Here are a selection of other generic ideas to help to get to know the men in your group better. These ideas will often overlap with more general men’s ministries. When organising these types of events, it’s good to be mindful that you are seeking to encourage your dads to be engaged parents so these shouldn’t become additional opportunities for dads to ‘go missing’ from their parental responsibilities – balance is the key!
Not everyone’s cup of tea but it works for us! Get the dads together once a week to play football and then meet somewhere afterwards to enjoy a drink and a chat. Organise occasional friendly matches against other teams. If the results don’t go your way, just try to enjoy the chance to have a run around while you still can!
If you have a group of dads with children aged about 7 upwards, then you also have the opportunity to organise dads, lads & lassies football sessions.
Eating together is one of the best ways of getting to know people better and for having discussions in a relaxed atmosphere. You could arrange a regular meal out (maybe a couple of times per year), such as an evening get-together (a curry night perhaps) or a morning meet-up (a big breakfast or brunch).
As boys get older, it can be difficult to keep them engaged in church – particularly on Sundays. It can also be a challenge for us, as men, to find opportunities to talk about our faith with the boys. A Men and Boys Sunday Breakfast is a fun and purposeful way to spend time together. Find out more here.
Who Let The Dads Out? is all about engaging dads as parents in their wider family context. So just once in a while (maybe once a year), invite the mums along to a Who Let The Dads Out? session so that they can see what happens. Be aware of any single dads in your group and make sure you discuss this with them before you start to promote/advertise it.
Again, this is a good idea to do perhaps just once a year. Arrange a day trip to the seaside or other attraction for all your dads, their wives/partners and their children. Each family can be responsible for their own packed lunch, travel, and so on, but you can plan some suitable games that everyone who wants to can join in.
Is there an opportunity to organise or to invite your dads along to a really well-organised, non-cringy event with an evangelistic element? How about going en masse to an Alpha supper – this might open the door for some of the dads to attend an Alpha course? Or, perhaps there are men’s breakfasts running in your area with well-known Christian speakers. Maybe there is someone in your church who you can work with to put on a really interesting evening.
Men are often naturally competitive, so if you set a challenge (a bike ride, a fun run, a mountain hike, and so on), it may capture their imagination. You can combine this with fundraising for your group, for your church, for a local charity or for Care for the Family.
If there is interest amongst your dads, why not offer to run a parenting programme for them? Care for the Family has a range of great parenting programmes and courses including:
Parentalk – popular DVD-based courses designed to support parents during the primary years and teenage years
Daddy Cool! – a 5 session parenting programme designed to explore the challenges of being a dad
Time Out for Dads – a Positive Parenting course designed specifically for fathers (course leaders need to be trained to deliver Positive Parenting courses).