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The Alex McFarland Show-46-The Importance of Fathers to their Families with guest Jeff Hamilton

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
February 28, 2023 12:00 am

The Alex McFarland Show-46-The Importance of Fathers to their Families with guest Jeff Hamilton

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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February 28, 2023 12:00 am

The moral fabric of America has been established by our godly roots and upheld largely by the family unit. But with the state of America today, it begs the question: Is there a connection between the deterioration of culture and that of the family? 1 in 4 people in the US today have grown up without a father in the home. On this episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex sits down with Jeff Hamilton of Dad Academy to discuss how important fathers are to their families, and as a result, our culture at large.

How the West Really Lost God 

Dad Academy 


Tiktok: dadacademy

The Assault on America

Equip Retreat

Alex McFarland

Ask Alex Online


The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show.

There was a book that came out several years ago called How the West Lost God. It was by Mary Everstadt and Bradford Wilcox. And I want to open up today's program with a quote from that book.

It says, volumes of research show what amounts to a sociological law that the future of Christianity in any culture rises or falls with the state of the family. Hi, Alex McFarland here. Welcome to the program. We've got a great show today. A show that will resonate with every listener, no doubt. Because every listener is part of a family. Regardless of what else we might say about your background or experiences, every one of us is part of a family. And I care about the family. The Word of God has so much to say about the family and about raising children.

And I open with that quote because in just a moment I want you to meet a very special guest, a colleague, and a new friend I've made in the ministry, Jeff Hamilton. But the book by two sociologists, not two pastors, not two ministers, but two sociologists wrote a book gravely concerned about the state of belief in America and the West. And they're very concerned about the state of the family. And they said that the future, the fortunes of Christianity in a culture rise or fall on the state of the family.

And they said that this is basically a sociological law. What are we saying? Our nation needs the Lord. And the primary avenue by which values, faith, and yes, the gospel are imparted is in the context of home and family. Well, someone who's going to help us understand this a little more deeply and appreciate what's at stake in the health of the family is Jeff Hamilton. And Jeff is a person that I knew I would like Jeff anyway. He's not only a fellow youth pastor, and as you may know I was a youth pastor full time for 11 years, but he's a pastor, he's a coach, he's the leader of Dad Academy. And the website is Jeff, I want to welcome you to the program and I want to say how much I applaud what God is doing through you, you and your wife, and your ministry, and through Dad Academy. Welcome to our program, Jeff.

Man, Alex, thank you so much. Let me say I'm so grateful for the ministry that you are a part of. There's something so significant about connecting truth and spirit and helping to shape those kind of dynamics in people and the way that you encourage and equip your audience and the part of God's kingdom that He's entrusted to you. I'm really grateful to have you as a kingdom colleague. Amen.

I like that, kingdom colleague. And listen, I want to get into Dad Academy, but I want to say also something you and I have in common is that you are friends with a family, very very special to Angie and me. My family for two decades has been very close with the McDowells, Josh and Dottie, and of course, Sean McDowell. Sean texted me and he said, Hey, Jeff is great. And so listen, I knew I would love you and appreciate you anyway, because when Josh and Sean and the McDowells say you're good, man, you're good. Well, I'm glad that that hundred dollars I gave Sean for that text was that it made.

No, I love them too, as we talked about. And I'll just mention quickly being part of that generation of youth ministry that was shaped by Josh and the call that he had to invest into kids life and to help them raise their dreams of what God, of the plans that God has for their life. And it's actually been a theme throughout my entire ministry, no matter what I've been doing. And then we got connected because I got to be Sean's oldest son, Scotty, his basketball coach. And, and it's actually kind of a great intro into Dad Academy because one of the things you do in life is you look for people who will believe in your kids, speak life into your kids and communicate the same values just with a different voice. And when my heart was knit with Scotty and he then shared my relationship with his family, right? Which dad doesn't like another man who believes in your kids, right? And those kinds of things are formed. And it's really one of the hearts of Dad Academy is that we're building communities of fathers that begin to shape and invest into the next generation for their health and wholeness and identity and destiny.

Yeah, yeah. Hey, you know, I got to tell you this because a person's relationship with their father does mean so much. I mean, really in all of the counseling and the youth that I've had the privilege of working with and my wife and I together, my wife is a nurse and hey, your spouse is a part of your ministry.

I will tell you of, let's just say the troubled teens that we've worked with and what an honor it is to work with people of all ages. But I know a lot about a person's life by their relationship with their parents, really. And mom and dad both are important, but especially the dad. Jeff, why is the role of the father and the impact of the father so significant and so long lasting in a person's life? Well, the relationship with your dad is actually the primary force of shaping one's identity. You know, one of the things that we say in Dad Academy is that there really is a parenting partnership that happens, right?

In order to express the full image of God, male and female, the scripture says that God created them. And so it takes two to continue to give life and to nurture the life that has been entrusted to us in our children. Unfortunately, there's such an absence of fathering in the U.S. You know, one in four people in the U.S. today have grown up without a father in their home. And the absence of father, it leaves a void. And my pastoral counseling, the situations that I deal with most often with men are scars and wounds that they carry from their relationship with their father, whether it was nonexistent, whether it was a challenge to navigate. And so bringing healthy patterns and the complement that dads bring into the rearing and raising of children, really what Dad does is help equip them for becoming adults and living the rest of their lives. Mom kind of helps them navigate through the day to day. But it is Dad who affirms the long range development of confidence and of identity that is shaped in the heart of a child.

Yeah, exactly. For those just tuning in, we're talking with Jeff Hamilton of Dad Academy. And Jeff, you've got some of the most wonderful and I believe God-ordained core values about the mission of a dad and preparing kids for adulthood and then defining family culture. And we're going to talk about these things and more.

And we've got a brief break, but before we take this break, folks, you don't want to miss this because the next few moments with Jeff Hamilton could be incredibly significant in your future. Give your website, Jeff, if you would, and then tell us what we'll talk about regarding the core mission of Dad Academy when we come back. Sure. Please visit, Feel free to follow some of the resources that we make available on social media, primarily on Instagram and TikTok. You can follow us at Dad Academy. We'll be right back after this brief break. Stay with us. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland, a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God morality and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, the assault on America, how to defend our nation before it's too late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed and they've got a vested interest in power.

And many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, the assault on America. We can stand up for our great nation and defend America before it's too late.

It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is Alex Read the book, the assault on America, how to defend our nation before it's too late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here with our, my new friend in the ministry, Jeff Hamilton.

He's with Dad Academy. And Jeff, I want to say thanks for being with us, but thanks for doing something very key, which is ministering to families. Francis Schaefer, the great biblical worldview voice of some time past, but Francis Schaefer said that the home is the church in miniature and God gave the family to prepare our hearts for the gospel. That's really true. That was true. That still is true, isn't it?

That's absolutely, absolutely true. In fact, that's what's so interesting is that when my wife and I found out that we were pregnant with our first child, our son, Justin, we actually took a parenting class, kind of like to understand what it was going to be like bringing this newborn in. And there's so many things, right? Like feeding and changing diapers and sleep schedules and sleep cycles. But the particular class that we took, that the value behind it was we want to parent this way because it helps develop and prepare a child's heart to respond, to respond to God. And that was super helpful while they were infants and through toddlers. But I'd been working with students for students and families for eight years at that point. And what I knew was that little class was not going to help me figure out what kind of dad I wanted to be as through the, through the teenage years and up through college. And what I'm most grateful for now is that, you know, in the dad space right now, there's a lot of what we would call dad influencers and maybe some books that give some tips about being a dad. But so interesting to me is I waited till my kids were in college before I started putting some of the things that my wife and I put into practice.

We waited to make sure that it actually worked before we embarked on this journey of trying to be someone who from a basis of experience, not just knowledge, but experience what practically works to help develop healthy human beings who have an understanding of who God is and understanding who they are. And I'm proud to sit here today that my 26 year old and 24 year old are still affirming, Hey, dad, dad Academy is something that you need to do to keep encouraging other dads, because to be honest, there's not a lot of stuff out there that help dads that help dads make a plan. And Alex, I really think that men are most successful when they know what is expected of them and they start to develop a plan to accomplish that task. And that really is the task of Dad Academy. We want dads to understand what their job is. And if I can just pause with this, we really think I really think that a man's mission is to pass on his skills and his values to his children, that he has them prepared for life and has given them a framework by which a worldview, right, to be able to process their life, to be able to fulfill the things that God has created them for.

Amen. And you know, by nature, men are very task oriented. And I think there are millions of men in the church and they love the Lord and they do care about their family, but it's never been laid out specifically, you know, what is the specific target that I as a godly man want to achieve? And one of the reasons I was so thrilled when I first learned of your great ministry, Jeff, is because I know men and hey, you give them a target and they'll do their best to try and hit it.

And you've laid it out so clearly. It's very biblical, it's very practical, and it's very achievable. You've got these seven sessions of Dad Academy and folks, I know we have pastors listening, we have church leaders listening. Please check out this vital work that Jeff is doing with Dad Academy, the website again, But let's talk about some of these sessions that you impart to men, Leaving a Legacy, Parenting Partnership, Destiny Decisions. Drill down into any or all of these that you would like to the seven sessions of the Dad Academy, Jeff.

I'll be glad to give you a great overview of those. And what was kind of interesting was that I took the strategies that Jamie and I just kind of assimilated, my wife and I, over the years of parenting, obviously in youth ministry, we get some equipping about adolescent spiritual development and culture and then the things that we've learned as parents. And I kind of pulled together some resources. And on top of that, I'm a small business and church consultant that I help people align their culture and their values to their mission. I go, well, why can't we help families do that in a very practical way, especially for men? So the first session is about helping a man discover his values and his values are not aspirational. A lot of times when I would meet with men or I'd meet with companies, the values that they have are not exactly the values that are in action. An example being, you know, I would say that I want to serve my family. But one of the values, because it's based on my actual behavior, is that I believe I'm entitled to leave my cups all around the house and somebody else is going to pick it up.

That's a value. And really, when you get behind that, the value is that I say that I want to serve, but really I look to be served. So we help men drill down into the idea of starting to really think, what are the beliefs that drive my behavior?

Because those are my values. And the second session begins to talk about a man's relationship with his children's mother. Now in most cases, we hope that that would be his wife. But we know in our culture today that second marriages, third marriages, stepchildren, you're not always in the same home as your children's birth mother. And we have to make sure that we understand what mom brings to the table, what dad brings to the table, be able to value those things and be able to develop a cooperative plan to work together for the benefit of our children. Third session is about looking, helping a man look at his family of origin.

What are the things that shape me? Because we most often do either what we've, we repeat what we've seen or we react against what we've seen. So if you've had a good family relationship, you try to put those things in place.

If you had a difficult family relationship, you try to be reactionary to those things. We help a dad sort through some of those, some of that baggage. And then we get into the three things that a dad does. A dad is responsible to develop courage, competency and confidence in his kids. So session four is about developing courage and courage is about how dads teach kids how to trust and address risk in their life. Jeff, uh, Hey, forgive me for interrupting here, but I'm just so excited to hear you talk about these courage and confidence. I mean, these are values that, that we all need in our lives. And, uh, you know, I know this is going to resonate with dads everywhere. It's resonating with me. I've got to ask, how did you come up with these, uh, just in your experience with people or just, uh, the Lord led you or how did, how did you come up with this? I just took some of the scriptural understanding that I had some of my background in adolescent spiritual development and family understanding and just life experience, not only walking through my own family, but with families that I serve in a pastoral or a relational role.

And, uh, it just kind of boiled down to these three things that dads are responsible for, for developing in their children. Folks, we've got to take a brief break. We're going to come back with the founder and leader of dad Academy, Jeff Hamilton, again, his website, I encourage you to check it out. We're going to be back after this brief break.

Stay with us. Fox news and CNN call Alex McFarland, a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this Christian author and speaker. Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics teaching in more than 2,200 churches around the world, schools and college campuses. Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, the wall street journal and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at

He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here. We're talking with Jeff Hamilton. Before we resume our conversation with Jeff Hamilton, I do want to remind everybody we have got a truth for a new generation national conference coming up just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, April 21 through 23.

A lot of great speakers. I would encourage you to go to the website That's truth, F-O-R, But also our summer camps. Summer of 2023, we're doing seven youth camps all around the country. New Jersey, Iowa, Georgia, Colorado, hopefully convenient to most everybody listening everywhere. But the website for our summer camps, biblical worldview camps, is

That's Look, we're going to be talking about so many important things. Does God exist? How do we know the Bible is really the Word of God? How do I live out my Christian faith in middle school, high school, college? And folks, I often say this regarding our summer camps, invest a week that will count for a lifetime. And I promise, we do all the fun camp stuff, the ropes course, swimming, canoeing, all the fun camp stuff. But in the Bible study times, we make sure that the teens know the Lord, that they know how to grow and have a quiet time and really feed themselves. And so it's fun, it's unforgettable, it's friendships and memories for a lifetime, but most importantly, it's biblical worldview. And so let me encourage you, I know that most youth groups are already planning their summer time, but there is time. We'll be in front of like 1250 students this summer, the equip retreat camps. Please pray, support as you feel led. Much more I could tell you.

Go to the website and I thank you for doing that. But I want to give maximum remaining time to our guest, Jeff Hamilton. Jeff again, I just applaud what you're doing with Dad Academy. And before the break, we were talking about the seven sessions, talking about these three values that you try to inspire dads to develop and create, which is character, competency and confidence.

I got to ask you this, Jeff. It's one thing to encourage dads to impart this to their children, but regarding character, competency and confidence, sometimes do you coach adult males and they've not really seen these things realized in their own lives. Is that the case? That's what happens a lot within the groups as dads get together. Because while this can be a self-study group, it is, thanks to COVID, it's all online and accessible for individuals. But what we're really trying to do is to create a community of dads that can rely and connect together. And as these things, as these shortfalls, as these insecurities start to be exposed through this process, we give guys through that community an opportunity to connect and to encourage each other that it's not our weaknesses, right? Doesn't the scripture says that when we're weak, he is strong. So God can more than compensate for the things that we're lacking as fathers. If our values and our heart and our mission, our mission is clear when we're in alignment with him, because first and foremost, our kids are his kids. And so he will direct us on how we are to help cultivate this courage, this competencies, this confidence in our kids. And Dad Academy gives us a specific way to accomplish those things. That's really great.

That's really great. Now, you mentioned there's so much online. What would you like to see churches do? I mean, do you go and speak or do you host events?

What's the main way you implement this great content? You know, up until COVID, it was just a small group that I could just facilitate locally. I started in my own church and then maybe with some other friends and churches that were around and then I would get invited to try to do it in a retreat weekend. But really, what it is, is it's specifically self-directed online and we have wherever there are communities together.

We've started kind of with churches. Churches are used to kind of this small group curriculum. And so a night of small group might be you order the workbook online, you get the downloads for the videos once a week for seven weeks. You meet together, you watch the video, you fill in the workbook, you do the homework, you have discussion time and guys are equipped that way. Another way that we do it is we facilitate online cohorts. You may want to join a group that myself or one of our other leaders is facilitating. And it doesn't matter where you're at in the country, thanks to this kind of telecommunications technology that we have now, we could be face to face. And so the guys watch the videos ahead of time and then we just have discussion. I am available also to come and to host these at retreats, but we really want to create communities of men within communities so that the grace of fathering continues to be extended beyond just those guys' immediate families, but into their community as well. You know, Jeff, we know what the Word of God says about marriage and family and faithfulness to God, faithfulness to our spouse.

But you know what? Volumes of research from psychology and sociology say this and folks listen to this. And Jeff, I want your response. But for things like financial stability, emotional stability, better overall physical health, the greatest predictor of what psychologists call human thriving. You're happier, you're healthier, you're more financially stable, you're going to live longer. The greatest predictor of all those things is the state of marriage and family. And folks, I mean, in obedience to Christ, we want to be faithful to our family. But if you just want to have a better life, a longer, better lifestyle, then be committed to family. I mean, the proof is in the pudding as they say, Jeff, this is what we all want, right? And what we want, we're going to find it in the home and the family, aren't we?

We are. And yet there still remains significant, significant challenge against the family. It's kind of this idea that the kids are the center of our world. And so even the best dads tend to default when it comes to being intentional about what they're passing on to their kids, because oftentimes in busy cultures like ours, it is the kid's schedule that dictates the family schedule, practices, homework, performances, weekends away. The biggest challenge to church participation is kids activities that parents are supporting like soccer on Sunday morning.

Absolutely. So we tend to be reactionary. We don't if guys really understood their value and their mission, it's not that we wouldn't do those things. We would just rethink how we apply them and exercise them in our families. Because, you know, most men not only do we not have a model or it was have the skills to really be the kind of dad that we want to be. Most guys don't really make decisions or values that prioritize God in our life. And this is where this whole thing comes back to values. And so once we get a guy looking at his values and he understands his mission, then the actions and his behavior begin to line up with those things. In fact, I just did a series on social media about the most important tool that a dad has to put at work for him is this calendar, that you're scheduling time to be with your children intentionally, that you are making the most of the memorable moments that take place every year and graduations and birthdays and other kinds of celebrations and that you pass on blessing and a vision for the future that you one of the things in a dad plan, we encourage you to schedule a family vacation. And that's not with your travel ball team.

That's loading everybody up in the car or just having some time out of your normal thing for some extended time just to be together as a family to experience and cultivate your family's culture. Amen. Amen. Let's talk about this, about rites of passage and these milestones so that I really think it's important that a boy understands that before the Lord, we are to become a man. Because I counsel parents that they've got kids that are very often sons that maybe they didn't finish college, they don't have a job or career, and they're still living at home they're in their late 20s and they're doing online gaming and things like immersive gaming and they never did launch.

And that's tragic on so many levels. Talk about, if you would, we've only got a little bit of time and I've got to have you back on, but these rites of passage that will help our children shepherd from one life stage to another life stage so that they're not in this adolescent black hole forever. I think that there are four stages that we need to consider when they're moving from one stage to another. I call it from child to teen, from teen to adult, from student to skilled, when you get out on your own. And then when I call it from single to shared, when you get married.

I think that those are four significant moments. Although I'm rethinking some of this now, cause I just spent a week with my friend, Dr. Jim Burns, who just did a book that is about rites of passage for every single year of your child's life. But we practice that in our family. From 12 to 13, my son went through what was called the year of the man, where we had breakfast once a month, a scripture to memorize every month. And then he learned a skill, a man's skill, whether that was ironing his shirt or, you know, I lived in a different day. I took him out and taught him how to drive at 12 years old in an empty parking lot. We took his bike apart and he had to take his mom out on a date and make the reservation, giving him practical skills that he would need to transition. We did the same for my daughter on her sweet 16th birthday.

She had the year of the woman and my wife did that with her and then went on a special trip at 16 when they got their driver's license. We made a big deal about the whole process of responsibility and opportunity accountability at high school graduation. They each received a special ceremony.

And most recently for me, I just got to be a part and lead my son's bachelor party because now that he was establishing his own family, I wanted him to know that he was equipped and ready to take on the responsibilities of leading his own family because of who he had become and the skills and values that have been passed on to him. Amen. And you speak about our children, who they become. That is our legacy. Jeff, something occurred to me, and I want you to comment on this as we close. As a pastor, I go to the hospital a lot to visit people.

And I know you'll relate. You're not in the ministry very long before you find yourself at the ER. And even I was still in seminary and grad school when I did my first funeral.

I noticed something early on, Jeff. When I was at the bedside of a dying man, he would never say, oh, you know, gee, I should have had a nicer car, or gee, I should have worked more at the office. Look, folks, when you're in the final moments of the fourth quarter, shall we say, all you're going to care about is God and family. When you're leaving this world, all that you're going to think about is what did I do with the Lord? What did I do for my family? And I think it's wise to ponder that, and realize at the end of the day, all that really matters is God and family, isn't it, Jeff? Yes. My friend Andy Stanley once tweeted out, he said, your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.

And man, that would be true. I'm in the first year, a year ago, November, I lost my dad. I'm sorry. Greatest, that's okay. It's part of God's process. He's fulfilled his, he's finished his race, right?

So I want to celebrate that. But my dad used to say all the time, my sister, my brother and I, we all serve the Lord. My brother has a workplace mission, but we've all raised families and we've all done this. And I bet you, people would come up to my dad and mom and say, I bet you guys are so proud of your kids, how they serve the Lord.

And my dad would say, yeah, not really, because this is what we raised them to do. What I'm proud of is that they are raising my grandchildren to love Jesus and to follow him. And I think that's the kind of eternal perspective that we need to carry as dads and as men who are invited to participate and join Jesus in what he's doing in bringing his kingdom. Well, folks, something that I know will help you and those around you is Dad Academy. Jeff, regrettably, we're out of time for this visit today, but folks, again, please check out the website

Listen, if you love the Lord, you love the Great Commission, you love our country, then be a champion for the family. And something that will help you do that and those that you care about is what Jeff Hamilton is doing. This has been the Alex McFarland program. You can listen to this and other archive shows. Just wherever you listen to radio or podcasts, search for the Alex McFarland show, sometimes linked to our conference ministry, Truth for a New Generation with the Alex McFarland program.

Thanks for listening. May God bless you and stand strong for truth. Alex McFarland ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD-1.

That's 1-877-YES-GOD-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland show.

Do you have a desire to deepen your faith, better understand Christian apologetics, or to get a biblical perspective on current events? Well, I've tried to make it simple for you to do just that. On my website,, there's a new section called Ask Alex Online. It's simple, it's clean, and you can read my answers to common questions about God, faith, and the Bible. So visit the website and look for the section that says Ask Alex Online.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 06:32:26 / 2023-02-28 06:45:43 / 13

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