Man and woman join together to form a family. “The father’s role is not only to earn money to support the family but more importantly is to be the head and leader of the family. How God graces this family depends upon the action of this ‘leader’.”
Sarawak’s first “Father School” was held at Hoover Hall of Masland Methodist Church, Sibu from 1-4 May. The organizer, Rev. Kim Dong Jo, with his 27 co-workers came to Sibu to teach the participants how to be a father.
Rev. Kim, a Korean pastor, is a lecturer of the Sabah Theological Seminary. Through attending this coursehe came to know that it is designed to explain in-depth the role of a father. Because of that he brought this course to Sabah.
“The Father School” ministry was started in Korea in 1995. I joined in 2007 and learned that we are not born knowing how to be a father.”
Rev. Kim was born in Seoul in 1957. He was a member of the Korean Guem Ho Methodist Church. God called him when he was in the fourth grade of elementary school. Later he entered the Korean Methodist Theological Seminary and became a pastor. In 1979 he was planning to become a missionary to East Asia but could not make it because of certain objective factors. So he stayed in Korea to set up new churches.
When he married his wife in 1986, the couple planned not to have any children because of his planned missionary work. Later they adopted children and then he began to feel that he did not know how to be a father. So the school was his best choice.
Realizing that this course helped him a lot, he brought it into his ministry field.
Nurture the future generation
He came to Sabah in 2013 and spent a year getting to know the various denominations in Sabah. In 2014 he organized a School for Fathers especially for Koreans. “Many Koreans are working in Sabah so I organized it for them.”
Later he had the opportunity to participate in a conference chaired by Rev. Timothy S. Wu, a pastor from Taiwan. During the conference Rev. Wu pointed out that spiritually the Hakka people in Sabah were going downhill. Inspired by that he wanted to help the Christians in Sabah to nurture their next generation as the slogan of Father School says “A loving father, A loving family.”
The first Father School in Sabah was held in 2016 in KK. He shortened the five-week course into a four-day intensive course because of various factors. It was followed in Sandakan in April 2018.
In 2017 he visited Sibu Methodist Theological School. The Principal, Rev. Dr. Khoo Ho Peng, told him about the need to hold the School in Sibu. After two years of planning he decided to hold the first Father School in Sibu in 2019.
“I brought 27 co-workers to Sibu, 8 of them from South Korea and 19 from Sabah. Through these years of organizing the School in Sabah we have trained a lot of co-workers.”
56 fathers attended this course and all of them graduated. Rev. Kim praised the Sarawak students’ enthusiasm for to him that was the best result.
Father’s tremendous influence
In the Father School the attendees learn to be a father after God’s heart according to biblical principles. There are five themed sessions with group discussion after each session. There are multi-purposes ceremonies each week. At the end of the fifth gathering, family members are invited to the graduation ceremony.
The five themed sessions are “Father’s influence”, “Father’s manhood “, “Father’s mission”, “Father’s spirituality” and “Father and the family”.
Rev. Kim pointed out an all-time truth that a father has huge impact upon his children as they are always imperceptibly influenced by their parents (both good and bad). The School course helps to keep the good influences and take away the *bad influences.
He also mentioned that four main functions of a father are: communication, love, leadership and sending forth. “A father has the ability to help children in developing a healthy personality, in uniting the family and the functions of accepting, affirming and building up children. The end result is to teach his children to live a righteous life and to live independently.”
Jesus is a model of true man
The second session is “Father’s manhood”. “Kings, warriors, masters and friends” are listed as four factors supporting men in this course. However the culture of face-saving, work, alcoholic abuse, sex, leisure, violence, internet, drug abuse are eroding the image of manhood.
“To restore the image of manhood we must first restore our sense of responsibility, holiness, leadership and love. Only Jesus Christ is a model of true men.”
The basis of “Father’s mission” is the husband’s mission. The husband’s mission is to love his wife first and then the children. He has to love his wife first so that they can take care of the children together and be the source, the leaders, the pride and the future of their children.
“Father’s spirituality” emphasizes the four spiritual authorities of a father, namely: the authority of blessing, the authority of teaching, the authority of admonition and the authority to pass on faith.
“Father and the family” is the fifth session of the course. Family members are invited to participate in this session so that they can understand the role of being a father. This session emphasizes family, family and church, the restoration of the true character of a father and a vow of purity.
Father School is a “movement”
It is a movement to expand the Kingdom of God and to help fathers to build a healthy family under the guidance of biblical teachings. A father is the foundation to build the family, then the church and ultimately the Kingdom of God.
Father Schoolis an inter-denominational movement. The joint efforts of different churches, regions, cultures and ethnic groups are required for the expansion of the kingdom of God. In John 17 Jesus prayed for the union of the church.
It is also a volunteer movement. Serving others is wonderful because mature people serve others. This is a voluntary ministry which means the volunteers offer their money, time and talents for the benefit of others and they grow while serving others.
It is a spiritual movement. The drive behind the transformation and the drive to serve others is the work of the Holy Spirit. The workers pray for the participants (Prayer), the participants sharing their problems (Confession) and the workers serve the participants wholeheartedly (Service).
It is also a practical movement. It is not just about learning, but application. The School sends fathers to their families and societies. To bring forth a Christian family, a father has to give the family: Prayer, Hug and Blessing.
A gathering of 12 alumni was set up after the end of the School. The main function is “after-sales service.” Rev. Kim pointed out that it was not difficult for anyone to attend the course however keeping up with what was learnt was the difficult part. In his experience on keeping to what was learnt* for a span of one year was the longest record and one month for the shortest record. So the setting up of this body to supervise and encourage each other is important.
Recorded by April
Translated by KT Chew