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The Value of Intentional Parenting (Bonus Episode)

The Value of Intentional Parenting (Bonus Episode)

JULY 5, 2022  |  47 MINUTE LISTEN

Listen on Spotify, Apple, and Google

Episode Overview

Every dad, no matter their background, wants to win as a father. And today on The Approach, we’ll talk about the impact that this movement is having on the kingdom all over the world!

On The Value of Intentional Parenting (Bonus Episode), we sat down with Jason Braun and Matt Crittendon from DADCAMP to talk about the ways God is moving through fathers around the world and how you can use the image of Jesus in your parenting.

Show Notes
  • Listen to Jason and Matt’s podcast—Dad Nation on Spotify.
Read the Script

Connor: Welcome to The Approach, a microcast where we help you walk with and pray for the next generation. My name's Connor Owen, and I serve on staff at World Gospel Mission. Well, we're continuing our trend during these summer months, and today is another one of our bonus episodes. A couple months ago, John and I had a chance to sit down with Jason Braun and Matt Crittendon from DADCAMP. Moms, uncles, or anyone who's not a dad, don't go searching for another podcast; this will still apply to you. No matter your role with the next generation, Jason and Matt offer insights and wisdom that can help each of us as we journey through life with the next generation. Enjoy today's episode.

Well, welcome to The Approach. I'm Connor Owen, and, as always, I'm joined by….John Rinehimer.

John: Yep.

Connor: Usually I really throw you off there. We're also joined by the guys from DADCAMP, Jason and Matt. Guys, thanks so much for taking time to join us today.

Jason Braun: Yes, thank you for having us.

Matt Crittendon: Absolutely, excited.

Connor: Well, I wonder if you could just give our listeners a little bit of context about what DADCAMP is, the purpose behind it, maybe how long you guys have been doing this as well. Just give our listeners an idea of that in case they have no context of who DADCAMP is.

Jason: Absolutely. DADCAMP started in 2006 as an extension of a ministry at a church called Oakbrook Church in Kokomo, Indiana, that I was a pastor at, at the time. We were just trying to think about ways to just reach the family. My passion was in the area of inspiring and encouraging men to step up. And I think for any listeners or for us that have been involved in ministry, we know how hard it is to get guys to get engaged. We had this piece of property, the church did, and we thought, "How could we utilize that property to maybe reach the family?" And so our lead pastor, Mark Malin, just challenged me, and Doug Mygrant is the co-founder along with me, he was the groundskeeper of this property. He took care of The Valley, as we call it, and I was the discipleship pastor.

We just rallied around utilizing that property and how could we reach them? We thought, "We never met a man that wants to be a bad father." So we're like, "Okay, well maybe they don't want to go to church. Maybe they don't want to engage with us on a spiritual level or in a spiritual conversation, but we all want to be good dads. So maybe we can reach the heart of a father through his kids." Doug and I went up to a different camp, actually, in the UP of Michigan, and we went on an experience with our own kids. For me—I don't want to speak for Doug—but God just rocked me up there and just said, "This is what I'm talking about. You can do something different, but similar."

We came back, and we went for it, started our very first DADCAMP event in 2006, and here we are 16, 17 years later. We have a dream now, and that dream is to see a world where every family has a great dad. Our mission is to build stronger fathers who build stronger families. We primarily do that through an event-based approach where we create what we think are epic experiences for dads to have with their kids. What we've seen is that this is something that dads will come to. They'll come back year after year, they'll bring their friends. It's grown from just a handful of dads in 2006, to where we are now, where in the next 10 years, our vision is to be in 25 countries and 25 states, reaching thousands of dads and families. That's just a little bit of the history, but that's where we're at now.

Connor: Yeah. Yeah. That's great. Wow.

John: I love it. I mean, I think one of the things that resonates with me and actually I'm getting ready to go to DADCAMP in September. So sorry. No pressure, guys. This episode may be deleted, so… Unlikely, no, I mean, everything I know about you guys and about DADCAMP, it just reminds me, I heard a friend say one time, men won't play a game they can't win.

Connor: Yep.

John: And so DADCAMP, I feel like from what I know about you guys, from what I hear from other dads, it's like, hey, I can do something. I can get a win under my belt.

Connor: That's right.

John: I don't just stink at this all full-time.

Connor: That's right. That's right.

John: And I feel like the world's constantly like, "You know, you're terrible at this. You don't need to be around just push the easy button." Right. You know? But before we have some more of the serious content, I know you guys have got to have some funny stories here. You've been doing this for about 16 years, right?

Jason: Yes.

John: Right. It should be the 17th year.

Jason: 17th year.

John: So funny stories early on where you guys were like, man, we're crushing it. This is going to be a homerun, epic event. And then it was just, like, fell on your face. Or maybe conversely, it was like, this is the lamest idea we've ever had. And it just was like, it took off when you saw God use it. And you were like, I thought that was going to be dumb. You know? And I don't know…stories. Yeah.

Jason: You know, Matt and I were talking about that, and you know, we were thinking, we can't remember, like, an event where…anytime you get dads and kids together, it's a homerun. The programming side of things may not be exactly how we want it to go. But when you get dads and kids in an environment and you give them space to be intentional, that part's always worked.

But, we were thinking about our president of our board of directors, his name's James Dix. And he started bringing his kids in the earliest of days and one of our best friends. And so in the early days, we would always play with fathers and sons. We'd always play dodgeball. At some point, we want to get after it and take out each other.

And James is a pretty intense guy and pretty competitive. And in the early years, for whatever reason, he had the ability to square up and peg a kid in the face, every single DADCAMP. Yeah.

John: Not intentionally.

Jason: Right. And it became such a deal like we're like, really? Again, James? Really, again? Like he's making kids cry almost every DADCAMP that we actually named it the James Dix Rule. So when we are explaining how the dodgeball tournament's going to work, now we actually say, all right, there's this thing called the James Dix Rule. We've even created slides, the James Dix Rule. And it's just this image of a guy getting just drilled. And we thought about making T-shirts. Well, he was kind famous. He's kind of become famous.

Well years go by. And the story just gets this is hilarious ending. James doesn't appreciate that this rule has been named after him. He thinks it's way over exaggerated. He thinks it's ridiculous that we keep talking about it. He goes, “It happened like once, guys,” and you're like, “It didn't. It's happened multiple times,” but this is about four years ago.

So we're well into our DADCAMP run of things and his kids are older. So he's serving with me and I'm introducing the dodgeball tournament. And I got James next to me and I'm like, “And guys, we got this thing called the James—" And James goes off. He's like, “This is ridiculous. This is hyped up. It's just completely exaggerated. It's not true, but whatever.” He's getting all attitude and all the guys are making fun of, we go out to play dodgeball. And so him and I join a game, we're standing on the back line and he's still whining about this. He's like, “This is ridiculous. Like, how come you guys won't let this go?” And he's like, he's holding a ball in his hand. And he's not really in the game, but he's staying in the back line. He just lobs a ball and just throws it, just throws it up in the air randomly. He's not aiming at anyone. And I'm watching this ball and I'm like, you've got to be kidding.

And of course, there's one girl on the other side who's not paying attention who has glasses on. And this ball just kind of comes down from the clouds and just…right between the eyes. And James is like, he looks at me. He goes, “It's true.” I can't, I can't, I have nothing to say. Like, it's, the James Dix Rule really is true. So it's just one of those things that we've had a lot of fun with over the years. But that was, that was the one, the James Dix Rule was one that came to mind.

Matt: We have a disclaimer that if you're in a dodgeball game, just make sure James is not in the game or your child's in danger.

John: Nice. Now you can have like a highlight reel of like slow motion. Like here's every kid like, “Noooo.”

John: Yeah. The little girl now wears contacts. So there's so many fun things, obviously when you do ministry, it rarely goes as planned. Right. So that adaptability is awesome. And it's great to have those kind of stories, and in those, so many times too, come to God stories too, and I'm sure you guys just have, it's hard to pick just a couple, even one, but talk just, you know, in these 16 plus years, how have you guys seen DADCAMP, change lives, change families? What are some of those stories?

Jason: How about you jump in, man? I'm doing all the talking.

Matt: Yeah. I'd say just, this would be more from a personal perspective, but I started going to DADCAMP with my youngest son, who's now 11. So about five or six years ago. And Saturday evenings are a time where we like to do some exercises of reflection and thinking about some of the themes of the weekend. And I remember we were doing an exercise that was talking about, we all have these voids that we want and need to be filled by our dads. And so us grown men were thinking about what did we receive from our dads, or maybe what did we not receive? And so we had two sides of the paper, one side to say, this is what my dad gave me that's really awesome. Knocked it out of the ballpark. Still use these things today, all positive and impactful things. Then we had a side where we were to say the things that maybe weren't so good that our dad may have passed on to us so that we could look and see, maybe take those things off the list.

As far as what we, as dads, were going to pass to our sons and daughters—and Jason tells the story great, but he has this recollection of me raising my hand and saying my paper's blank. I don't really have anything on either side. And, and my story would be that my dad, from the time I was four years old on, was absent. And so one of the ways that God moved in me that night was to show me that, yeah, you didn't have an earthly father to give you these things, but when I saved you, I started to give you the things that you needed to fill that void. So that was something I'd never really reflected on or thought about. And that was a way that God moved in my life that night and brought me to a place of forgiveness. And some of the things that God revealed to me that night, ultimately long story short, ended up in me being able to share the Gospel with my dad and him coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ in September of 2018. So God used DADCAMP in my life in that way to fill the void and to use me praise God for my dad's salvation. And now the relationship that he and I have is absolutely amazing. And so that's just a personal story of how I've seen God move through DADCAMP.

Jason: And that's where Matt and I actually met, he was an attender that weekend. I had never met him before. He just came to DADCAMP. And you know, I just remember that moment where he just kind of stopped us all and said, “Hey, can I say something?” Like, absolutely. And he's like, “I don't have anything to offer to this exercise.” And then the room just kind of stopped, and I'll never just forget just how he shared. And it was from there that night I went to a campfire that he was at, and I just kind of sat next to him. And the two of us just started to talk more and develop a relationship and a friendship from there. And here we are, you know, a few years later, but we just came off of a weekend in Illinois—first ever DADCAMP there.

Jason: And we actually had a former Indianapolis Colt that was in attendance. And at the end of the weekend, he said that this was the most, actually he said, “This is the best weekend of my life.” And I said, as a friend of mine and I were thinking about that quote, because he has a Super Bowl ring. He won a Super Bowl, and we were thinking, this was the best weekend of your life? You know, this just weekend that he brought his seven-year-old son. And so just stories like that we've seen over the years, even from so many wives that have said, “My husband came back a different husband and is a different father. Yeah. Because of the changes that I've seen happen because of DADCAMP.” But when dads find out, I don't know, we've seen...Matt and I have traveled. We've been to Ukraine together. We've been to Africa, no have we been to Africa?

Matt: Yeah, Kenya.

Jason: Africa, He's been to Jamaica. I mean, we've done several weekends together. You know, when you see dads understand how much they matter and that light bulb goes on, they get it. And the shift that then happens and how God uses that to transform their heart and their understanding of how much they matter to their family. It's an incredible thing.

John: I think it's one of the things I really resonate with you guys. Like we want to invest the next generation, Gen Z that's up-and-coming. And that includes definitely dads, parents. Of course, we're focused, intensely on like, okay, prayer and how we pray for the next generation. Walk with them, give tools to help them live missionally and on purpose, and Connor, I came across some really interesting stuff recently that I'll let you talk about a little bit, but...

Connor: Yeah. It made me think when you were talking about writing stuff down about your fathers. Have you guys heard of Jon Tyson?

Matt: Yes.

Connor: Okay. So he wrote the book The Intentional Father. So I'm making my way through that right now. And one of the steps is to write a letter to your dad on the ways he won. So that's the step I'm on right now. So I got to, I need to craft that still. But it's kind of letting go of maybe some ways your dad did not do well. But then also acknowledging, hey, you won a lot, whether I've told you that or not. And he has a podcast called The Intentional Family with Jeff Bethke, and they talk about the five levels of fatherhood, and from the bottom to the top. So the lowest level is the irresponsible father, the ignorant father, inconsistent father, involved father, and intentional father.

Connor: So Tyson talks a lot about trying to get to that fifth level of being an intentional father. You know, for me, being an involved father is really easy. It comes naturally with the three kids. My wife's a nurse, so I'm home a lot with the kids on the weekends or the evenings by myself. So it's easy to be just involved, right? Going to that next level takes a little more. And as we read some of the stats on your website, 80% of those incarcerated had a disengaged father. So obviously not at that intentional level. But where we also see is that, when a father is following Jesus, 93% of his family will follow. So we see the value of intentional fathers. Talk a little bit about how you've seen maybe the difference between a disengaged father and maybe what family looks like for them and an intentional father and what family looks like for them.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. We talk a lot about how disengaged fathers have such a negative impact on their family. We can also extrapolate that out to their others in their home, their community, churches, our nation, actually in our world. We see this all over the globe, all over the planet. And there's something important to point out that a father can be physically present, but still be disengaged. And what we mean by that is you can be there in the home, but if you're not really intentional and involved in the spiritual development, the behavioral development, the emotional development of your child, then it's really still an absence. And we share some of these specific statistics in some of our talks with dads, but poverty and behavioral disturbances and depression and suicide and teenage pregnancy, dropping out of high school, substance abuse and addiction. All of these things are the catastrophic consequences. What we call the father factor.

Matt: When a father is not present and, or is not engaged, there's a really good chance, high statistical chance that their children will suffer. Some, if not even most, of these things that we're talking about. And yet when a dad is present and a dad is engaged, he really decreases the chances of those things. We know that nothing's a hundred percent, we're not guaranteed. Right. But we can step up as fathers and be not just involved as, as you've said, but in intentional about our involvement and actually really impact in a positive way to try to keep those negative consequences away from our children's lives.

Connor: Yeah. I mean, it's easy to think, well, I'm home or I don't go do a whole lot, but you're still disengaged really. I mean, even though you're physically there, are you mentally there? And I mean, I struggle with that as somebody who wants to do well at work, or it's hard to shut it off, right? And be fully present at home with your kids. And sometimes it's easier, right? To not be present at home because...I'm thinking about this and I have a five-year-old, a two-year-old and a seven-month-old…or nine-month-old, now. So it's just, it's hectic all the time. So it can be easier to be mentally disengaged, you know?

Matt: Right, yeah. We've found that we can be there, but I shared with some dads this weekend event and dads talked about it, especially if you've had a long day at work. Sometimes you get home and go, I don't want to deal with the chaos. I don't want to deal with the noise. I don't want to have any conflict. I'm going to check out. I'm going to watch this baseball game. I'm going to watch this basketball game for a few hours. I'm going to look at my phone. I'm going to go through emails, something that know, again, your physical presence is there, but you're not engaged with your children. And we talked about the importance of sacrificing what I call “me time,” air quotes, and making sure that we're giving that time to our children. Yeah. And not just checking out for something that we want to do alone.

John: Yeah. I know Connor and I, we talk about this. I mean, you guys do a lot of, kind of the, where do we struggle in those areas and what we're talking about is relationships, right? And like, everybody's like, oh yeah. Value relationship. But the reality, is in North America specifically, I can't speak for the whole globe, but we're not killing it.

John: High-quality relationships, even though, especially in like Christian circles will say that, but we just don't know how to do relationship like we once did. And there's heaps of research around that, especially on next generation, on Gen Z, and Lord help us, with Alpha, the ones being born right now. Like—

Matt: Like my kids...

John: That name alone—Alpha is enough that if I would've been an Alpha, God help us. Like, we don't need that. But you know, Jeff Clark used to be at Fuller too. He taught tons of research around that. Like there's not as many adults in kids lives. Like there used to be. And then some recent research came out of a Springtide Institute, which is just done at the end of 2021 into 2022. So has some kind of pandemic-ish tones to it. And they said one in five Gen Zers, they're not flourishing relationships with friends or family.

Three out of 10, They're just not flourishing in any relationship with a trusted adult. They just don't have adults in their life. And then one in five feel that they don't have someone who even cares about them. So while a lot of press in the HR world is kind of being like, it's the great resignation. I think there's also some pretty fair argument to say, this is the great isolation we're coming out of. And we probably would say that just like, oh, generally, but I think when we talk specifically DADCAMP, next gen, things like that. It plays a really, really big part. And so helping change that narrative of what the secular culture says of like, man you are enough. You do you. You are the one, that all you need is yourself. You know, the word “authentic” is really popular in Gen Z. And it actually means, in the Greek, it means “write.” To write my story. And so we flip that, and the secular narrative is I'm writing my story. I got this, I make it happen. I figure out truth. And obviously, biblically, Jesus goes, oh, no, authentic is I write the story.

Jason: Right. He's the author.

John: That's right. And so talk about some DADCAMP, how you guys are helping change that secular narrative of, like, it's all about me, which is old as time? It's just self, but it's just repackaged. It's been rebranded every hundred years. Right? But now today, DADCAMP, how are you guys helping that biblical narrative of not the dad, who's like, it's my way or the highwaym get in line, you know, how are you guys helping change that narrative? I know you are, but share with us some ways you guys are seeing that take place.

Jason: Yeah. I mean, I think goes back to what Connor was talking about with Tyson's book on being intentional. I think what we hear a lot from dads after a weekend is I knew this would be fun. I knew I'd create some memories. I had no idea how intentional it would be and how it was going to set me up to have conversations that I've never had before. How it was going to set me up to have a moment where I can speak some truth in life into my child. It's going to be intentional. Like, I can actually grow this relationship that in day-to-day, life is hard. And I've never really been coached or equipped as a dad and you just kind of set me up to win and to allow our sons and daughters to have these contexts for building relationship with one another.

So I think that's really, our focus is just to help dads learn how to be intentional, learn how to have conversations with their kids, learn how to build that relationship. So you mentioned statistics about...they feel alone. We want, coming out of a DADCAMP, we hope that that son and daughter is like, you know what, I'm not alone. I have dad in my life that cares for me that, that I can go to, that I can talk to. They feel uncertainty, like you mentioned that John, that there's that uncertainty. And I think we create spaces where they can talk about life together so that they can get some of that uncertainty out and those doubts and those questions and just realize, Hey, maybe Dad doesn't have all the answers, but he was there to listen and to hear, and we can talk about those things.

And I heard a message a few weeks ago at, at Northview that just in this kind of narrative really spoke to me. And it was, when the Pharisees brought the woman that was caught in adultery to Jesus and they were like waiting to kind of trap Him to see how He's going to react, what He is going to say, but they're hurling all these insults at her. And they're saying, what should we do? And Jesus' first response was to kind of, we know that He kind of stooped down and He was swirling his finger in the sand. And we don't really know what He was writing, but He was just kind of contemplating, I think we've interpreted that. And then He stands up in the midst of all this, and He stands next to her.

And then He stayed with her throughout the whole time. And then after, He said, well, who who's going to cast the first stone? And they all start to walk away. He's there with her at the end. And then He speaks to her. And it's in that moment where He speaks truth. I mean, maybe it was hard for maybe her to hear what He said, but I think the whole thought, the whole idea here was, when our kids mess up... As a dad, as I thought it was like, I know when I mess up or if my kids mess up, Jesus stoops down to me. And then He stays with me through the mess, through the turmoil. He stands with me. And then I get through that, then He talks to me then as a dad, then I do the same with my kids.

We so often want to just react with our kids, when they make a poor decision, we just want to like, just get on them, show that authority. Or like, my way or the highway or whatever, versus like, you know what, we need to stoop with them and stay with them, stand with them through that. And then we earn the right to speak to them where they'll actually, I think be in a place where, you know what, dad has been with me, mom has been with me and you know what, they do care for me. And so I'm going to listen rather than just hearing it through a different ear. So I think DADCAMP, that's kind of what we've tried to do. Create space, you know? For that.

Matt: Yeah. I would just add that we also really plead with men to push against and reject the cultural narrative of what manhood is. We see in our culture, in our world, whether it's very overt or sometimes very subtle that we are told that our manhood is based on what job we work, how much money we make, what car or truck we drive, what the woman on our arm looks like. Or if we're single males, how many women are we sleeping with? And we are putting forth that Jesus, in our opinion, would be the manliest man that ever walked the earth. So if you want something before you that says, man, I want to be a man. Look at what Jesus did. He served humbly. He laid down his life for others. He loved and treated others as He wanted to be treated. He showed us an example of what true manhood is.

If we can get dads to buy into that as the poster for manhood and live in that way, I think we shift that cultural narrative because then they're saying I want to serve my family. And we talk about leading the family and like, you've identified, John, we're not talking about laying down the hammer and it's my way or the highway. Right. We can think that, okay, God said I'm the leader. So everybody's going to do what I say. But actually, if we look at Jesus's example, it's flipped upside down of the way the world presents it to us. If I sacrifice everything for my wife and my children, of course they're going to follow me. They see that I'm willing to die for them every day. And so that's one of the ways that we're pushing back on that cultural narrative is presenting Jesus as the ultimate man and what we should aspire to be

Connor: I think you guys are also, you're redeeming our view of Christ and of God. I think a lot of the times we get our view of who God is based on our own father. Yes, yes. And what you're doing is helping fathers look at Christ as their model. And then now kids are having a right view of who God is if their dad's living that out.

So instead of, well, God's an authority figure who's going to lay that hammer down because that's what dad did. It's no, God is a servant who loves me, who sticks with me in those really hard moments.

Jason: Yeah. That's good.

John: And it reminds you so much. We've talked before and I'm sure you guys have too, just what you guys are describing. It reminds me of that with-ness or the abiding, like the John 15 language, it's actually all over Scripture and I just missed it for years. Like, it's in Psalms and it's all over the place. and it gets translated different ways when you start looking and another word for abide is abode. So it's like, where are you going to find your home? What does home look like? And so if home's in Jesus, then how does that change the whole perspective of fatherhood and a family, including moms, too. We're not leaving them out, but like... we get it's a team effort, but I don't know. I just love how you guys are helping reframe that. It's not just, do all this stuff, too. You've got to nurture your own heart and soul. You can't just manufacture like, okay, here's the list from DADCAMP I do. And I mean, kids will sniff that out in a heartbeat. Right. They'll be like, okay, well that's fake, you know? I know. I just love what you guys were doing. It just kind of reminded me of that a little bit too. So...

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. And brought up a great point that we also tell dads, sometimes we're not knocking it out of the park, we're human. Yeah. We're going to make mistakes and we're not going to actually live this out perfectly. So how we encourage dads a lot is resist the temptation to just give up and check out because you're not doing it perfectly. We can start from a place of knowing that none of us are going to do it perfectly. And we talk about a superpower for a dad is your presence. And honestly, what we fail to see sometimes is our children don't expect perfection from us. They know better. What they want is us to be present and engaged in their lives. And I've also found that my children model forgiveness better than me or any other adults that I know.

They literally just... Guys, I'm sorry. You know, I humble myself before you. I shouldn't have said that. I shouldn't have done that. I shouldn't have said that to your mom or treated her that way, or I shouldn't have reacted that way. And they literally like, snap, like that. Yep. “It's forgiven, Dad.” Over. They forget it and they move on. They don't hold it against you. And so I think, as dads, we can be encouraged with that. We're not going to get it right every day. We're not going to get it perfect. But we don't have to. We have to be intentional. We have to be present. We have to be engaged and that's still going to have a tremendous positive impact with our children.

John: And we've mentioned moms a little bit. We don't want to leave moms out. Yeah. I mean, how do you guys see moms and dads winning together and leading the family together? I mean, obviously if Dad goes on the journey by himself to follow Jesus well, and doesn't have Mom with him and hand-in-hand, it's not going to go well,

Jason: It's funny because over the years, I mean every year it comes up three to five times, I would say, where you'll get this comment at DADCAMP, like, “When's Mom camp?”

It comes up all the time. Or maybe Mom's dropping off her husband and her daughter or son at DADCAMP. And she's like, “I want something like this for me.” And our postures always like, “Well that's not our calling, and we probably wouldn't be very good at that.” But if someone's is, that's great, but with this whole idea of the father factor that we've already talked about, we live in a world, in my opinion, that moms are, have been forced to do their mom thing and the dad thing because dads are just failing to complement their wife or the mother of their children in ways that they need to. And so Mom is finding herself fulfilling her mom duties and trying to step up and do whatever she can from the other side and we try to encourage moms all the time.

Like, you guys are knocking out of the park, like moms are the best. Like, they're the glue that holds the family together. They are the nurturers. I mean, they are incredible. We just, as dads, we got to step up and come alongside of our wives and our moms and be that partner that they need. But to moms, we encourage dads a lot, like different events about establishing a vision for their family. Well, that isn't done alone. Like think of that stuff through, and then meet with your wife and together, come up with like, what do we want for our future? What do we want for our family? What do we believe? And then you come up with a vision together and then you start implementing together.

It's not, I do this, you do that. Like together, we're going to be about this vision that we're going to take our family through and getting them involved. And one thing we've talked about before that we've read in different research and books is just the importance of stability, structure, and consistency in a home, how important that is for our children, because we live in such an unstable and unpredictable world and inconsistent world that our homes need to be that safe place. Well that happens with moms and dads together, having a plan to how do we make our home that safe, consistent, structured environment for our kids, and dads can't do that alone. I don't think moms can do that alone. We do that together.

And so often, sadly, because I think men have failed to be the spiritual leaders that sometimes when we've kind of figured it out and we're like, okay, I got to do that. And we start to, sometimes it's hard for our wives and moms to believe that he's really going to do that because there hasn't been a history, a track record of that. And so I would just encourage moms if you're sensing that there's some change there to just be patient and to try to honor that desire of your husband to kind of step up in his area of servant leadership. And I think that's just something we try to encourage because it's hard after years of kind of feeling like I've been doing this on my own, is he really going to do it this time? To give us some grace and to come alongside of him and just really encourage him to continue if he's taking some steps in that direction, but we love you moms. Yeah.

John: Yeah. Just to clarify dads, leading would not be going to your wife and saying, Hey, you really need to go to Mom Camp.

Jason: That's—

John: If you do that, make sure you put a GoPro camera on so we can watch that trending. But...

Matt: My wife has joked that Mom Camp would be sending all the moms together and then the dads are taking the kids and then they're all going somewhere. And I said, that sounds like a vacation for moms, not Mom Camp. So...

John: That's funny. Well, Hey, I know one of the things we connect on to is just our heart for the world and knowing that man, God's heart isn't just for America, it's for the nations. And seeing that we're not the center of the universe, that's God's job, you know? As you guys want to get in, and we want to help you get in those 25 countries by the way, too. So do DADCAMP all over. I think there's so many things our missionaries and global workers around the world would just both personally, as well as people, their ministry would just be a home run. But I know this is a bigger question and maybe hard to answer, but like, if you could summarize, or even if it's one thing, have you seen some consistent trends or something like with dads that just across all cultures, we see like..

Connor: He teed it up for you, Matt.

Matt: Yeah. So the move of God in this ministry, and I've been intricately involved for about the last four or five years…one of the things that amazes me is that God has opened doors for us to go into 12 different countries. And what was birthed in Jason's heart 17 years ago, as one weekend in Russiaville, Indiana, now is a global movement. And only by the hand of God does that happen. And Jason hasn't even identified countries and said, I want to go there. God has brought the relationships and connections to him.

John: WGM being one.

Matt: Yeah. Wow. Yeah, absolutely. Getting us into Honduras, Honduras. So in that context, it's amazing that no matter where we go on the globe, it doesn't matter the color of someone's skin, rich or poor. It doesn't matter if they have faith or no faith at all.

It doesn't matter what language is spoken. We found that every single dad has something planted in his heart by God that he wants to be a superhero for his children. He wants to be a good dad. Jason said that earlier, we've never had a guy look us in the eye and say, “Yeah, I want to be a bad dad. It doesn't bother me.” And so we feel like there's this connectivity like you've identified, John. God has a heart for dads all over the planet. Not just Indiana dads or American dads, but Haitian dads and dads, the Dominican Republic and France and Ireland and Honduras and democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya and Guatemala. All over the world we see this consistency of what God is doing in dads’ hearts.

And I think we see the importance of fatherhood from our Heavenly Father in the last chapter of Malachi. Those last two verses He says that He's sending the prophet Elijah before that great and terrible day of the Lord. And that his preaching will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. And if you think about it, that's the last thing that Israelites hear from him for about 400 years before Jesus comes on the scene. So what an impact and what a sort of last words I'm going to give you for four centuries is going to be about fatherhood. It connects all of us all over the globe. If you're a dad, you're in this movement, we're connected.

John: I love it. Well, you may have answered my last question already here, but maybe some guys are slow learners like me here and again, I guess the last softball here would just be, what's one thing you wish every dad knew?

Jason: How much he matters. I just feel like our culture has devalued how much a dad matters in so many different ways. You know, you think about TV shows we watch, movies, and look at how fatherhood is portrayed. You know, he can be the comic of the family. He can be just kind of the guy that they laugh at, the guy that makes it... And dads need to know how much they matter. Like there's this thing that we say over and over the father factor, the father factor, the father factor. Without our dads, this world just isn't the way God intended it to be. The kingdom can't be what God wants it to be. And the kingdom can't grow without fathers. And we just haven't been told that. We just haven't been told how much we matter, how much we imprint and put identity into the hearts of our children, how much, as Connor said, how much our children's understanding of God comes through us as fathers or not, you know?

And so that, I mean, for me, I think as Matt said, no matter where we go, we try to remind dads how much they matter. And it's like they've never heard this before. And when that light bulb goes on, because it's in us. I spent years in the medical profession and I would go into prisons and I don't care, if that's a zero out of 10 dad to the guy that's a 10 out of a 10 dad. You know, it's in all of us. We want to even be a better dad. Go from a zero to a one or a 10 to an 11. It's there, but we've never heard how much we really matter. We want that, but we don't really know the impact that we truly do have. And so, yeah, that's a long answer to your question, but just how much they matter. Dad's just how much you matter. Yeah.

Matt: I would just add quickly also that dads need to understand that they have what it takes. That's one of our sayings at DADCAMP. “You have what it takes.” And I know that because if God made this such an important thing in our hearts, then He equips us to be able to be successful at it. We serve a really good, amazing, awesome God who doesn't call us to things and then leave us ill-equipped. So as we lean into Him and trust Him, we can be confident that he's put inside us exactly what we need to live this out well.

Connor: And I know for, well, a big part of The Approach is we know that we have to start with prayer. We as dads, especially, we can just jump in and say, “We got this, get out of my way. We'll solve this.” But if we aren't taking time to pray, to read Scripture, to be formed and filled by Christ, it's not going to go well. And for you guys, I've had those moments myself and I stumbled across this verse that Jason and Matt are going to read over us a few months ago. And it's kind of an image of what Moses wants families to be I think, and it's children, turning to their fathers to look for the old way, for stories of the past of where God has just shown up. So Jason and Matt are going to read a scripture over us and then are going to lead us in prayer as we try to do this work as fathers.

Matt: Yeah. Well this is Deuteronomy chapter 32 verse seven. “Remember the days of long ago, think about the generations past. Ask your father and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders. And they will tell you.”

Jason: Father, I just love the fact that you primarily want to be known most and foremost as father.

And God, I just pray for just all the dads that are listening, that they would be reminded that they matter so much that you've literally given us the same name that you want to be known by. And that is an incredible privilege. It's also an incredible responsibility, and one that we can't fulfill without you at the center of. And so God, a reminder is just that being a dad, even being a mom, it's a calling that God, you chose us as parents to be the parents of those kids that you've given us. You didn't choose our next door neighbor or our best friend to be our child's parent, but you chose us. And so as much as that can be overwhelming, it's a privilege and it's an honor, and we are thankful, God, for that responsibility to be. But we just look to you to lead us and to guide us so that we can lead well, love, well serve. Well, so God, I just pray for just all the parents listening. As we just try to navigate our kids through a world that's difficult, that's confusing, that's unstable. And I just pray that... We just pray for wisdom. God, we're just, we look to you for wisdom that you would help us just discern well and love well. And may our kids just know that we are a safe place.

A place that they can turn, a place that they can find safety, a place they can find security, a place that they can be loved. God, we pray for just this ministry, this podcast, for WGM and for the incredible, incredible work and calling that you've given them and that God, you would protect it and watch over it. And I just pray for all the leaders, the missionaries that are all over the world, that you just allow them the favor to grow your kingdom as you see fit. And so God, we're just thankful for this conversation and for places like this to grow and learn from one another. And, but God, we ultimately just ask that everything we say and do would honor and glorify you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Connor: Amen. Well guys, thanks so much for taking the time. I know you guys are both busy. You're probably getting ramped up for a ton of DADCAMPs. So thanks for taking the time, guys. We really appreciate it.

Jason: Thanks for having us.

Matt: It's been awesome. Thank you.

Connor: Thanks for joining us today. As we pray for and walk with the next generation, as they seek to use their gifts, talents, and experiences to journey with Jesus and participate in the Great Commission. Thanks for sharing The Approach with others and rating and reviewing it as this helps others find the podcast for some of our resources. You can see our show notes on our website,

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