“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.” Genesis 17:4
This past Thursday, I had the privilege of leading a session at Kristfest helping young men navigate from boyhood to manhood.
I’ve been excited about the session ever since I was asked to lead it back in April.
I talked about how we all have an idea of what it means to be a real man in our heads – and how that idea can hinder us from feeling like real men.
I taught them about the ancient Jewish tradition of a father blessing – and how we are all still longing for our fathers to bless us and tell us we are men.
I warned them how our longing for a father blessing will cause us to seek after that manhood identity any way we can.
I gave them tips I learned from my own journey towards manhood – to help them avoid the mistakes I made.
It was a pretty awesome session – one I wish I would have been able to have attended when I was their age.
But it wasn’t my teaching or jokes or lessons that made this session so powerful. It was what happened at the end that impacted so many young men:
I gave them a father blessing.
I stood in front of a group of about 60 young men, told them I was proud of the men they were becoming, bestowed on them the identity of a man, prayed for them – and watched as a good number of them began to believe they were finally real men.
The next day, one of the translators in the session thanked me for what I had done. She told me that there is a huge lack of fathers in the Czech Republic – men who take an interest in and help form their kids into the people God created them to be.
Then she said something that made me cry:
You are a father to this generation.
For many of those young men, I may be the only father figure to ever tell them he is proud of them – and bestow the identity of manhood onto them.
I’ve prayed for them.
Helped them discover their identity.
Pushed them to be the men God has called them to be.
And spoken into their lives.
It’s a humbling, and heavy, responsibility – one I don’t take lightly.
These young men need father figures to help them become all God has created them to be.
I’m just honored to be someone who gets to fill that role.