Reshaping the Church

A father preparing the next generation

Posted September 15, 2021

by Jackson Fordyce

Finishing a session break at Promise Keepers 2021, Mark Miller and his son Caleb (8), are wrestling on the ground near the Dallas Cowboys star at the center of the field. For Mark, this is not another Christian conference, this is a time to show his son what being a follower of Christ truly means.

“As a parent...I want my children to not just be an attender but fully invested in the heart of the Lord.”

Mark opens up about what it means to be a father, leader, husband, and child of God.

Mark, when I noticed you and Caleb together at Promise Keepers, I wondered what would make a father want to bring his son to a predominantly adult male conference. Could you expand upon that?

Yeah, I'm always looking for opportunities to leverage ways to have Christ become more real to my kids. So, being the leader of my family, I wanted to model that for my son...I think that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to bring him because there's power in numbers, right? And so him recognizing, hey, this is what we do as men of God. We set time apart. We pray for our families or leaders. We surround ourselves with other men that are doing the exact same things as us. And so, seeing that and feeling that is very different from reading about it and knowing that it exists.

And this is not your first time at Promise Keepers, correct?

Yeah, my dad took me to Promise Keepers when I was around 16, maybe around 1993. I don't know if my mom encouraged him. It was really interesting at that time. My parents were separated because my dad had an affair and I remember going and seeing him make promises that he didn’t carry through on. I wanna be the dad that he was...in a better representation than he was. I don't wanna have to be here 'cause my wife is making me. I don't want to have to make promises that I really don’t want to keep...because I’m caught in sin.

What was Caleb’s response to the conference?

Yeah, so we were driving to the conference on Friday and Caleb asked, “Hey, what's going to happen with the conference?” I was like there's stuff you might get bored...with so let's pray about this. Let’s pray and ask God what He wants to speak to us this weekend. Let’s wait on him."

Caleb said, “I don’t know how to do that.” So I said, “Well, with practice, you can.”

So as we were worshipping, I said to him “Buddy, I want you to feel free to do whatever you want to do.” As we were worshipping he began to write down stuff. And I'm looking out of the corner of my eye, just observing but not making it a big deal...After worship, he had some things written down that he felt the Lord said to him.

“Caleb, I'm glad your father is taking you to this conference.”

“Caleb, I want you to think about what I have done for you.”

“Caleb, you are precious to me.”

“Caleb, I love you. I will defend you.”

“Caleb, you are made by me and you are beautiful.”

“Caleb, you are my precious son.”

“Caleb, I love you with all my heart.”

“Caleb, you are special.”

“Caleb, You are adored by me.”

“Caleb, I am for you.”

I understand much of your time was focused on Caleb, but what do you feel that you learned this weekend?

It was good. You know, it's always good just to be in the Lord’s presence. I don't think there's any specific word that I felt from the Lord, except thank you for leading the future generation. Our world is messy...and it always has been, but it just feels more volatile than ever. So, as a parent...I want my children to not just be an attender but fully invested in the heart of the Lord. I think that this weekend for me...was the Lord's affirmation of Him saying, “Thank you for doing that. Thank you for starting him out early. Thank you for leveraging any opportunity you can to be around the heart of what it means to be a man.”

Is Caleb your only child?

No, he's not. He’s the oldest and then Laney is 6, she’s my girl. My youngest is Hayes, he’s 1 and 2 months.

Would you want to bring Hayes to a Promise Keepers Conference one day?

Haha, yeah, of course!