Each year in June, Americans celebrate Father’s Day.

We grill burgers, give our dads tools or ties or wallets, and we take a moment to celebrate what they mean to us.

Depending on their relationship with their dad, for some of our students, Father’s Day can be a tough day.

Use this youth group lesson to teach students to trust God to be the perfect and faithful Heavenly Father that scripture says He is, even if they’ve been hurt by others in the past.

– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON FATHER’S DAY

DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THIS LESSON

Written by Carrie Busch

Bible: Isaiah 64:8; Romans 8:15; John 14:9-11

Bottom Line: Trust God to be the perfect and faithful Heavenly Father that scripture says He is, even if you’ve been hurt by others in the past. 

SUPPLIES

  • Five cones
  • Whistle
  • Prizes/candy for winners

For the following items, you will need one per group:

  • “Old man” pants and suspenders
    • Purchase from a thrift store or borrow some if you can.
  • Grill spatula
  • Wrench
  • Long men’s necktie (not a bow tie)
  • Plate full of Cheese-Whiz

OPENING ACTIVITY: “CHEESY DAD”

GAME PREP

Before students arrive, use a cone to mark each of the five “obstacles.”

Place the following items at each obstacle:

  1. Old man pants and suspenders
  2. Spatula
  3. Wrench
  4. Necktie
  5. Cheese Whiz on a plate

Divide students into groups of five groups of five.

If you don’t have enough students for five groups of five, just eliminate one or more of the five obstacles below so that each team has the same amount of student and the same number of obstacles to complete.

Assign each student, on each team, a number from 1-5.

HOW TO PLAY THE GAME

Say: In honor of Father’s Day, we’re going to play a Dad-based obstacle course.

It’s a little cheesy, but the truth is, some of our dads are too!

When the whistle blows, Teammate #1 will run to the first obstacle and put on the old man pants and secure the suspenders. 

Then, they must run to the first obstacle, remove the pants and suspenders and help Teammate #2 put them on (he/she will be waiting at the first obstacle). 

Teammate #2 (already dressed as a dad) will then grab a spatula (place it halfway between the first and second obstacle) and run to the next obstacle where you’ll have them take off the dad clothes, hand off the spatula to Teammate #3, and help him/her dress in the dad clothes. 

Teammate #3 will then pick up a tool (place it halfway between the third and fourth obstacle) and run to the fourth obstacle where he/she has to get out of the dad clothes, hand off the spatula and the wrench, and help Teammate #4 dress up in the dad clothes.

Teammate #4 will then have to run to the next obstacle, picking up a necktie along the way. 

Teammate #4 will not put on the necktie but instead will put the necktie on Teammate #5 (tell your youth group that this is the hardest part, so they should choose who will be Teammate #4 and #5 wisely – one of them should have some good tie-tying skills)

Then, Teammate #5 needs to take the dad clothes, put them on, grab the spatula and tool, and run over to a table with plates of Cheese Whiz on them. 

Without putting anything down, and without using hands, Teammate #5 has to eat all the Cheese Whiz off of the plate.

The team that finishes every obstacle the fastest – wins the game!!!

TEACH

Say: Each year in June, Americans celebrate Father’s Day.

We grill burgers, give our dads tools or ties or wallets, and we take a moment to celebrate what they mean to us.

For some, Father’s Day can be a tough day.

Whether one’s father has passed away, or whether he has left a family disappointed or neglected, some people feel the sting of Father’s Day instead of the celebration.

So today, in honor of Father’s Day, we’re going to have an honest discussion about this important family role.

The title of “father” is so important because it can help or hinder our understanding of God.

Of course, since God is our Heavenly Father, we can look to Him for the definition of what perfect fatherhood looks like.

God is referred to with the title of “father” in both the Old and New Testament. 

When we call someone “father,” it implies familiarity.

Think about that for a minute.

We wouldn’t want to call just anyone “father.”

That’s because it’s reserved for a certain role, a certain set of characteristics, and a certain unique familiarity that we have with a select person in our lives.

God the Father is one person of the Trinity (the 3-person God), and He is Father for many reasons.

Read Isaiah 64:8

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

God created the world and everything in it; therefore, he “fathered” us.

God “knit us together” in our mothers’ wombs, and He created our purpose in life. 

He molds us and shapes us into something new and unique (if we let Him).

God is also familiar. 

But don’t confuse that with similar to human beings (remember: God is holy and set apart from us).

In other words, when we call him “familiar,” that means we can “get to know” Him. 

And the more we seek Him, the more we know Him.

There is no end to the depth that our relationships with God the Father can have.

Third, God relates to his children like a loving Father would.

He not only loves, shows compassion and patience, and sees our purpose and potential, but He also disciplines us through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

A good Father corrects us because he wants us to grow.

God also adopts us into His family.

Read Romans 8:15

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

When we surrender our lives to Christ, we become adopted by the Father.

What a miracle!

Read that verse again.

We have received the Spirit of adoption as SONS (and daughters).

We get to call God “Abba! Father” which means “Daddy,” an intimate term that children call the man that they trust the most.

No other “god” offers such a relationship.

Consider other world religions.

What must you do in order to be accepted by God? (according to other religions)

Life is an endless list of do’s and don’ts in order to gain salvation, and even if you’re the best you can be, it isn’t good enough.

In contrast, our God, the only true God, let’s us call Him “Daddy.”

He adopts us and never forsakes us.

He takes the role of Father in our lives.

And no matter what has happened with our dads in the past, good or bad, we can always remember that our Heavenly Father is true, trustworthy, and faithful.

For those of you who have experienced pain from your earthly father, know this:

God simply cannot be compared to a human father – he never sins, he never lies, he never will leave or forsake his children, and he always knows what’s best.

Remember that all human beings are born into sin, including our earthly fathers.

And if our earthly father has disappointed us, we may unfairly project anger and resentment onto God.

However, instead of blaming God or associating God with that pain, give that pain to Him.

He will carry that burden for you if you’ll let him.

And lastly, we can’t end this lesson without discussing the only way to have that relationship with God that every human being so desperately needs.

There is only one way to get to God, and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ, who tore the veil that separated you and I from God the Father.

If we know Jesus, we know the Father: 

Read John 14:9-11.

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? 

The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

You MUST know Jesus in order to know the Father.

And Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the Father’s sacrifice.

He gave His one and only Son for you and me, which demonstrates His great love for us.

A love that surpasses any human’s ability to love.

Trust in Jesus today, and go deeper in your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

He already showed you how much He loves you by giving what matters most to Him.

You can trust Him with your whole heart.

Close in prayer.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Is it hard for you to separate your idea of an earthly father from a heavenly one?

Why do you think that is the case?

2. What characteristics do you think all “good” fathers should possess?

3. What behaviors should a good father model for his children?

4. Think of a father that you know who should be celebrated for his dedication to his family and his godly leadership. Describe him to the group.

5. How has God shown you fatherly love and devotion in your own walk with Him?

6. Does our culture value the role of father? How so or why not?

7. What makes Christianity so different from other world religions? 

Why is God’s role as a Father so distinct from other religions?

8. Why is it important to honor fathers on Father’s Day? 

If you don’t have a relationship with your father, think of someone who has stepped into that role for you and tell the group about that person.

9. Think of a biblical account where God acted as a Father toward his people (whether in love and compassion or in discipline). Discuss it with the group.

10. How do you know that you can trust God as your Heavenly Father?

DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THIS LESSON

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