Being A Courageous Dad

What is one of the most serious issues in our culture?  I believe it’s fatherlessness.  Want to make an unmeasurable difference with your limited days?  BE A DAD!  Being a Dad is well, hard.  I’m not complaining, that is just a reality.  So many men bail on being a dad for a variety of reasons, but I am here to tell you it is worth it.  There is nothing quite like loving, caring for, and raising kids to understand what is most important in life.  But let me reiterate, it ISN’T EASY!  To put it bluntly, if you are going to excel at being a dad you are going to have to develop one SIMPLE THING… COURAGE.



“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”  Psalm 103:13

So what does it take to be a courageous father?  Courage is the art of dependance on God.  The writer of the ancient scripture above states that God is like our father and he shows compassion.  God is a compassionate God and we are to depend on God for EVERYTHING.  Why don’t we have more courage as fathers?  It takes courage to make tough decisions, to stay faithful to one wife for a whole lifetime, to love unconditionally,  to set an example for our children.  Courage is necessary and here is what stands in the way.

What A Courageous Father Must Overcome…

1 – Danger – As dads, so many things threaten our family: garbage content from the media, habits of the world, music that creates crippling mantras, addiction that destroys, friends that use them, and worst of all, the battle for a healthy mind.  For example, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among our children.  We must stand up for them, teach them, discipline, pray and fight for them in every way possible.

“Hear, O sons, a father‘s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight.”  Proverbs 4:1

2 – Distractions – What have you mis-prioritized in your life as a dad?  Does work too often take precedent over time with your children?  Are you too busy saying no and pursuing your own preferences rather than teaching and investing time in your children?  Do you take time and listen, play with and just be with your children?  Have you placed God at the center of your life and are you teaching your children to depend on God?

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”  Joshua 24:15

3 – Disappointments –  Life is full of letdowns, but we must stand up as dads and fight through all the times when we have felt like we got dealt a raw deal.  Maybe it was your dad who failed you?  Be the Dad that you wanted growing up!

“…For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”  1 Timothy 4:8

4- Devastation – For some of us it takes courage just to wake up every morning.  We have battled abandonment, addiction, disease, divorce, depression, death of a son or daughter…The list goes on and on.  The good news is, this is why the church exists. This is why Jesus came and set an example for us.  Only He can turn your devastation into meaningful direction.  What is the secret?  Dependence.  When your dependance is unshakable your courage is undeniable.  No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, #Takeheart.

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

What else?  What is one way you need to be courageous as a Dad for your family?  I’m choosing #courage fighting for these 7 that God has blessed me with…

connfamily 2016 NY


Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

4 Things Dads Must Do

I stepped off the plane and watched my 3 biological children meet our 3 new adopted children for the first time, and there was pure joy!  What an INCREDIBLE FATHER’S DAY GIFT!  Over the past three years we have been waiting, anticipating and looking forward to the culmination of a vision.  I will never forget watching all of our six children hug, smile, beam, and then laugh uncontrollably on the way home from the airport.  To all of you who prayed and supported in countless ways, you were with us.  Now I’m a father of SIX!  I am blessed, children are NOT a burden.  However, I woke up today feeling and realizing that alone, this is an insurmountable task and I better focus on what is important…

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(My New Travel reality) “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”  Genesis 21:6

I’ve learned you can’t be a dad on your own strength.  There are too many responsibilities, too much stress, not enough money, not enough time, too many problems, too many disagreements and it’s HARD to please everyone.  So with these four things, I am aiming to PLEASE GOD.  I MUST depend on God to help me be what he wants me to be.  Here is what I learned from Abraham, the Father of nations in Genesis 24:

4 Things DADS MUST DO:

#1 Laugh – If you haven’t taken the time lately to laugh at yourself, your children, and the pure miracle of God allowing you to be a father, it’s time to relax!  Over the last two months especially, every day there has been a laughable moment.  The things my children say, their interactions together, their fashion sense, (or lack there of) their quirky habits, they are AMAZING.  EVERY DAD should be laughing with pure joy because God has provided these children for these years for you to empower with joy.

#2 Declare – Your words are more powerful than you can possibly imagine.  I am learning every day to declare things for my children.  My role is NOT to be their critic but to be their catalyst.  Not to berate them, but to BLESS THEM.  They look at me with desire for approval.  I’m choosing to give that to them.  Here are a few practical ways to declare things for your children.

  • Prayer – Pray over your children.  Already after three months, my new children have adopted the prayer of approval from God for a STRONG BODY, a SHARP MIND and a BOLD SPIRIT.  One has to do with the way we treat our bodies, the next, the need for us to be wise and educated so we can bless others, and the third asks for help to live a life reflecting the Gospel in everything.
  • Affirming Words – I can’t even begin to count the times I have praised my children in the last few months with words like, “that is a great choice, thank you for saying your sorry, that was excellent, you are really good at coloring…etc, etc, etc.”  There isn’t any way you can over encourage your children.
  • Tell Others – Want to see your child absolutely beam?  Watch what happens when others share with your children your fatherly approval of them.  When they find out you have been bragging on them, it will last a lifetime.
  • Make a fool of Yourself – Embarrass yourself for them.  Be extravagant in declaring gifts, hug them when their friends will see it and it feels uncomfortable.  If you truly love, you will make a fool of yourself!

#3 Follow – Your talk has to line up with what you do!  I’m choosing to FOLLOW JESUS because he is worth following.  I want them to have a dad with character.  They will not do what you say, they will do what you do.  I was reminded of this two weeks ago.  Godfrey said, “Daddy, seatbelt!”  I had forgotten, he reminded me.  We are teaching them to wear seat belts and obviously, I need to model this behavior.  Everything is modeled:  Prayer, giving, speech, word selection, eating habits.  They want to be like you so give them a high standard to live by.

#4 Receive – Where is your strength coming from?  Learn not to be the provider, but to depend on Jesus.  Let him provide the mental and emotional strength.  Let Him give you humility to choose the right thing, to love your wife with EXTRAVAGANCE like Jesus loved the church.  Let Him reorganize your priorities to live a life designed with the correct priorities.  Feed yourself scripturally.  Discipline yourself in your mind and in your actions to be determined to please God.  It’s not your own strength, YOU MUST receive it from God.


Join us this Sunday for Father’s day as we celebrate Dad’s in a BIG way and start our new Defining Moments series


Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit for more information. or watch a weekend message here