Bishop T. D. Jakes, a father of five and spiritual father to many at his megachurch in Dallas, has a word of encouragement for all fathers for Father’s Day.

“I want to congratulate all the men out there who are working diligently to be good fathers whether they are stepfathers, or biological fathers or just spiritual fathers. I just congratulate any kind of way that you are encouraging people to be all that they can be,” Jakes said in an interview.

The bishop was in Newark, N.J., Saturday to speak at the 2011 McDonald’s Gospelfest. But before catching a plane back to Dallas to celebrate Father’s Day with his immediate family and church family, The Potter’s House, the pastor imparted some words of wisdom to Christian fathers.

“I think being a good Christian father, your responsibility varies with the age and the stage that your children are at,” he said.

“Instilling in them the values of our faith is important at early ages. Listening to them through adolescence becomes more important than teaching because if you haven’t instilled in them at early ages now it’s time to listen and get your report card and let them find their way. ”

Once the children are adults, as his are, Jakes said parents should “stand aside” and “just kind of guide them as they allow you to have input in their lives without trying to control them in the way that you did when they were toddlers.”

“These are good steps for fathers to use at each stage of their children’s lives.”

Bishop Jakes had also posted Father’s Day messages on Twitter Friday, encouraging “GOOD fathers, step fathers, spiritual fathers and mentors” to “hang n there.”

The Dallas pastor also tweeted, “This is the right time to reconnect w your father … knowing him may help u understand you (sic)! Give a perfect love to an imperfect man!”

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