We were very privileged to have Mark Chester and Tony Sharp from Who Let the Dads Out on Friday 5th June at Church House. A big thanks to Andrew and Barbara for allowing the use of the CIYD office which was a great venue. Fifteen of us gathered together – a mix of clergy, family and children’s workers and community workers to hear more about this ministry amongst men and children.
Mark Chester is the founder of ‘Who Let the Dads Out’ hosting the first group in his home church Hoole Baptist in Chester in March 2003. Mark spoke of the journey he has been on –realizing how important his role is as a father to his own children and also having a desire to be a positive influence on other men and boys in his church.
When Bible Reading Fellowship was interested in supporting the “Who Let the Dads Out” initiative, they were able to grow the organisation and now there are 184 registered groups up and down the country. Tony Sharp, who is the National Director of “Who Let the Dads Out” is also from Hoole Baptist. Tony showed us a presentation about their work looking at the biblical basis for working with fathers and their children and showing us what a typical Who Let the Dads Out group looks like.
Who Let the Dads Out provides a space on a Saturday morning for dads to come along with their preschool children. It is run in a similar way to a Toddler group with the addition of bacon butties and newspapers along with the tea and coffee. If the church has an existing Toddler group through the week, families may already be connected, but in the majority of cases the father will not be known to the church volunteers. So this is a way to connect with the whole family.
Over lunch we had a question and answer session where Mark and Tony were able to listen and share their ideas in a more personal way. The Who Let the Dads Out team have been developing resources beyond Dads and their preschool children such as the SODA Club –School’s Out Dad’s About – for school aged children and their dad or male carer, “Daddy Cool” – a parenting programme for men and “Soul Man” – a discussion group for men to explore their spirituality and develop their thoughts around faith issues.
For more information about Who Let the Dads out – check out their website by clicking here
They also have a number of publications including
Who Let the Dads Out – by Mark Chester
Through the Year with Who Let the Dads Out – by Mark Chester and Tony Sharp
SODA – School’s Out Dad’s About – by Mark Chester
The Soul of Football – by Mark Chester
All of these are available from the Bible Reading Fellowship website. Click here to get to the website.