Dads use Gospel Project to disciple their sons

Scott Bisson (standing) leads the father-son discipleship group Boys2Men in Bible study discussion drawn from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Photo by Bob Leverone
DENVER, N.C. (BP) -- About once a month, a group of fathers and sons gather for barbecue, basketball and the Bible at the Charlotte-area Denver Baptist Church in North Carolina.

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.

Pastor Chris Griggs and his son Elijah read a Scripture passage during a Boys2Men father-son session at their North Carolina church.
Photo by Bob Leverone
The father-son gathering 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 Elijah, 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.

London England uses his smartphone to read the Bible during a Boys2Men session drawing from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Photo by Bob Leverone
To help them do that, Boys2Men leaders decided to have the group study lessons from The Gospel Project, a Bible study curriculum from LifeWay Christian Resources centered on how all of Scripture gives testimony to Jesus Christ.

Each Boys2Men 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 drawing from The Gospel Project as a springboard to get the conversation going.

"It's not so much a lecture as it is, 'Here's the Gospel -- how does it apply to your situation in life?'" Griggs says.

Kemp England, a police officer and one of the founders of Boys2Men, 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," England says.

During the meeting, each father and son has a chance to discuss how that week's lesson applies in his own life.

Christian Brown plays basketball with youth minister Michael Salanik as part of a Boys2Men session for fathers and sons.
Photo by Bob Leverone
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," Griggs 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 -- also using The Gospel Project.

"These dads," Griggs says, "really want to invest in the lives of their kids."

Bob Smietana is former senior writer for Facts & Trends, where this article first appeared. Facts & Trends is published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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