A Note from Lifeway Girls: We are grateful for all the godly men in the lives of teen girls—especially dads! If you are a dad, we hope this post reminds you of your importance in your daughter’s life. If you know a dad who needs this reminder, will you send it his way? However, we know that family dynamics can be messy and heartbreaking. If you know of a teen girl lacking this kind of dad in her life, will you ask the Lord how the godly men in your church can help lead and love her like Christ?
Hey, dads! I know it doesn’t happen often, but this post is just for you. The Church often talks about moms as the first girls minister in her daughter’s life, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! Your call to leadership isn’t exclusive to the relationship between you and your wife; it extends to everyone in your home, daughters included. You’ll notice that there isn’t anywhere in the Bible that commands moms to only parent girls and dads to only parent boys.
As a partner to your wife and a father to your daughter, I’m confident that you care deeply about who your daughter grows to be—as a woman and follower of Jesus. You are just as crucial as your wife to the spiritual development of your daughter. Your role in girls ministry starts at home, doing what you were created to do: leading.
Lead by example.
Your daughter has been looking up to you since the day she entered the world. She only likes spaghetti sauce made from scratch because you refuse to buy it from a jar. She likes the Chicago Bulls even though she’s never stepped foot in Illinois because that has been your team since you were a kid. And once she gets past the frappuccino phase, she’ll eventually grow up to take her coffee with just one sugar and a splash of cream because “any sweeter and it’d be a milkshake.” Now, you’ve never intentionally told her to care about these things, but she does. Why? Because she’s watching you—in your good moments, in your bad moments, and every moment in between.
“Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t really pass as a good parenting strategy, much less a good leadership strategy. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” In other words, “Do as I do.” Paul was so closely following the Lord that he could tell the Church in Corinth to live exactly as he was living. Dads, that should be your goal—to live your lives so according to the Word that if your daughter copies every single thing you do, she will be loving the Lord and loving others to the utmost of her abilities.
You would be able to say,
Imitate me as I intentionally make time to spend time with the Lord, as I also imitate Christ.
Imitate me as I apologize after an argument, as I also imitate Christ.
Imitate me as I act the same at home as I do in public, as I also imitate Christ.
Imitate me sacrificing my money and my time for the Church, as I also imitate Christ.
Imitate me as I’m not always perfect but as I also try to imitate Christ.
Lead by listening.
Girls just wanna have fun but they also just wanna talk. I’m convinced that the job of anyone in girls ministry is 50% doing/planning/creating and 50% listening.
Your girls are at such a unique time in their lives when they’re going to be one of two places: at your house or not at your house. That may sound simple, but there is a day that is fast-approaching when that will no longer be the case; they just altogether won’t be at your house. There is so much life happening to your daughter while she is under your roof, and she needs home to be a safe place to try and make sense of it all. She needs you to be a safe place where she can talk things through.
Whether introverted or extroverted, your daughter needs to talk and be heard. She’s sad after a fight with a friend? Listen. She comes home with an attitude? Still listen. You lay down a rule that she doesn’t agree with or understand? “Because I said so” does not build trust. Don’t be dismissive; listen.
When you take the time and patience to walk with your daughter through small things, that builds a trust that is ready to tackle the big things.
It is so important to recognize that your daughter is made in your same Imago Dei, or Image of God. Therefore, when you’re intentional about validating and respecting her feelings in the same way you would like yours to be respected—(yes, you can still maintain parental authority and respect your children)—you will be amazed at how open and effective communication will become between you. And all you have to do is listen.
Lead in love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is used most often at weddings to lay out the way the two people saying “I do” are supposed to love each other as man and wife. Weddings are obviously a great use for that verse, but at no point did Jesus say that that verse only pertains to romantic love. That verse was meant for any believer who loves someone: husband, wife, son, daughter, or friend. Dads, that means you are commanded to love your daughter in all of the ways laid out in that passage, especially the ones that are difficult when loving a teenager, i.e. patience and keeping no record of wrongs.
Your daughter will most equate the love of Christ with how you love her. Which is an admittedly hefty responsibility, but that’s kinda what you signed up for when you chose to be a dad! Tell her you love her often. Tell her why you love her. Show her you love her. Especially in the times you don’t feel like it because that’s when she’ll probably need it the most.
It is your role to instill in your daughter such a confidence in her identity as a beloved child of God that when anyone or anything threatens to make her feel differently, she won’t even entertain the thought. It is your role to help your little Christian girl grow into a woman of God. It’s a big responsibility, yes, but what a gift it is to be such a tangible reflection of our Heavenly Father’s love for us. No tie or pack of socks in the world is better than that.
Alyssa Lewis is a Nashville area native, enneagram enthusiast (super basic, she knows), and huge advocate of mental health. She has been serving in girls ministry for several years and it is her heart’s desire to work with young women in a vocational ministry capacity in the future. She is passionate about seeing young women grow from a basic knowledge of the Lord to a genuine love for Him and active pursuit of relationship with Him. Alyssa loves any time spent with friends, singing at the top of her lungs, and eating ice cream—preferably Jeni’s. Connect with Alyssa: Instagram