Why Spiritual Fathers? Ep #1

Why Spiritual Fathers? Ep #1

There’s been a rapid rise of people who claim to have no religious affiliation. 3 out of 10 Americans call themselves religious “nones.” They’re atheist or agnostic. Church attendance has declined. Only 58% of Boomers, 50% of GenX, and 35% of Millennials belong to a church. The numbers keep declining. So how do we reach young men who have no interest in church or religious affiliation? How do we walk alongside them and help them become the best versions of themselves? Brett Clemmer—the President and CEO of Man in the Mirror—joins me in this inaugural episode to discuss the origin of “Spiritual Fathers” and its mission. You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

Learn more about Brett Clemmer and his dad [0:45]

Learn more about Man in the Mirror [4:35] The birth of Spiritual Fathers [8:55]

The rise of the “nones” [12:02] Is your life worth imitating? [17:43]

What gives Brett hope [23:28]

Why I joined Spiritual Fathers [25:48]

How do you define success? [31:51]

How to get involved with Spiritual Fathers [38:17]

The Man in the Mirror Brett, his wife, and two toddlers were active in the church on the weekends. But during the week, he was traveling all week getting his software company up and running. It was negatively impacting his family. A buddy at church invited him to join a small group. They started reading the book, “The Man in the Mirror” by Pat Morley. The guys around him were young dads and leaders in the church. They were all struggling—all but one, the oldest guy in the group. He’d figured some things out and was doing well. They were able to lean on his success to help them get through difficult times. We both had men in our lives—who weren’t our physical fathers—who helped us in our spiritual journeys. We believe that every man deserves that support. The birth of Spiritual Fathers That same man knew Pat Morley. When Brett’s software company shut down in 2000, he started working with Man in the Mirror and he’s been there for 25 years. Before Covid hit, Brett had been trying to figure out ways to reach younger guys. They seem distracted by building careers, marriages, and families. They realized that they needed to have an older mentor, i.e. “Spiritual Father” for the young men, to walk beside them. They knew it would make an impact. That was the birth of Spiritual Fathers. What’s missing from the church? With the decline of beliefs, church affiliation, and lack of friendships we’re seeing more “Acts of despair.” We have this vast, unfathered, lonely, broken generation that is seeking meaning and purpose in life. Ryan Burge is one of the leading researchers on dechurching. In his research, he found that 70% of the young men surveyed felt that belonging to a church would help them. But the vast majority had their “peak religious experience” over 10 years prior. Something is missing from the church: fundamental core relationships. Brett made sure his son was surrounded by older men who invested in him as he grew up. This is no longer a common practice in the church and it needs to be. The impact of one man investing in another is exponential. It will impact that person’s wife, kids, friends, workplace, and community. It can have a generational impact. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant but it doesn’t require intentionality. What involvement with Spiritual Fathers looks like We’ve written a guidebook outlining how to relate to the next generation. We cover communication, emotions, vulnerability, developing relationships, and how to find a spiritual son. We cover all of the practical things you need to be mindful of in the process. Our materials help a spiritual father get into the daily act of journaling and prayer. We provide introspective questions to help the son think about who he is, how life is going, his relationship with God, his vision for the future, etc. The spiritual father is doing the same work to walk alongside him in the journey. It’s about spurring meaningful conversations. Our goal is to raise up 10,000 Spiritual Fathers to make a positive impact on the next generation. If you’re a guy ready to get started, we can get resources in your hands.

Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

Resources & People Mentioned

The Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley “Nones” on the Rise

“The Nones” by Ryan Burge Church Attendance Has Declined in Most U.S. Religious Groups

Connect with Brett Clemmer

Man in the Mirror Connect on LinkedIn

Connect with Spiritual Fathers The Spiritual Fathers website



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