Strategy Guide – Guys Night

By: - February 5, 2011

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Need, Vision and Description of Strategy:

Let’s be honest – guys need support and encouragement during the adoption (and foster care) journey.  Only problem is, most guys are not willing or eager to seek it out and many are unwilling to take advantage of such opportunities when offered in the traditional “support group” setting.  Maybe it’s because of the connotations of being a part of a “support group” or maybe it has to do with the suggestion that “support” is even needed.  But if you change the focus from “support” to “connecting” with other guys who have adopted (or are fostering) or are considering adoption and throw in an additional reason to get together having to do with food, guys are likely to see the benefit of getting together and respond.  This is why Tapestry created Guys Night (formerly called Guys Burger Night).

Its stated purpose is to “find the best burger in town and talk about adoption or whatever else is on our minds.”  Our monthly get-togethers at burger establishments all over the Dallas area started with just four guys, but quickly grew to around 12+ guys at each gathering.  Attendance varies from month to month, but over 40 different guys have attended a Tapestry guys night since 2007. 

Sometimes the conversation is about adoption, and other times it revolves around work, sports, parenting or just life in general.  Sometimes the conversation is serious, while at other times it is light-hearted.  However, the burgers and fries seldom disappoint and these burger nights have allowed guys in our community of families to connect with one another, learn from one another and find the support and encouragement they need to help them along their adoption journey.

Steps to Implementation:

  • Identify guys (regardless of where they are in the pre or post-adoption/ foster care process) that might be interested
  • Identify one or two experienced adoptive dads that are willing to organize and “host” the burger night, consisting of simply selecting the restaurant and being there to keep the conversation going and headed in the right direction
  • Find a date and time that works (Tapestry hosts guys night on the third Tuesday night of each month at 6:30 pm so that guys can make come after work; the location moves around the Dallas area month to month in order to prevent the same guys from having to drive long distances every time)
  • Get the word out (Tapestry uses its email list and word-of-mouth to make guys aware of guys night dates/locations)

Key Roles & Titles:

One or more guys that have adoption/foster care experience and have a desire to see guys connect.  It is important that the guy leading this group is willing and able to walk alongside those pursuing various types of adoption (or foster care) journeys, not just the same path that the lead guy has experienced.

Expected Financial Cost:

Nothing (each guy pays for his own meal)

Potholes to Avoid:

  • Generally it is best not to force an agenda or conversation about adoption or any other specific topic (instead allow the conversation to evolve over time towards more substantive topics)
  • Try to keep the conversation generally appealing to all guys, regardless of their interests or specific adoption (or foster care) journey
  • Try to avoid having the conversation become an “advice giving” session (most guys come to connect not to listen to a lecture or to have someone solve all their problems or hurts)

Helpful Organizations:

Helpful Resources:

Quote from a Participant:

  • “The relaxed dinner atmosphere allows for discussion of adoption related issues that may not be possible in other settings.  Regardless of whether the discussion is deep or simply entertaining, I always leave the burger place excited about what God is doing in the lives of other adoptive families.”

Copyright 2008 Tapestry, a ministry of Irving Bible Church (www.tapestryministry.org)

Also Found In: Resources for Churches, Strategy Guides