by Bob Smietana
About once a month, a group of fathers and sons at Denver Baptist Church in Denver, North Carolina, gets together for barbecue, basketball, and the Bible.
The concerned fathers wanted to spend time helping their sons learn how to better follow Jesus. So they started meeting a few years ago.
They call themselves “Boys2Men.” Their pastor Chris Griggs smiles at the name, as it brings back memories of the popular 1990s R&B group Boyz II Men.
“I don’t think they know about the singing group,” he says.
The group started at a time when the church didn’t have a full-time youth pastor. Some of the dads had volunteered to lead a youth weekend and came back realizing they wanted to be more involved in intentional discipleship.
Griggs, who attends the group with his 10-year-old son, says the dads who started the group felt their sons were learning Bible stories, but not the overall story of the Bible. And they were looking for a way to talk about how the gospel interacts with everyday life.
To help them do that, Boys2Men leaders decided to have the group study lessons from The Gospel Project.
Each meeting, usually held on a Saturday, starts with a social time. The sons play football and basketball, while the dads sit together and talk about the challenges of raising young men.
Then one father gives his testimony, followed by a discussion of that week’s lesson. The Gospel Project serves as a springboard to get the conversation going, Griggs says.
“It’s not so much a lecture as it is, ‘Here’s the gospel—how does it apply to your situation in life?’” says Griggs.
Kemp England, a police officer and member of Denver Baptist, is one of the founders of “Boys2Men.” He says the group has helped both the men and their sons grow.
“We want to help as many men as we can feel comfortable proclaiming the gospel,” he says.
During the meeting, each father and son has a chance to discuss how that week’s lesson applies in his own life.
For Griggs’ son, it’s about trying to apply the gospel at school, understanding his place in the world, and learning how to make and keep good friends.
“For each kid it’s different,” he says. “The struggles you face at 10 are much different from the ones you face at 15.”
Because of the success of Boys2Men, Denver Baptist is starting a fathers and daughters group, too—also using The Gospel Project.
Griggs says, “These dads really want to invest in the lives of their kids.”
BOB SMIETANA (@BobSmietana) is former senior writer for Facts & Trends.