The Lutheran Witness

Dads Being Dads

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  1. This is a good article providing much food for thought. I see the grave effect, of dads not attending church in my own family, and community. Reflect on these words “grave effect” one moment and it is easy to discern the “dire consequences” spoken of, in the article. This problem is more urgent than we think. I wonder what more can be done to draw in, and strengthen our families? The father singular, is a part of the whole plural. The family unit, all connected together by blood, or affiliation. Focused outreach, and ministry, to families, and singles, seems vitally needed. Do more women than men, attend church overall? My casual observation says no. However, if it is true than more single women, than single men attend church; it begs the question. Why? This requires and deserves committed attention, by the church at large. Rather than a composition of single women, and single men with kids; whole family units are the largest component of the church. As a single young woman, married with a non-attending spouse, and later as a widow, I found it uncomfortable – culturally speaking – to attend church alone. It seems the majority of church members are connected by family ties. It is easy to feel like an outsider, justifying staying home, in order to avoid what may be one more sad, and awkward, experience as a single, adrift in a sea of marrieds. The struggle is continuous, and real. Church families tend to interact primarily within their own unit, or with other whole family units; content to nurture, and enjoy, their own fellowship within the church. Not so much with singles, or with singles, and their children. Often chuch families are unconscious, or unaware of the discomfort some singles experience within the church. This accentuates the difficulty and low occurrence, of one-parent families being drawn into the church, and remaining. Pointing to the problem, encouraging fathers who have chosen not to attend church, up to this point, to now turn around and bring their kids to church, is a good start but we shouldn’t stop there. It may be worthwhile to look at two other factors preventing, or hindering, church attendance. 1. How do we communicate the importance of church in such a way that people desire to come, and bring their children, recognizing the value of membership. 2. Once they come, how do we welcome, and support them, to be fully esconsed into our life together as God’s family?