Passing on the faith: Musician Brian Doerksen and father at men’s conference in B.C.
“Did you know God’s voice can sound like Bob Dylan?” asked Brian Doerksen, as the final notes of Dylan’s “Make you feel my love” died away.
When the rain is blowin’ in your face, And the whole world is on your case, I could offer you a warm embrace, To make you feel my love.
Doerksen, a popular singer-songwriter who is well known for many worship songs including “Come, Now is the Time to Worship,” and “Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing),” was speaking to a crowd of over 70 men and boys at Gateway Community CRC in Abbotsford, B.C., gathered there for a men’s breakfast event on May 23, 2015, on the theme “Men of Integrity.”
As the main guest speaker, Doerksen, along with his band, the Shiyr Poets, led the group in worship and shared parts of his own testimony, speaking of those times that we all go through that we didn’t sign up for – times of darkness, times of losing the right words. Through his own difficult experiences Doerksen discovered peace and comfort in the Psalms, and entered a journey of singing through the Psalms, which he says took him places he didn’t always want to go.
“Sometimes we convince ourselves that sacrifices should be pure,” he stated, “that our praise should be perfect. But the Psalms contain anger and despair mixed in with thankfulness, and we can relate to that, because we are all human.”
From generation to generation
The breakfast event at Gateway was organized as part of an effort by pastoral staff to provide ministry to the men in their congregation through meaningful, inspirational fellowship time.
“It was encouraging to see so many fathers take their sons with them,” Marcel deRegt, Executive Pastor, said. “We had men and boys aged 8 up to 80, making it a truly intergenerational day.”
The organizers were thrilled when Doerksen, a local Abbotsford resident, initially agreed to come to the event. He and the Shiyr Poets (pronounced “sheer” – a Hebrew word for musical or lyrical) travel extensively and perform concerts across Canada and Europe.
“We had this weekend available and we were happy to make it happen,” said Doerksen, who also brought his own father, Harry Doerksen, onto the stage for a live interview as part of the presentation. The two men illustrated how faith is passed on to us from and through our fathers, and how that, in turn, shapes the kind of fathers that men become to their own children.
Doerksen asked his father to speak about three words: journey, doubt and faith. Through the interview, it was obvious that pure joy and assurance in faith comes through the act of surrendering everything to God. And while this is a hard lesson to learn, it is something we can pass on to the next generation.
As the morning concluded, everyone in the room stood to raise their voices to the words of “It is well with my soul,” the ageless hymn that continues to speak comfort, strength and conviction of faith to so many generations.