Dads are not from the Marvel Comic Universe but are expected to perform like they are. It’s not easy to be a dad. There is no orientation for the job. It comes with moments of joy and pain. Often you get blamed for things you know nothing about, or you are expected to be a problem solver with or without experience. There are no manuals. However, the best possible, closest thing to a manual, that will give you some directions is the bible. For example, consider Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord” (NLT).
If you ask 10 dads what this scripture means, you may get 10 different answers. Yes, being a dad can be a challenge, but thankfully, it’s not impossible. The statements mentioned above are responses from different discussions with a group of men I met about six years ago, and to this day we have maintained a level of friendship with the common bond of being a dad.
Let me tell you about this village of dads. They are ordinary guys that meet every Friday for about one hour from 8 – 9 a.m. at Calvary Christian Academy. I initially began attending because my son and daughter were students at the school. When I first heard about the opportunity for dads to come together, like some of the new dads, I did not want to go because I was not interested in another Bible study. However, six months into the school year I showed up, and thus a learning experience began. Although we were from different walks of life, we had much in common, and to every man in that group, the most important thing was, “How can I be a better dad in my reality?”
The group was led by Jason Bates, who I believe was the right guy to lead the group in so many ways. He never professed to be a perfect dad, and he made it clearly known, as he would often say that “I’m learning on the fly just like the rest of you.” His biggest attribute was his transparency, and we all respected that. Billy Ingersol was another dad in the group. He was a great balance, as he was thought of to the same degree as the “Gronk” to Tom Brady (Jason). We would look to him when Jason was not around. They both worked well together in leading the group.
The group is called CCA-DADS, which was formed for prayer and Bible study to discover what it means to honor God as men and fathers. Discussion topics ranged from “What it meant to be a helicopter dad, lawnmower dad, or snowplow dad” to “How to be better husbands.” Discussions also covered men that were single and their issues, even divorced dads’ issues on how to raise children when living in separate homes. Additionally, we developed a closer fellowship through various gatherings such as cook-outs, football watch parties and eating breakfast together.
The CCA Dads Group – Iron Men of God
Seasons come and seasons go. It has been almost ten years since Jason has led the CCA Dads group and now, he and his family are moving on to their next assignment. Nonetheless, his legacy and impact of the CCA Dads group has created a solid foundation for the guys in many ways. The following are individual comments from some of the dads:
Joel Devaux – “The group allowed us to focus on what Christ thinks is important regarding raising my children. Before attending the CCA Dads group, my priorities were different. I did not have God in the correct order of importance or consulted with His word for wisdom as a father. The second impactful area was having other CCA Dads pour into my life with a genuineness. I did not have my dad growing up; therefore, the wisdom shared in each class was important to me. I was able to implement numerous ideas shared by other dads in the group.”
Rick Ricardo – “When I was invited to attend the CCA Dads Bible Study, I gladly did. I did not know it was not a traditional “Bible Study.” I had joined a group of like-minded, open and transparent Christian men with the same types of opportunities and challenges I had. The CCA Dads is a fellowship and a band of brothers gathered to share how God’s word impacted and influenced them throughout their life experiences with their kids, spouses, work and careers. Eternally grateful to Jason and Billy for their leadership and for allowing me to be a part of this blessed group of men.”
|Billy J. Ingersol – “When I enrolled my kids in CCA, one of the first things I did was seek out the men’s group. The group has been a blessing to me and my family. My wife even notices a difference in the summer and will ask me when it starts again. Jason says he is not compassionate but has a heart to lead and serve others. I have seen this firsthand out in the community. Guys really appreciate Jason’s transparency. It makes people feel welcomed and like they are not alone.”|
Brian Haywood – “This has probably been the first men’s group I attended where the leader was the most transparent person in the room as it relates to his life, his struggles and insecurities as a husband, father and businessman. It has been in his humblest of moments that I’ve connected with him because I knew I could relate. Jason is by no means a perfect man’s man, but he’s a Mark 1:17 fisher of men. He has help me understand that while God’s grace is sufficient it’s not enough. We are called as men of Christ to change the world through our marriages, children and the relationships we form outside of church.”
Jon Johansson – “What I have appreciated most about how Jason has led the CCA Dads fellowship throughout the years is his authenticity. Authenticity doesn’t imply perfection, but honesty with oneself and with those around you. His manner of sharing failures allows for everyone in the room to recognize we are not alone in our own missteps. And while Jason may not draw attention to the triumphs in life, we see them in his steadfast relationships with Maribeth and Taylor. It’s a reflection of his character, of not giving up, of a consistent relationship with our Heavenly Father, of digging into God’s Word, and listening to the Holy Spirit. One of the greatest weapons the enemy has is to isolate us. Jason has helped us all to remember we are not alone as we walk through the seasons of life.”
It’s to God’s glory that the CCA Dads group has been great example of Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, which makes us IRON MEN. To which the Marvel Comic Universe, cannot compare.
For more information on the CCA Dads, visit ccceagles.org.
Newton Fairweather is the pastor of Faith and Joy Church and the CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin.
Read last month’s article by Newton Fairchild at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/the-road-less-traveled/