"Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation."
—Barack Obama, Father's Day 2008, Apostolic Church of God, Chicago, IL
Worship Planning Notes
Father's Day evokes many different emotions—some good, some negative. This special day is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the gift of our earthly fathers, grandfathers, and father-figures. Consider these ideas as you plan your Father's Day Service:
Involve as many fathers as possible in the service—doing readings, leading in prayer, etc.
Share experiences. Let members of the congregation speak of their experiences of being a father or of being fathered. Before the sermon (or as part of it) it might be possible and appropriate to include such an element of 'testimony.' This might include, for instance:
A panel of three fathers at three different stages on the joyful and challenging journey of fatherhood;
Having a new dad describe the difference being a father has made to his life and his faith;
Inviting someone to share their experience of having a father who let them down badly, and the difference that knowing God's love has made to them;
Inviting a grandfather to speak about what it is like to be a grandparent, including any advice he has for new parents, or any things he wishes he had done differently when his children were young;
Inviting a single dad to talk about what support he has received (i.e., men's ministry retreats, seminars, etc.) from the church to help him rear his child/ren.
Do a spotlight on a specific group of fathers in the service (i.e. newly baptized/new members who are fathers, oldest father, youngest father, father with the most children, father with adopted/foster children, father who is the longest married, newly married father, men who have played the role of a father in someone's life, etc.).
Include a special dedication or consecration of fathers during the service and present each father with a copy of the book God's Man: A Daily Devotional Guide to Christlike Character by Don M. Aycock
Combine traditional hymn tunes with newer praise choruses to demonstrate the value of the past and its influence on contemporary music:
"All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" (2c) with "I Sing Praises to Your Name" (4c)
"How Firm a Foundation" (2b) with "Firm Foundation" (4d)
"I Sing the Mighty Power of God" (2d) with "Mighty You Are" (4a)
"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" (2e) with "Praise the Father, Praise the Son" (4g)
Design your bulletin to include quotes from kids saying why their dad is the best or why they want to be like their dad.
Incorporate multicultural elements in the service if other cultures are represented in your congregation.
Don't forget to remember dads in the military who may currently be deployed.
Highlight specific programs, activities, resources, etc. for fathers that are facilitated by your church ministries. Put these in the bulletin and on screens, along with contact information for the ministry leaders.
1.Call to Worship, Litany, or Congregational Reading
Call to Worship
(a) Scriptural Call to Worship for Fathers' Day. By Christine Longhurst*
Scriptural Call to Worship for Fathers' Day
Come, let us worship God our Father,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing
that comes from heaven: (Eph. 1)
who knew us and chose us before the world began; (1 Pet. 1, Eph. 1)
who loves us so much that he calls us his own children; (1 Jn. 3)
who has brought us from darkness into light
and filled us with his glorious power; (Col. 1)
who has prepared an inheritance for us
that will never spoil or fade; (1 Pet. 1)
who encourages and strengthens us
in every good deed and word; (2 Thes. 2)
who comforts us in our troubles
so that we can comfort others. (2 Cor. 1)
This is our God,
the ultimate source of all good things,
and the One for whom we live. (1 Cor. 8)
Come, let us worship God, our Father, together!
Music for Call to Worship
(b) Welcome to My Father's House. By V. Michael McKay
(c) Fill This House. By John P. Kee
(d) Glorify Thy Name. By Donna Adkins
2. Hymns and Congregational Songs
(a) Just When I Need Him. By William C. Poole. Tune, (GABRIEL), by Charles H. Gabriel
(b) How Firm a Foundation. Text from "K" in Rippon's Selection of Hymns. Tune, (FOUNDATION).
(c)All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name. By Edward Perronet. Tune, (CORONATION), by Oliver Holden
(a)Our God Strong and Mighty. By Milton Biggham
(b)He Is My God. By James Johnson
(c)Through the Eyes of Faith. By Stephen A. Hurd
(d) Glorify Your Name. By Terrell Hunt
8. Songs for Children
(a)He Knows My Name. By Tommy Walker
(b)Hallelujah/Your Love Is Amazing. By Brian Doerksen
9. Offertory Song or Instrumental
(a)Thank You Lord. By Vincent Tharpe
(b) Thank You. By Dale Ciceron
(c)God Is Good. By Jason Nelson and Jevon Hill
(d)The Name. By Kirk Whalum
10.Prayer, Song, or Instrumental for the Period of Prayer Prayer
(a) Our Father. Matthew 6:9-13
Jesus taught us to call God our Father, so in faith and trust we pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, and the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
(b) It's Me Oh Lord (Acapella Praise). By Tarrian LaShun Pace
(c) Your Grace Still Amazes Me. By Connie Harrington and Shawn Craig.Instrumental, for piano
(d) Glorify Thy Name. By Donna Adkins. Arr. by Mark Payne. For piano
12.Invitational Song or Instrumental
(a)Just a Closer Walk with Thee. Arr. by Allen Toussaint. For piano
(b) Wrap Me in Your Arms (Reprise). By Michael Gungor
(c) The Father's Song. By Matt Redman
(d)His Eye Is on the Sparrow. By Civilla D. Martin. Arr. by Tedde Gibson. Instrumental/for organ
(e) Lord in You. By Rudolph Stanfield, Jr.
(f) What Wondrous Love Is This. By Ramsey Lewis Trio. Instrumental
13.Benediction Spoken, Sung, or Instrumental Benediction Prayer
(a) Benediction for Father's Day. Based on Psalm 103 and Romans 8. By Michelle Riley Jones
As you go from here, remember this:
God's love is from everlasting to everlasting,
as far as the East is from the West,
and from generation to generation.
Our Father has compassion on his children.
We are His sons and daughters;
Made from the dust of the earth,
and adopted into His family.
He has compassion on those who fear Him,
who listen to his voice, and who do His will.
We are His heirs, and fellow heirs with Christ.
Go out in the knowledge
that the everlasting love of God,
our Father, goes with you
wherever you go.
(b) God Is On Our Side. By Andra and Luther "Mano" Hines
(c) My Peace I Leave with You. By Wendell Craig Woods. For SATB choir
(d) You God. By Daniel Weatherspoon
14. Audio Visual Suggestions Videos
(a) Develop a video tribute to fathers who are deceased. Use "Dance with My Father Again" performed by Nuttin' But Stringz as the background music.
(b) Single Father Documentary.
(c) Color Him Father. By Richard Spencer Lewis
Here's a wonderful music/video resource to honor stepfathers, father-figures, etc., as sung by The Winstons. The D.C.-based group sold over a million copies of this song, which was certified gold, and won a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 1970. The son recounts the consistent way the father provides for the family and shows love and respect to his mother. As the song continues, it's revealed that the man is actually his stepfather who selflessly married a widow with seven children. As a result, the stepson colors him "love."
(d) A Father's Day Welcome. By Floodgate Productions
This video is designed to be displayed before a worship service, during the offering, or as the invocation.
15. Other Suggestions
Have the music team plan a concert for fathers. Intersperse the music with selected Scriptures and readings about fathers using one or more of the following themes:
The role of the father
Fathers as spiritual examples
Children as a blessing
Creating a legacy
Setting a good example
Not discouraging children
Men of faith
Celebration of adoptive/foster and mentor fathers
MY DAD IS THE GREATEST!—Celebrating characteristics of great dads
Cites and Additional Information for Music and Material Listed
Worship Planning Notes
Aycock, Don M. God's Man: A Daily Devotional Guide to Christlike Character. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998.
1.Call to Worship, Litany or Congregational Reading
Call to Worship
(a) Scriptural Call to Worship for Fathers' Day. By Christine Longhurst; *Edits by Michelle Riley Jones