3 Ways to ‘Honor Our Fathers’ at Church
Eight times in scripture—from Exodus to Ephesians—God exhorts us to “honor our fathers.” And when something’s mentioned that many times in the Bible, it’s definitely worth noting.
But what does honor really mean? The Greek word for honor means to revere, prize, and value highly. It’s a matter of giving high regard and respect to the person and to the position of fatherhood.
Father’s Day is coming. And like Mother’s Day, you’ll be welcoming visitors into your church who may have never before darkened your doorstep. How will you honor them? How will you give them the respect God says is due them in the space your church provides?
Here are three dads who will undoubtedly be visiting your church on Father’s Day, and three ways to design your space to meet each one where he is:
1. Simplifying Sunday for Single Dads
You’ll be able to spot these men by the bags on their shoulders and the ones under their eyes. Make things easier for them—every Sunday, but especially on Father’s Day—by placing spotters in the parking lot, people on the lookout for dads with kids. Maybe their wife is sick this week, or maybe there’s no wife to speak of in the family. It doesn’t matter. Meet these men right where they are. Have greeters ready to carry their bags, kids, and concerns all the way from the car to the children’s check-in area. And don’t stop there. Make sure greeters are stationed in the children’s area after each service, ready and willing to escort those same dads back out to their cars.
Also consider designating a special section in the parking lot for single dads—the same way you might hold specific spots for visitors or new and expectant mothers. Or perhaps set up a valet service. Be creative in how you accommodate these men!
And finally, make sure there are changing tables in all bathrooms throughout the church. Don’t assume that only women change diapers. Make sure that all dads have the ability to easily change their baby’s diapers in any of the restrooms you offer.
2. Accommodating Aging Dads
Dads come in all shapes, sizes, and situations. Be sure to consider and make accommodations for those dads who can’t get around easily anymore. Here again, greeters can be helpful in holding doors, pushing wheelchairs, and clearing paths, but try to do more than that. Think about how you might be able to redesign your space to make these dads feel special.
For example, on a normal Sunday we tend to confine the wheelchair- and walker-bound to the last row. What if you reversed that on Father’s Day? What if you reserved a specific section for these dads right up front? Perhaps you could relocate your stacking chairs to make space for wheelchairs. And if that’s not possible, have your ushers guide these dads down the aisle and check their wheelchairs until after the service. Only you know what’s possible and what will work best in your church. Come up with some unique ways to best honor the aging dads who visit you this coming Sunday.
3. Helping Dads Who Are Hurting
Men get sad too. Even the roughest, burliest, and manliest of dudes grieve sometimes. Consider the men entering your church building on Sunday who may be especially hurting on Father’s Day and make a space for them.
There are those men who carry heavy burdens on this day. Perhaps it’s a dad who’s lost touch with his son, or the son who hasn’t spoken to his dad in years. Or maybe it’s the dad who’s been struggling for years to offer solid leadership to his wife and kids. Or perhaps it’s the man who will be seeing yet another Father’s Day pass, still hoping and praying to one day be a dad himself.
Create a space where these men can go, adding elements that can make it most suitable for men. Offer these men a place where they’ll feel comfortable to enter, reflect, and share. Pick a room with mostly masculine colors, such as blacks, dark blues, and greens, and offer strong furniture pieces, like couches and recliners. And make sure there’s plenty of coffee and doughnuts on hand.
Give these men a chance to connect with others, if they so choose, or just remain in silence—taking in the solitude of the space you’ve created.
Be intentional and creative about how to pay respect to the dads in your congregation, especially those who may feel marginalized in the world and at church. Every Sunday, including Father’s Day, is a great opportunity to honor our fathers.