The Urban Light Ministries Board met in October for a time of reflection and confirmation. The purpose was to review the strategic direction of the ministry and through prayerful discernment, outline the plans for the upcoming year. The challenge is to leverage the deep and rich history of Urban Light Ministries while effectively transitioning and expanding the impact it can make on building stronger fathers for the benefit of their children, families, churches, and communities.
The consensus was to continue to focus the efforts on addressing the impact of father absence through biblically-based fatherhood programming. An updated research white paper was developed and published that supports the positive impact these programs can have. Three new initiatives addressing this objective include:
Launching a new online fatherhood community called “Fathering Strong” in January – the website has been developed and already has over 50 fathers without an official launch
Begin bringing communities of fathers and experts together through the release of a new podcast hosted by Pastor Eli with the official release in April
Bring the community of fatherhood practitioners, program leaders, and fathers together through the offering of a live and virtual fatherhood conference that is planned for May.
The Sonshine Clubs and the work of enriching the lives of children through in-school children’s ministries will transition through supporting and assisting the launch of LifeWise Academies which provide released time bible based character education to elementary-age youth during school hours.
I feel the board retreat brought a sense of renewed direction that will allow Urban Light Ministries to continue reaching more fathers and families. The direction is to focus resources on building the fatherhood initiatives and continue to support children’s ministries through collaboration, not duplication.
Award winners will receive a free personalized, printable certificate and congratulatory letter via email.
“With father absence being a global crisis, we take seriously our responsibility to go ‘into all the world,’ ” said ULM founder and President Eli Williams. “The internet enables us to expand our reach nationally and internationally.
“Some communities do not have a local fatherhood award,” he continued. “The Good Dad Award can serve as any community’s award by organizing a local event for a public awards presentation on Father’s Day weekend or any other time.”
In Clark County, all local Good Dad Award winners will be presented their certificates June 19 at 1 p.m. during the annual Juneteenth/ FatherFest. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Gammon House Museum, 620 Piqua Place, in Springfield. Festivities start with a 5K walk/run at 8 a.m.; beginning at 10 a.m. there will be exhibits, tours, food, resource tents and more. A Value Of Black Fathers discussion group will kick the week off on June 12 at 10 a.m. at COhatch.
This a part of ULM’s revamped approach to recognizing fathers.
“One of our mission’s original strategies has been to encourage men to be the best dads they can be for their children, families and communities,”
Williams said. “It is one of the most important responsibilities a man has in life. The Good Dad Award is a way to counter the negative images of fathers that are so pervasive in entertainment.
It’s a way to assist others in obeying the biblical command to honor fathers.”
The aim of The Good Dad Award is to recognize the crucial role fathers play in their children’s well-being and development, and to raise awareness of the value of fathers in their families and in their communities. The award identifies and honors outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children and/or for their exemplary contributions to the development of children in their communities.
In 2011, Springfield-based Urban Light Ministries announced a new fatherhood award called My Dad ROCKS. The name of the award changed in 2014 to the Clark County Community Fatherhood Awards. Eligibility expanded to include father figures of every type, and nominators no longer needed to be the minor child of the nominee. In 2020, a record 23 fathers received the award.
“Any male serving in a father-type role needs encouragement and should be honored, as he may be the only dad some children and youth have,” Williams said. “This includes grandfathers and other male relatives, mentors, coaches, teachers and others who are important to children.”
ULM’s resources for fathers includes its free online introduction to healthy fatherhood course POPS 101. It is available in English and Spanish and online at www.urbanlight.org.
Available are a video series for fathers, a downloadable dads devotional, the book and study guide “Father Love: The Powerful Resource Every Dad Needs” by Williams, and other materials. ULM also provides fatherhood workshops and courses for use by churches, organizations and conferences.
When: Weekly on Tuesdays | 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM | August 3 through October 26, 2021
Where: COhatch Heritage Room, Downtown Springfield
Facilitated conversation on fatherhood using the Bible-based book Father Love – The Powerful Resource Every Child Needs by Eli Williams. Each participant receives a copy of the book and Study Guide. Thesessions lead dads through a deeper dive into male-style parenting and helps men build bonds with other fathers for fellowship and peer mentoring.
Thirteen (13) one-hour sessions
Interactive Power Point® Presentations
Stimulating and encouraging conversations
Challenging Action Steps toward growing from good to great
SOME OF THE TOPICS COVERED
FATHER LOVE DEFINED
LOVE IS PATIENT AND KIND
LOVE IS NOT EASILY ANGERED
FATHER LOVE IS NURTURING
LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS
THE CREATOR’S FATHER LOVE
About the Author and Discussion Facilitator
Eli Williams is a husband, father, grandfather and ordained minister. He is president and co-founder of Urban Light Ministries (www.urbanlight.org) which provides a weekly after school program serving nearly 800 children annually. ULM operates a fatherhood program that since 2006 has annually impacted over 500 dads and their kids. Learn more at www.pastoreli.com.
Congratulations to Eli Williams for being awarded the Nehemiah Foundations 2020 Leadership Award. Pastor Eli Williams has presented the award at the Nehemiah Foundation’s annual Leadership breakfast meeting on November 19, 2020. The Leadership Award is presented to individuals in the community that has made a positive impact based on the foundation’s principles of Pray, Unify, Equip and Mobilize.