By Mark Smeby
How many men actually know how to be an amazing dad? Glenn McClure sure didn’t. But he wanted to find a way. So he set out on a journey.
Having been adopted, Glenn McClure felt like part of his journey was finding his birth family, as well as a biological daughter he fathered when he was 17 but had never met. “Both of those invitations from God felt extremely risky,” McClure explains, “but those journeys powerfully demonstrated the Father’s heart and love to me in a way that I never understood. It was transforming. I met my daughter Paula nine years ago (she was 18) and met my biological family seven years ago.”
These two pieces equipped McClure to know how to be an amazing dad to his three other children and to help other dads excel as well. “I had this desire to see fathers and their families come together — giving them a space where they could connect with each other and God. Then I met other men who shared that same dream.”
Five years ago, the first Father’s Heart Weekend was born from that shared vision. Since then, McClure’s organization, Abba’s Way, has completed four hugely successful two-day father/son retreats and plan for three more in 2012.
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
McClure says the goal of the weekend is to celebrate the boy and call out the man. “We call out the men in the fathers, and the boys are continually invited up into the journey of initiation throughout the weekend.”
They purposefully give fathers opportunities to spend one-on-one time with their sons and initiate them into masculinity with rite-of-passage ceremonies, practical skill-building, and relationship-enhancing activities.
Powerful father/son imagery is used to communicate the Father’s heart throughout the weekend, as shown in Matthew 3:17 when the Father spoke over Jesus: “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!”
McClure explains, “When a boy knows that he is protected, provided for, and blessed, he can experience being the beloved son, able to grow in spirit and in masculinity covered in love.”
One dad said: “I asked my 6-year-old son what he learned from the weekend, and he said, ‘I’ve got what it takes!’ I said, ‘What does that mean?’ He said, ‘I’ve got what it takes to be a good, strong man.’ ”
McClure adds, “When we step into that glorious and mysterious space — baptizing and blessing our sons — we are showing our boys what it looks like to be a son. And not just a biological son. Through the finished work of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are sons of God.”
Taking the First Step
Glenn McClure would be the first to admit that being an amazing dad doesn’t happen automatically. His journey has taken him down a path he couldn’t have imagined. But his understanding of the Father’s heart has changed his life, his family, and many around him: “If the greatest journey begins with one step, perhaps today is the day to take your first one.”
This article originally appeared in the June, 2012 issue of ParentLife. Subscribe