“I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just…” (Genesis 18:19).
Dallas, TX – In the spring of 1996, recently married to my wife Karen, I was looking for work. As I was walking across the parking lot at 8235 Douglas Ave in Preston Center where I was officing out of a friend’s conference room, Scott Shuford pulled up beside me, rolled down his window and asked if I would come up to his office to talk about an idea he had.
Now, first of all, I had never had a sit down conversation with Scott – ever. We went to church together, so I figured he wanted to ask me to be on a church committee. But when I sat down in Scott’s office, here’s what he said: “I think there’s something we can do to help kids make good decisions when they’re on their own out in the world, and I want to know if you’ll come up with a way to make it happen – if you do, I’ll help you get “it” up and running.”
When I left Scott’s office – I’m serious – this is what I thought: “Well, that was kind of interesting. I wonder if I should even mention this to Karen?”
Of course when I got home later that day, Karen, asked, “Have any interesting talks today?” So after I told her about what we now affectionately call “The Conversation,” she asked, “What do you think “it” is?” In a flash of brilliance, I said,
“I have absolutely no idea.”
“Well,” Karen said, “Whatever “it” is…this is what God wants you to do!”
So at the end of the day I had a new job, a promise of financial backing, and Karen’s blessing to begin something neither of us had any idea of what it was or if it would even fly. But God was way ahead of us.
The next day I began talking with guys around the community about what they thought was needed. Among the laundry list of needs given, two answers came up more than any other: 1) As dads, we don’t get to spend enough time with our kids, and 2) We want God’s words impressed upon their hearts.
Putting my SMU marketing degree to use I asked, “So how do you think we should do this?” And a couple of guys said, “If there was a Bible study that dads did with their kids…”
I called Scott and said, “Its Bible studies for dads and kids.” Scott then talked with Ray Nixon and said, “I’m helping a new ministry get started – here’s what it is and here’s who’s doing it.” Ray said, “I’m in. Let’s get it going.”
So in the fall of 1996 we started 6 Bible studies with 40 dad-son or daughter couples. I wrote 3 lessons a week, handed them to the dads to teach, and we’ve kept going ever since.
My point in writing this is to prove that this whole dads and kids Bible study thing was God’s idea from the very start. God answered a dad’s prayer, told some guys what the answer was, handed the answer to me, said, “Do this” – and with help from every one of you reading this letter set into motion this dads and kids Bible study thing which continues to grow nationally and internationally now going on 21 years, and has become a way for thousands of dads around the world to direct their children to keep the way of the Lord by walking along side them.
Not to us, O Lord, but to your name goes all the glory,
Director, Practice Ministries