Five principles for successful outreach to fathers (and father figures)
Giving thanks for fifteen years of Who Let The Dads Out?
A small beginning - and a big heart for fathers
Fifteen years ago this spring, a Baptist church in Chester decided to launch a monthly toddler group for dads. As he tentatively opened the doors, wondering if anyone would come, little did group leader Mark Chester imagine what God had in store for Who Let The Dads Out?. Today the programme brings 8,000 fathers and father figures into over 260 church groups throughout the UK and elsewhere - with numbers constantly rising.
Back in 2003, the future may have been uncertain, but the mission was clear.
Five principles for ministry to fathers
With many churches struggling to engage fathers, the Who Let The Dads Out? vision was bold - and guided by five key principles.
4. Offering fun, food and friendship
Who Let The Dads Out? offers a welcoming, non-threatening place for men of all ages to relax, be themselves, engage in fun activities with the children in their lives, and enjoy a cuppa and one of the 100,000 bacon butties (or similar) that Who Let The Dads Out? groups serve every year.
5. Promoting best practice across the denominations
For years now the Who Let The Dads Out? team have been supporting churches of all denominations to develop this ministry. They offer a range of low-cost training events to inspire and encourage others who want to know more about how to engage with fathers, or share best practice.
Great things happen when we let the dads in!
In their own words, two fathers describe the difference Who Let The Dads Out? has made to them.
My wife and son went to live a two hour drive away ... These groups have made a big difference to our time together. Each one has given us a warm welcome. It has been a great way to meet other local dads … and it has made me aware of the church.
It was partly my conversations with the leaders that made me want to explore more about what motivated these guys and why they did what they did … I found out about a Men's Alpha course through Who Let The Dads Out? and I signed up, along with twelve others. As the weeks went by, this course changed my whole way of thinking and was very powerful. I started to read the Bible and realised how this could change your life for the better. I was fascinated by the discussions, and towards the end of the course,
opened my heart to Jesus.