About four years ago, a group of dads involved in the Barren Heights Men’s Ministry had a vision for a YouTube video podcast series in order to reach out and better connect with men right where they’re at. Their goal was two fold: validate and ensure that dads of special needs children know they are not alone, and encourage them to reach out so that they do not have to fight the battle alone. After months of hard work by many people, these videos came to life with the Shell Shocked series.
These videos, filmed, released and promoted several years ago, are still making an impact and reaching special needs dads today. Since the major shutdowns began, we have unfortunately had to cancel many events and retreats but have been working on actively connecting with our families in new and creative ways. We recognize that for many families, this isolation is nothing new. We know that now is not a time to scale back, but to dig in so that every mom, dad, and child may know the hope and love of Jesus.
One of the ways we have been seeking to connect is through sending weekly encouragement emails to our moms and to our dads. The dads have been receiving the Shell Shocked videos along with some encouragement for the past 7 weeks. At the end of April, we received this response back:
This video could not have come at a better time. Is there anyone I can talk to there? Things are getting worse with our daughter’s seizures. Our best case scenario is brain surgery. I do not feel prepared at all as a husband or a father to deal with the things we are going through. If there is anyone that has went through similar things, would it be possible for me to talk to them? I know my wife probably needs to talk with someone too. She is crying alot. I just don’t know what to do, neither does she.
This was from a guest dad who first attended a retreat last summer and has since been to several men’s events as well as the men’s retreat. After he reached out, we immediately got him connected to a Battle Buddy and connected his wife with a women’s ministry volunteer. Both volunteers were more than willing to reach out and connect with this family through their current realities.
This impact is only possible because of the dad’s involved and their willingness to participate, open up, and share – which is not always easy. These videos are beyond worth the effort put into them, and several years later they are still making an impact.