We have 112 people signed up and 78 of those have double-confirmed. Please pray that they all make it.

Thank you for your prayers for all of us. I love and appreciate each of you.

Godspeed as we share the love of Christ with the nations…

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10 Leadership Lessons Learned from Others – Part 2

Last week I let you in on the first five (of ten) significant leadership lessons I learned from significant leaders or organizations in my life.

  1. Never stop learning. Thank you, Roger Glidewell. My Student Pastor growing up was an insatiable learner. He was brilliant, and yet he was always working to learn more. Leaders are learners. You will never reach a point where you know it all. You must always keep pushing yourself to learn and grow. What are you learning?
  2. Develop a long-term perspective. Thank you, Eugene Peterson. This amazing author wrote A long obedience in the same direction. We are so enamored with the short-term (stock market, grades in school, etc.); however, the people who really make a difference in the world develop a long-term perspective. They know where God is calling them to go, and they focus on the “big picture.” Is your focus short-term or long-term?
  3. Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing. Thank you, Louie Giglio. I was blessed to be discipled under Louie for four years in college. Louie knew what God had called him to do, and despite so many opportunities to go in different directions, he stayed faithful to His call. I believe, God gives all of us a “Main Thing.” The enemy will work to distract us with many other “good” opportunities. What is your “Main Thing?”
  4. The hardest part is starting. Thank you, Harold Pinto. Harold has his law degree and MBA. He has run companies all over the world. And, above all, he is a passionate disciple of Christ, a wonderful father, husband and grandfather. When his son-in-law wanted to get his MBA, Harold said, “The hardest part is starting.” And whenever we want to do something new at church, Harold says, “The hardest part is starting.” This is so true. There are many excuses for why not to start, but we have to just do it. What do you need to start today?
  5. Always give God the glory. Thank you, Jesus! Regardless of the cost, Jesus knew His life was meant to bring glory to the Father. Every decision He made and every minute of His day was ordered around bringing glory to God. What a difference this will make in our thought-life, family and career. If we lead in such a way as to give the glory to God, then we will lead with boldness and passion. Where does the “glory” go in your life?

Leadership – what an amazing opportunity and an incredible responsibility. Leadership is a gift. May we be found faithful with what we have been given. My prayer is that we all become better leaders because “everything rises and falls on leadership.”

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10 Leadership Lessons Learned from Others – Part 1

We are all leaders, whether it be in our families, communities, churches, non-profits, volunteer positions, or at our children’s schools and sports teams. Leadership opportunities abound. Over the years, I have learned a few important leadership principles from a few significant leaders and organizations that I’ve had the pleasure to cross paths with. Some are well-known, others have come from growth and development over a period of time. I want to share the ten most significant lessons with you, five at a time:

  1. Never give up. Thank you, Winston Churchill. I have often wondered how many people have quit right before a big breakthrough. Right before an idea, a relationship, a transforming moment takes place. The people who really impact the world are the ones who never give up. (And, thank you for modeling this, Abraham Lincoln). Is there an area of your life where you are about to give up?
  2. Under-promise and over-deliver. Thank you, Larry Atema (and Ritz Carlton). Larry completed the largest building project in the history of Tennessee (the Music City Center) both on-time and under-budget. In the service industry (and we are all in the service industry to some extent), you learn to be realistic in what you promise and then exceed expectations. With any job given by a boss, supervisor or client, always go above and beyond – This is what separates people with the same talent. What can you do better?
  3. Accept the blame. Thank you, Sigma Chi Fraternity. When you pledge, you get blamed for everything. You learn to accept it, to not make excuses, and move on. This applies in the real world. Nobody is perfect. Instead of blaming everyone or everything, learn to accept the blame and move on. Don’t spend your life blaming others, but own a mistake a move forward. Is there is an issue that you need to stop trying to justify, and just accept the blame and move forward?
  4. Give the credit to others. Thank you, John Maxwell. Our goal is not to make a “name” for ourselves, but to bring glory to God and to disciple others. No one is an island. We are all interconnected. Giving the credit to others builds the organization, family, team and/or ministry. It is not about us, it is all about Him! And, Jesus came to “serve” others. Who around you can you encourage and bless today?
  5. Never go alone. Thank you, Boy Scouts of America. Well, I was a “RA” (Royal Ambassador), however I think the Boy Scouts coined the phrase, so I want to give them the credit (see #4). So many leaders are afraid to ask for help. We need others in our lives to help burden the load, encourage us, shore up our weaknesses and share the blessings. Who do you have around you?

Check back in next week for numbers 6-10.

Blessings on you until then.

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Men’s Leadership Network

For years, I have been burdened by the need for men to engage spiritually. We all know that when a man steps up spiritually, then this impacts his marriage (or future marriage), children, church, community and ultimately, generations. Our God is calling out men to be spiritual leaders, but so few men know how or feel equipped for this huge calling.

At the beginning of this year, we launched the Men’s Leadership Network in order to help men become the spiritual leaders that God has called them to be. Through the spring and fall semesters, we have had incredible godly men share from various leadership positions. A few of them include:

  • Travis Rosen, American Ninja Warrior
  • Dr.Ken Moore, Mayor of Franklin, TN
  • Drew Maddux, Former Vanderbilt Commodore basketball player and Head Coach at Christ Presbyterian Academy
  • Jimmy Gentry, World War II veteran and liberator of the Dachau Concentration Camp
  • Dave Anderson, Retired Naval Aviator with over 400 aircraft carrier landings
  • David Thomas, Family Counselor and Author
  • Coach Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt Baseball Coach and NCAA Championship in 2014

Who better to talk about handling stress under pressure than a Top Gun pilot; or who has a better perspective on the topic of leaving a great legacy than a World War II veteran who was there when the Dachau Concentration Camp was liberated? We’ve covered a wide range of topics this year including “How to be a Great Father,” “How to Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance,” “Healthy Ways to Discipline your Children” and “How to Have Great Sex” (record online attendance on this one). Each topic addresses issues at the core of being a great leader and speakers provide practical advice and biblical truths for overcoming some of the biggest challenges that men face in leadership at any level.

While each topic is different, I have noticed some common threads running through these interviews. First, the importance of spending time with God daily. There is just no substitute for reading God’s Word and for spending time in prayer each day. While it sounds simple, it takes daily discipline. Second, there is a strong need for men to have community. Being surrounded by other godly men brings confidence. This “band of brothers” mentality is powerful for men. It is the way we were created. Herein lies the importance of church and being a part of something like the Men’s Leadership Network. Third, this powerful call for men to engage. Engage in their marriage, with their kids, in church and community. Our society presents men as passive, but godly men step up and step out. The call to be bold and to be intentional is inside the heart of every man.

I encourage every man reading this to go watch some of these podcasts at www.mensleadershipnetwork.com. Also, wives reading this, encourage your husbands to listen as they drive to work, mow the lawn or work out at the gym. The impact is exponential as men engage in spiritual leadership. In addition, share this with other men—neighbors, co-workers, and other men at church. Finally, be on the lookout for more of the Men’s Leadership Network over the holidays and into 2016.

It is awesome seeing men step up and be spiritual leaders. I am so thankful for the godly men in my life, and I, personally, want to grow in my own call to be a spiritual leader in my home, church and community. As men, this is our chance to lead. This is our one opportunity to make an impact for Christ. This is our day and our generation. May our God find us faithful!

Here is a sample of a recent Men’s Leadership segment. In this clip David Thomas helps us know how to raise great kids. Check it out, and find more at www.mensleadershipnetwork.com.

Men’s Leadership Network – 3 Keys to being a Great Dad

This week we launched the Men’s Leadership Network. Over the next 7 weeks, we will cover topics designed to help men grow. This first week’s topic was “How to be a Great Dad” and I interviewed Jeffrey Reed, the Director of LifeWay Kids. Jeffrey leads a large team at work and teaches/speaks about parenting across the country. Jeffrey is a great leader, friend and partner in ministry at church. Even more so, Jeffrey is a great dad! He has four amazing kids. You can see the entire interview below, but here are three keys that came out of our time to be a great dad:

1. Spend time with your Heavenly Father – Whether you grew up with a good earthly dad or not, we all have access to the perfect Heavenly Father. All of our earthly role-models in fatherhood are flawed. None of them are perfect. Even the earthly dads mentioned in the Bible made mistakes. And, the fact is, none of us are perfect either. We all make mistakes. When we do, we need to admit those mistakes, ask for forgiveness, learn from them, and move on. The more we grow in our relationship with our perfect Heavenly Father, the better dad we will be to our kids. We need patience, love and grace – all of which we receive from God.

There are times that we need to stop and pray – pray before we speak, before we discipline and even before we engage our kids. Every day as we pull into the driveway and before we walk into the house, we need to ask God to fill us with the same love that He has for us. We need to focus on God’s love and His grace. Time with our Heavenly Father every morning is the biggest key to becoming a great dad.

2. Schedule time with your kids – For most of us, our lives revolve around our calendars. If we don’t schedule it, then it’s not going to happen. So, we need to schedule the most important things first. Before all the meetings and extra-curricular activities, we must schedule time with our kids. Obviously, birthdays and holidays are important, but also things like, “Dinner at home tonight with the family.” Or, “Family Devotional on Sunday Evening.” These are important as well.

Our kids grow up fast. We do not have a lot of time. And, the fact is, everything competes for our time – from work, school, sports, to so much more, it seems we do not have time for much else. Yet, one day soon, our kids will be grown and gone from the home. Then, we will wish we did not “major in the minor” and miss the important.

Scheduling time is essential. Whether it’s a “Daddy / Daughter Date Night” or taking your son to a baseball game, it needs to be on your calendar. Even consider prioritizing a trip once a year with each child in order to have some special one-on-one time. Get this – as dads we work so hard to provide our kids with “stuff.” But, the fact is, your kids don’t want stuff – they want you! Scheduling time is another key to being a great dad.

3. Pray for and with your children – Maybe you are not one who likes to pray aloud. This is an area in which you can grow. Praying with your children at night or in the morning will become you most special time. Even simple prayers make a huge impact. Not only are we asking the Lord of All Creation to provide & protect our children, in the process of praying over them we are speaking blessing into their lives and precious hearts.

There is power in prayer. Praying for your children often will impact them, and it will impact you. Texting your child that you are praying for them will brighten their day. Telling them what you are praying will invoke courage in their souls and spirit. Our Heavenly Father invites us to pray. We want our kids to know that we love them, but even more we want we them to know that God loves them. God will be with them throughout their lives. As dads, we want to always be pointing them to their Heavenly Father.

These three keys will help us be great dads! And, here’s a bonus: Love your wife well. We are demonstrating to our kids what marriage looks like. The way we love our spouse will impact their dating life, how they love today and in the future, and will shape so much of who they are. Handling conflict in a healthy way, being faithful in the hard times, and loving consistently will develop strong emotional lives for our kids.

We only have a few years with our kids at home. Let’s make the most of this time, and let’s become great dads!