2012 – 2013
September 13, 2012 thru August 2013. Raising a God Fearing Generation – RGFG, was born. We started with eleven men and met at the gym of Gateway Community Church. Most often, we would entice men to come by having a pancake and eggs breakfast with coffee.
We began reading the book, “Raising a Modern Day Knight” and at the insistence of this book, we started doing “Blessing Ceremonies” for our sons. Within the first month, we developed our BMW prayer tradition to end our Gatherings. We met every Saturday without a break. We were off to a good start with no guarantee of success long term.
2013 – 2014
September 2013 thru August 2014. Our group had its first birthday. Our email list had grown to 46 men and we were doing a blessing ceremony nearly every month. We averaged between five to eight men a Saturday.
In October, we conducted our first of many “blessing ceremonies” for a daughter. While the sons tended to like to have a big group of dads and sons at church to read a blessing to them and affirm them within a big group, the daughters did not. Instead, they told us they wanted a smaller event with just their own dad and maybe one or two close friends and their dads.
Such was the case with Lilly Contreras. She turned thirteen and wanted to have a putt putt golf date and burgers and fries with just her dad and her close friend, Grace Collins and her dad, D. Mike Collins. So that is what we did. It was a complete success for Lilly and her dad, Josh Contreras. Lesson learned, with blessing ceremonies, sons tend to like big gatherings, daughters tend to like smaller gatherings. Good to know.
In November we had our first “Coining Ceremony.” We continued to share life together, pray for each other as work, marriages and teenage kids gave us reason to pause, shed some tears and pray together. We were growing closer but still had a lot of growing and maturing to travel through.
2014 – 2015
September 2014 thru August 2015. Our group turned two and we moved our location from Gateway Community Church to Panera Bread off 164th Ave. We continued to perform “Blessing Ceremonies” for our sons. In January, we started the tradition called “One Word / One Verse” for the year. It was an instant success. Our group was growing closer as we traveled through many personal trials including marriages, kids and death of family members.
In September of 2014 we changed our name from Raising a God Fearing Generation to The Dads Group. The reason being, no one, and I mean no one could remember the name of our group after nearly three years. We needed something much more simple to call ourselves. The Dads Group seemed to fit so we ran with it.
We also created and performed two knighting ceremonies; one for Ian Guthrie and one for Noah Collins.
2015 – 2016
September 2015 thru August 2016. Our group turns three and we decide to share verses with no book study. Michael Bailey had been telling me to be patient with the group of men. “It takes three years for a men’s group to gel if it ever does.” His words could not have been more prophetic. For whatever reason, when we turned three, everyone looked at each other and “we just knew.” We knew that we would survive and grow deeper with God and each other. Hard to describe, but we grew exponentially deeper that September as a Brotherhood.
In November we changed the name of the group again from “The Dads Group” to “The Brotherhood of The Book.” It was more reflective of what our group was growing into. From January on, we began to encourage each man to read our Bibles daily. “Rhythm the Book – Read” was born. Our group was taking a plunge into the deep end of the pool for the first time.
God was good to us that year. We were growing deeper with each passing month. In addition, Father John Amsberry visited our group and encouraged us to bless others. Dan Disrud made rocks and plaques for our One Word / One Verse for the year.
2016 – 2017
September 2016 thru August 2017. Our group turns four and now the rhythms had expanded from one to four. Rhythm The Book, Talk to Papa, Engage the Nudge, Be the Blessing – Read – Pray – Grow – Bless. “Talk to Papa – Pray” became our lead rhythm we focused on for the school year.
As a result, we spent our Gatherings going over The Lord’s Prayer. We covered the book called, “Living Prayer” by Dennis Fuqua. Dennis lives close to Panera Bread and he happen to overhear what we were doing. He suggested his book and came and lead us through parts of it throughout the year. Little did we know that Dennis leads Prayer Summits all over the world.
2017 – 2018
September 2017 thru August 2018. Our group turns five and we spend the year covering the third rhythm “Engage the Nudge – Grow.” Our verse for the year is 2 Peter 1:5-8, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” We devoted a month to cover each character quality and we continued to grow deeper with God and each other.
September 2012 to August 2018
We started out as a group of about five dads that had either existing teenagers or soon to be teenagers. We wanted to be intentional about growing in our faith as dads. Then we sought to be intentional about passing that faith on to our young adults in word and deed and through the use of blessing ceremonies. We tried lots of things. We failed at some. Won with others. Through it all, we grew closer to God and each other bit by bit and step by step. Along the way, we did lots and lots of blessing ceremonies for our sons and daughters. That was impactful for all involved.
We attracted a lot of men to the group in the first five years. I would say some thirty to forty men came through our group for some length of time. Most stayed for a time; some stayed a little while longer, while a core and chosen few signed on for “the journey.” It’s with this core group of men that we began to form an affinity for each other that is hard to describe, but you know it when you’re in it. An affinity of manhood and brotherhood that helped us to slowly understand the true meaning of the phrase . . . “doing life together.” It’s easier said than done, but when it’s done consistently, the memories are worth all troubles of getting up each and every Saturday morning.
We often said, “90% of a friendship is just showing up.” Our little “Band of Brothers” was slowly forming life long memories, not by some secret formula or trick or slight of hand. It happened because a core group of dads simply made the effort to “show up” for each other week after week on Saturday mornings.
And when men decide to “show up”, they tend to grow up . . . and we did.