Men’s Ministry Update
One of the most important influences on a woman going through an unplanned pregnancy is the baby’s father. The presence and support of the baby’s father can mean the difference between a choice for life versus death. Late last year BsideU began inviting the baby’s father to accompany the women who made Pregnancy Center appointments, and many of them have come! Our Men’s Ministry team is made up of Lance Lofton, our Client Care Coordinator, Neal Gish, our Outreach & Operations Manager and several male volunteers who have been instrumental in reaching out to these fathers, first in the Pregnancy Center waiting room, and over time as they are invited back for continued encouragement, accountability and discipleship.
About six months ago, Lance, Neal and a group of our male volunteers decided to start a weekly group for these fathers as more of them showed interest in ongoing connection. Since that time we’ve had about six fathers that have attended regularly as the group meets each Thursday. When asked what the intent and vision is for this group, Lance turned to Psalm 127 to share his heart for the men that come through our doors. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord”, Lance quoted, “we want to help these fathers see their children as a blessing, not a burden, and to help them seek to leave a legacy of faithfulness to their families – their children and their wife.”
Each of the men who attend are in their early to mid-twenties. None are married, though one is engaged to the mother of his child. The cultural messaging that has been ingrained in these fathers is that they are irrelevant, unimportant, and that to commit to a marriage and fatherhood would be limiting. We seek to help these men realize God’s plan for them and their families, recognizing that the cultural messaging denies truth, and leads to destruction. One resources used is Tony Evans’ “Kingdom Men Rising”, which emphasizes being a Kingdom man, submitting to God’s will for their lives. Another is “The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing up for the Biggest Game of Your Life” by former Super Bowl champion, Benjamin Watson. Watson’s book uses a Christ-centered approach and football analogies to coach, challenge and encourage new fathers.
Earlier this month, we held our first “Dad’s Baby Shower” for the group, where we celebrated the quickly approaching births of each father’s child (the first birth will be in January). The party started with a devotion, and each father received a devotional book, a diaper bag (which turns into a changing table), a Kroger gift card, diapers, wipes and some baby clothes. After that we played some games, one of which was a diaper changing challenge where the men competed for time to change a diaper in various challenging circumstances (one handed, blindfolded etc.). Needless to say, it was a great time, and each of the fathers present responded well to the call of fatherhood. Passersby in our Life Skills ministry heard lots of laughter coming from the room, and some of our moms commented on how glad they were to see men stepping up.
While each of the men in the group is employed, present and kind, as the group moves into 2023, we are challenging each man to take the next step and make a life-long, marriage commitment to the mother of their child, stepping in to their God-given role as the leader of their family. Lance noted that “these men want to be pursued, held to a standard and held accountable”. Please pray with us for God to use this growing Men’s Ministry to deeply impact the families we serve, and turn hearts toward life and Christ. In line with the Psalm from which inspiration for this group came, unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.