A few weeks ago, I was honored to be invited by John Finch to write a story/testimony about the importance of fathers for the Encouraging Dads Project. John was kind enough to return the favor, and accepted to be interviewed for the Christian Creative Nexus.
I know you will enjoy reading about him and his tremendous vision and ministry. I also invite you to watch the 15-minute preview of the The Father Effect video at the end of the interview.
Welcome, John! It’s great to have you with us. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
I have been married to an amazing cajun girl for 23 years and have 3 daughters ages 11, 16, and 18. I just turned 50 years old and love to golf when I get the chance.
How did God reveal your need to deal with your father and Father issues? How did it change you and your family?
I realized I had a father wound from my dad committing suicide some 30 years earlier and I struggled with abandonment. After years of trying to life on my own, my life was falling apart and God rescued me from myself. I had been struggling with alcohol, my relationship with my wife and kids was not what it should have been, and my only hope was Jesus. Finding the life-changing power of God’s forgiveness for my dad has changed my family, my life, and my legacy in ways I never imagined.
How did that result in the establishment of The Encouraging Dads Project and The Father Effect book and film?
I knew the things that I struggled with and the issues I had with my dad were not unique to me and that others needed hope and healing like I had experienced with God. I thought most men were like me and would rather watch a movie rather than read a book, so I decided to make a movie. The Encouraging Dads Project came about as a result of making the movie. I met many dad that felt like they weren’t a good enough dad and felt beat up. So, we needed a way to encourage and support dads.
Do you have a background in writing or film making? If not, how did you accomplish them?
I do not have a background with writing or film. With some encouragement from others, I just learned the film business on my own. I spent countless hours on YouTube and at the Apple store. Fortunately for me, I was blessed with a great co-writer on the book.
How did people respond to the Project and the book/film? What was the effect on men/boys? Women/girls?
We have been blessed with a tremendous response to the film and book. God has continued to use both to help others find healing and hope from their own father wounds and create an awareness with dads about the significant and life-long impact they have on their kids. I receive emails all the time about how God continues to use the book and movie to help men and women understand how their dads molded and shaped them into who they are as adults and help them forgive their dads.
What challenges did you encounter launching and managing these projects?
It’s always much harder than you originally imagine. It took 5 years to make the movie and I learned a lot about patience and trust in God. The hardest prayer for all those years was that His will be done, not mine, and in His time, not mine. It’s more difficult and time consuming than most comprehend to make a movie and write a book. Trying to connect with people of influence and get the projects in the right hands was the most difficult.
How did you maintain your faith and focus during those trials? Did you ever want to give up? What keeps you motivated now?
My faith grew more through this process probably than ever before because of the patience and trust God taught me. He taught me just to trust Him through it all. He is still teaching that. I wanted to give up literally a hundred times, but it was amazing how God would show up and show me His hand was still in the projects. I continue to learn things about how I can be a better dad and husband and I am just blessed to be along for the ride on the bus God is driving. Hearing all the stories of how God has used the book and movie to help others keeps me motivated every day. This is the mission God has given me and I will continue to do it for the rest of my life.
If someone is inspired by your story and wanted to start a ministry, what advice or tips would you give them?
Find a mentor who has a ministry and can help guide them through the process. If you can find that person, it could shorten the learning curve and, hopefully, help them not make all the mistakes most make.
When you think over the last few years, what do you see as the biggest blessing?
Without a doubt, I would say the forgiveness God showed me for my dad. It has radically changed my life and legacy in every way.
Where do you see your ministries going in the next 5-10 years?
I pray I continue to have the opportunity to share the stories about the power of forgiveness and do other film projects and write a few more books.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The epidemic of fatherlessness and absent fathers is much, much bigger than anyone really knows, so we need to continue to spread the word and message of hope and healing. It is the cause of most of our major social issues – addiction, teenage pregnancy, prison inmate populations, gangs, etc. We can change many lives of the generations to come by helping change the lives of dads now.
John, it’s been a pleasure hearing your story and seeing how God has inspired you to touch people’s lives in the hopes of fostering healing and reconciliation to our earthly fathers as well as our Heavenly Father. God bless you and your family, and I pray that you continue to share your passion and gifts with the world.
Readers, thank you for being with us today. Please leave your comments below, as well as check out the video excerpt. I hope that God touches you today.