Friday, May 29, 2009


As you know I am going to be preaching at Idyllwild Bible Church on Father's Day (6/21) which I am very excited about. Tim asked me to "take ownership" of the morning, which encompasses not only the morning's message, but also some creative way of recognizing some of the Father's in the congregation. In the past they have always distributed IBC root beers (Get it? I.B.C.) to some of the fathers. They ask questions like, "Who is the father with the most descendants?" or "Who has the most teenagers?" or "Who came the furthest to be here this morning?" etc... They have also had spouses and children come up and give tesimonials about the father in their lives. I wanted to do something kind of different just to switch things up, but I can't come up with anything. Right now I'm thinking of just asking some different questions, but I am not having any luck.

But I know the calibre of my readership, and so I open up the floor to you to help me brainstorm for some creative pre-message Father recognition plan.

C'mon brain trust! Help a brother out!


Roxanna/Aunt Roxanna/Aunt Roxie said...

When I first moved to Villisca, on Father's Day they handed out to all fathers little cactus with those tiny moveable eyes attached to them and little bow ties. This was done in their search to have something to do to balance the flowers given to mothers on Mother's Day. I saw in those little cactus so much more - the prickliness of the plant, the way it survives in a desert, no need for fertilizer, etc. To me it said a lot about dads. Since we do not have a virtuous woman scripture for men, this illustration can put together an array of scriptures about husbands and fathers. You and your brothers present such challenges - last week it was "how do we dismiss a service?; this week, how do we recognize dads? Just an aside - what did I get recognized for my first year as a mother - the oldest new mother - yeks -

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

Aviator Sunglasses.

Call them Top Guns.

Give them all nicknames like Goose and Maverick.

You're welcome.

barefootkangaroo said...

I was thinking about maybe hitting all the thrift stores and buying up all of their old ties.

Tate said...

If you're going to ask them questions at least make it squirm-worthy.
"Who has sired the most children?" followed by "who's had the most fun trying?"
But personally, I've never liked the whole gift and recognition thing for two reasons.
The first is that I think it is tacky, or can come across that way. It's purely a matter of taste, but taste is important. It is one of those things we do within the evangelical ghetto that reinforces the boundaries of that ghetto, keeping others out and ourselves within.
But the second reason is more important. All of that glibness just helps us to gloss over the terrible mess inside our churches in a very counterproductive way. There are certainly fathers deserving of recognition, but there are fathers in our churches who are much more in need of conviction. There are children in our churches who would be delighted to say something about dad and there are children in our churches who are being molested by dad.
I know that's a lot of cold water but the only father in our services who is entirely deserving of recognition is the Holy Father. I would start there.
Now this might sound really tacky (and here we are back at the matter of taste) but what if, after recognizing God the Father (who is after all the one with the most children, the most recent father, the one who's been a father the longest, etc.) what if after recognizing the Father the fathers in attendance were invited to come up one at a time to kneel at the altar to indicate their desire to pattern themselves after God the Father. After having knelt there and been prayed over briefly, they would be given an umbrella (cheap dollar store umbrella) and a permanent marker. They then could ask the members of their family to sign the umbrella indicating their desire to be underneath his headship and his commitment to provide that headship, protection, and provision for them.
Or Job's thing with the aviator glasses. Whatever.

barefootkangaroo said...

There's a lot of truth there. I have felt the truths you described intuitively, but your comment lent concrete words to what had formerly been vague intuition.

Good stuff to keep in mind as I go forward. Thanks, Joel!

steve said...

Hmm. I've never seen this sort of thing done, so I don't know if it's an 'evangelical ghetto' thing. If done well, I don't see why it would be in poor taste.

Moreover, the undeniable fact that God is the only F/father "entirely deserving of recognition" shouldn't prevent us from honoring the office and those who hold it, however imperfect they all certainly are. Our depravity is all too obvious, but I question whether it requires us to trade all positive reinforcement for public flagellation.

steve said...

I do (and I say this personally, perhaps betraying my questionable taste!) like the idea of recognizing the fathers by inviting them to the altar to renew their commitment to divine leadership.

barefootkangaroo said...

I did some research and found that according to the U.S. Census Bureau the necktie is the number one Father's day gift in the U.S.
So I'm going to hit all the thrift stores and for those Fathers of distinction I will hand out (hopefully cheesy) neckties.

Did you know that according to At&T Mother's Day is the busiest day out of the year for phone calls, but that Father's Day is the busiest day for collect calls? Did you you know that Mother's Day dates back to the 1800's but that Father's Day didn't start until 1972? Did you know that each year Americans spend over 11 billion on Mother's Day but only 8 billion on father's Day? As far as card giving goes Mother's day is 3rd overall and Father's day is fifth.

I am struck by the fact that Mother's Day sermons are typically about celebrating Mothers while Father's day sermons are all about how Dad's need to shape up. Of course, Dad's can do better, nay, must do better, but the disparity is striking. Fathers get no respect. We will definitely be singling out some Father's to get some neckties, but the morning will be God focused and will affirm the man's biblical role.

steve said...

AP says that for three years now, Mother's Day has actually topped Father's Day in collect calls, and last year, Thanksgiving and New Year's did too. Progress?

And if you go by first celebrations in the US, it's 1908 Mother's Day, 1910 Father's Day. Only when you bring the President into it does it become 1914 Mother's Day, 1966/1972 Father's Day.

Josh said...

I'm totally in agreement with you about the Mother's Day thing being a celebration and the Father's Day thing being a "dad's suck parade, let's do better." Give guys some credit and reaffirm their role as men under Christ's headship.

Don't know if you have enough time but you could order some cool pins from a site called Emily scored me some last year like "World Class Baby Maker" and stuff like that. They also sell extra nipples. Have fun.