By Darren Lewis – founder and facilitator of Fathering Adventures
Between 1999 and 2007, my wife and I would welcome men and women into our Living Room most evenings, and minister into their lives, usually in relation to either personal or relational issues they were experiencing at the time. Those times were always very sacred, holy, and rewarding, for everyone involved. We would have the honour and privilege of seeing Jesus do what He does… healing hearts, freeing souls, restoring lives & relationships, and the transformation and life that follows. The problem was… we became too busy. People who we had ministered to would tell their friends, who would go on to tell their friends. And sadly we just never felt good about referring them to anyone else. Something needed to change. So I looked back over those nine years, to see if there was a common thread or theme that I could identify… and what do you know… there was. 99% of all individuals we ministered to had encountered a father-wound early in their life’s story. Is it any wonder? Just look at The Trinity after all – The “Father”, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. We have an enemy who masquerades as a “father”.
Jesus referred to him as “the “father” of lies”. (John 8:44).
We view our Heavenly Father through the lens of our earthly Dads. The last thing that God said to His people, before going into communication silence for 430 years, prior to launching His great rescue mission of humanity (sending His son), was in reference to “fathers”… “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”. (Malachi 4:6). Harvard Sociologist and author David Blankenhorn said the following about fathers and father absence… “Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. It is the leading cause of declining well-being in our society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child abuse to domestic violence against women. Yet despite its scale and social consequences, fatherlessness is a problem that is frequently ignored or denied. Especially in our elite discourse, it remains largely a problem with no name.”
The impact of father absence is immense… • 85% of children with behavioural problems come from fatherless homes. That’s 20 times the national average. Source: Centre for Disease Control; • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. That’s 20 times the national average. Source: US Department of Justice. • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centres come from fatherless homes. That’s 10 times the national average. Source: Rainbows for all God’s children; Knowing that prevention is better than cure of course, I set out on a world-wide search to find what ministry existed that was helping to prevent father-wounding from occurring in the first place.
Whilst I did find a few excellent authors, Pastors, counselors, & ministry leaders who understood the phenomenon e.g. Robert Lewis and Men’s Fraternity, John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart Ministries, and Gordon Dalbey, very few were active in the prevention of father-wounding, anywhere in the world. For that reason, on July 1, 2008, I officially launched ‘Fathering Adventures’… a ministry that experientially guides and equips men to be intentional in their role as fathers.
That is done through the facilitation of uniquely-crafted Father-Son and Father-Daughter Adventure experiences, in Tropical North QLD, S-E QLD, S-E NSW, NSW (North of Canberra), VIC, and even internationally at times e.g. Queenstown, NZ, Nepal, and China. Firstly, we help fathers to have thriving relationships with each of their children. And secondly, we help fathers guide their teenage and older children through the most difficult of all of life’s transitions, that between childhood and authentic adulthood… putting childish ways behind them, and talking, thinking, and reasoning as adults. (1 Corinthians 13:11). Each of our Father-Son Adventure experiences always contain the following key components… 1. Group outdoor adventure activities, 2. Coaching / training and instruction on topics like Intentional Fathering, Sonship, Conventional Manhood versus Authentic Manhood, The 4 Marks of a Real Man etc., 3. “Intentional” one-on-one time, and 4. Fathers affirming / blessing their child, and the use of ceremony. As a result of participation, fathers, and their children, have stronger and healthier relationships, clear direction, compelling vision, and healthier identities. Our various Father-Son and Father-Daughter Adventure experiences are as follows… - “Fathering Boys” Father-Son Adventure Weekend experiences – for sons aged 7-13 years inclusive, - “Fathering Girls” Father-Daughter Adventure Weekend experiences – for daughters aged 7-13 years inclusive, - “Prepared for Manhood” Father-Son Adventure experiences – for sons aged 13 years & over – no max. age limit, and - “Prepared for Womanhood” Father-Daughter Adventure experiences – for daughters aged 13 years & over – no max. age limit. And of course all of our Father-Son and Father-Daughter Adventure experience are not just open to biological Dad, rather they are also open to father-figures (Step-Dads, Uncles, Grandfathers, mentors, Pastors, teachers, coaches etc.). Pieter, the proud father of son Regardt and daughter Danique, from Brisbane, in S-E QLD had the following to say about his experiences with us… “Fathering Adventures helped me to better understand my role as father, and created a springboard for the future, in terms of my relationship with each of my children. Fathering Adventures is a must for any father willing to invest into his relationships with his children, no matter how good or how bad those relationships are at present.”. We’d love to have the opportunity to serve your family during one of these fun, significant, life-giving, and life & relationship enhancing experiences. We’d also really appreciate your help in telling other fathers and mothers… especially mothers… about us, and our vital, Kingdom-centred mission. And finally, we encourage you to explore our website… www.FatheringAdventures.com.au .
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