Between Us Guys: Life-Changing Conversations for Dads & Sons

Joel Fitzpatrick
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This easy-to-use, life-changing book for fathers and sons gives readers the tools to have important conversations with boys about life, faith, and being a man. With a conversational and captivating tone, fathers and other caregivers are guided into having gospel-focused conversations with boys ages six to ten about a wide range of topics from social justice and friendships to money, anger, and more.

Dads are given an incredible opportunity to be one of the primary influences in their children's lives for the gospel. By inviting conversations in every arena of life, fathers pass down the message of Christ to the next generation. As a youth and family pastor and father to a young boy who's entered into many of these conversations, Joel Fitzpatrick knows it's important not to shy away from difficult subjects.

But he also knows dads and other caregivers need help in how to have intentional conversations with boys about God, themselves, and what difference knowing the gospel makes to their everyday life. Fitzpatrick invites fathers to share with their sons how the gospel shapes all aspects of life, including how they treat women, people from other ethnic groups, and much more. Specific, practical help is given to dads through suggested activities, God's Word, and insightful questions.

In a world where television, the internet, social media, and gaming culture have taken away from quality time spent between fathers and sons, Between Us Guys urges readers to lean in to important conversations with the grace and knowledge of Christ.


Joel Fitzpatrick has served as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America with a focus on youth and family. He received his MDiv from Westminster Seminary California. Joel lives in Southern California with his wife of nearly twenty years and their two children. He is the coauthor of Mom, Dad . . . What's Sex? and contributed chapters to The Sinner and Saints Devotional: 60 Days in the Psalms.

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"Joel Fitzpatrick wants to help boys grow up to be passionate, spiritual men. But he knows that simply learning a list of godly character traits is not the key to manliness. Between Us Guys makes clear that what sons need most is to know and love the God who became a man to save them. I'm really excited to recommend this devotional for dads of boys in our church."

Jared Kennedy, Pastor of Operations and Families at Sojourn Church Midtown, Louisville, KY; author of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible

"William Butler Yeats, in his 1929 poem Coole Park, used these words to describe a particular man: 'There one that ruffled in a manly pose, For all his timid heart.' Everywhere we turn today, the fallout of 'ruffling men' is hard to ignore. Men are 'ruffling' and 'posing' because, deep down, they have no clue who they are. Within the heart of every man is the question, 'Do I have what it takes?' and, for most men, this question has never come close to being answered. Ideally, fathers help sons answer this question, but the fathers of most men are still looking for the answer themselves. Between Us Guys: Life-Changing Conversations for Dads and Sons is a book that is transformative for fathers and sons because it helps both answer the 'Do I have what it takes?' question. This book calls dads and sons into the true fellowship of manhood where ruffling and posing are no longer necessary."

Tray Lovvorn, Podcast Host, speaker, and cofounder of Undone Redone, Inc.

"Life is hectic. Distractions abound. Meaningful conversations don't just happen. Thankfully, Joel Fitzpatrick not only encourages fathers and father figures to cut through the clutter of daily life and engage their sons in real conversations, but he also equips them to do it. These fast-paced, engaging devotionals help dads point their sons to Jesus. As a pastor and father of three sons, I could not be more grateful."

Kevin Labby, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church, Winter Springs, FL

"'So be strong, act like a man' (1 Kings 2:2). In our age the words of King David while on his deathbed to his son Solomon would be considered offensive. In this work, Joel realizes that sad reality and treats the subject of 'what is a man' with the utmost of care while never backing down on what a man really is. His little work teaches men to talk to their sons, telling them that a man is a broken person who looks to Christ as their only hope for salvation while trying to live their vocations by serving their neighbors in love, freely. If you are a father with sons, don't miss out on this invaluable resource."

Scott L. Keith, Executive Director, 1517 The Legacy Project; author of Being Dad: Father as a Picture of God's Grace

"Some the most life-shaping moments of my life were spent one on one with my father. This wonderful book brought me right back to those conversations. It's not just a book about 'the sex talk' that fathers dread. It's a book about talking to your son as a fellow guy. It's about having conversations that will never leave him. It's about pointing boys to Christ in everything. I highly recommend it."

Daniel Emery Price, Director of Christ Hold Fast; author of Scandalous Stories: A Sort of Commentary on Parables

"Here's a book for each of us dads who has found it hard to start those most important conversations we want to have with our boys. Joel not only knows how to get us talking, he reminds us what is most importantÑand that's Jesus."

Jack Klumpenhower, Author of Show Them Jesus

"When it comes to dads building a close relationship with their sons, sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. Between Us Guys is a valuable means for connecting fathers and sons. It provides both the substance and easy avenues for fathers and sons to have meaningful conversations. I believe that any father who reads through Between Us Guys with his sons will grow closer to them and their God."

Cameron Cole, Director of Children, Youth, and Family, The Cathedral Church of the Advent; founding chairman of Rooted Ministry; coeditor of Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide; and author of Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths That Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy

"Attention Dads! In your hand is a tool that will guide you into a deeper relationship with your son and draw both of you into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Between Us Guys is filled with stimulating thoughts from Scripture on many rhythms of life (work, play, money, sex, . . . even failure!), which then tee up dads for great talks with their sons. If you're looking for something fresh, practical, and gospel-saturated, something that includes solid discussion questions and helpful activitiesÑbuy this book and start making memories with your boy!"

Dave Harvey, President, Sojourn Network; teaching pastor at Summit Church, Naples; founder and author of Am I Called?

"Since I'm neither a dad nor a son (obviously!), you might be wondering why I'd endorse a book like this. It's because I know the author very well. In fact, I've known him well since the day he was born. I've watched him grow up, marry, have children, and become a pastor. And I've watched him parent his son and his daughter, and I love the way he loves them. He's qualified to write this book for you because he lives this kind of life with his son every day. So, moms, pick this up as a gift for your husbands. Dads, pick this up as a starting place for meaningful conversations with your sons. I know this author. He's the real deal."

Elyse Fitzpatrick, Author of Give Them Grace

"Honest. Insightful. Christ-centered. Those words sum up well this splendid gem of a book by Joel Fitzpatrick. Drawing on his own experience as a dad, he leads us into wise and critical conversations to have with our sons. My own son is now eighteen. I wish I'd had this book early in his life as a guide on our own journey together."

Chad Bird, Author and speaker

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7 Reviews

  • 4
    Good Gospel Outlines for Everyday Topics

    Posted by JDewey on 04 21 2022

    I have only read about 1/3 of the outlines, including: the intro, the gospel, school/work/identity, family, girls, sex, defending others, and heaven. It appears that this book offers a good start for a father to think about how to point to the gospel while talking about many every day topics. The outline that the author uses is: 1) What we were created for; 2) Sin has broken us all; 3) Jesus Died to Make it Better; and, 4) How we live with love. The author's description of what it means to be a man is fantastic: "A man is a broken, sinful person who looks to Christ for salvation, points others to Christ, and lays down his life so that others can live. A man understands that he cannot be good enough to earn God's love, and because of that he doesn't expect others to earn his." I liked this book so much that I purchased the girls version, which did not quite live up to the standard that this book set.

  • 4
    Dads, You Need This Resource

    Posted by Theron St. John on 08 26 2019

    One of the challenges with youth ministry can be there is an expectation the pastor overseeing that ministry is the one in charge of discipling the children and youth of the church. While it is true the role of a youth pastor is to focus on making disciples in the youth, the mission of disciple-making is not merely or primarily his toward the youth. It is the parents. The youth pastor is meant to come alongside, discipling and equipping the parents, while sharing the load in discipling the youth. If this is the call, though, then why is the expectation for the pastor to head the task of disciple-making? While many reasons could be presented, one I have witnessed as a pastor overseeing youth and family ministries of the church is parents feel ill-equipped. If this describes you as a parent, especially to you as a father, then I'd like to introduce you to Joel Fitzpatrick and his new resource, Between Us Guys: Life-Changing Conversations for Dads & Sons. A Conversation Starter As a father himself, Joel realizes the crucial role parents, and in particular, fathers, have on the lives of their children. He also understands the call for dads to step up and lead their children in discipleship. This means not only using formal moments for sharing biblical truth but seeing everyday conversations as opportunities to share the gospel. That is exactly what he has done in writing the 14 talks featured in this resource. From friends and school to girls and sex, Joel walks through each of these talks presenting the intention of creation, the brokenness of sin, and the redemption found in Jesus Christ. The book opens up answering the question, "What is a man?" (Fitzpatrick 2) and is structured to guide dads through talks with their sons. Questions listed along the way aim to jumpstart conversations between dads and their sons. A Relationship Builder Between Us Guys not only serves to start gospel conversations between fathers and their sons but as they walk through these topics together, dads will see this resource seeks to be a relationship builder too. These talks are not meant to be read verbatim by the father in a way sounds like lecturing; rather, these chapters encourage dads to take pointers from what Fitzpatrick writes. What Mr. Fitzpatrick puts forth is with the intention of guiding fathers into conversations of relevant topics with redemptive themes. The most important talks fathers will want to be intentional on are the talks on family (highlighting both biological family and the spiritual family made up of the church), girls, and sex. The book wisely includes critical counsel on facing and responding to sexual abuse (Fitzpatrick 84). Yet, for all the topics the book includes, it would have made sense to split one topic into two distinct talks. Talk 14 on heaven certainly takes a look at death, but the impact of the talk would have been more effective if a whole talk would have been devoted to death followed by a talk on heaven. That said, the book does end with a talk on heaven, followed by 3 appendices which seek to equip the father to share the gospel with his son and set the example in family worship. A Go-To Resource for Dads As a conversation starter and a relationship builder, Between Us Guys will be the go-to resource for Christian dads who want to show their sons what it means to be changed by the gospel and share with them how the gospel impacts every area of life. This resource is especially a fit for fathers who are in the midst of raising elementary-aged sons. If you are a Christian father (or know a father) who needs guidance and encouragement to speak the gospel into your son's life, then this is the book for you. If you want to go beyond just the formal times of instruction and learn how to intentionally turn topics of everyday life into conversations of eternal significance, then get this resource. If there was ever a guide to equip you to share how the gospel shapes every area of life even for the elementary student, this would be it. Dads, you need this resource! I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 5
    Just What We Needed

    Posted by Life in the Mundane on 06 15 2019

    My husband I both read through this book before deciding to start it with our boys and we were so impressed with what we saw that we went out and ordered the "Between us girls" book so that we could all have "Between us" time as a family. Now every Wednesday afternoon we take time to divide up as guys and girls to spend time having these important conversations. It is helping us grow in our relationship with our kids and more so It is helping use introduce them to their Creator. One thing I particularly love about this book is how open and go it is and that they have already given you questions to ask your sons. Even once we finish the book I feel that I can continue with the tools and examples I have been given to go into further topics. That being said there were just a few chapters where I felt the scripture references he used to back up his points seemed a bit awkward to me. Like there may have been better examples or verses to site. That being said I did not feel like the book brought up any topics that were unbiblical so I am comfortable just adding to those few chapters with verses I think are a bit more applicable. I do love a lot of things about this book and would recommend it to others.

  • 5
    Quite good! There is nothing like it!

    Posted by Ko Matsuo on 06 10 2019

    This is quite a good book. Fitzpatrick walks you through 14 very different and very real topics ranging from friendship, generosity, disappointment, money, sex, and play. He takes these topics and walks you through how each of these are good, how we mess them up, how Jesus' death applies to each topic, and how we can live in light of that knowledge. This narrative is repeated over all 14 topics. The book is compact enough that you can read it in one sitting, or you can spend 10 minutes reading each section before sitting down with your son. There is nothing quite like it.

  • 5
    This would be a wonderful gift to give to someone.

    Posted by Lori on 06 10 2019

    I strongly recommend this book! I loved how the author describes the differences between man and then there's a man. By this, I mean some fathers are not around all the time for some reason or another. Then, there are men that really enjoy being a father and want to be around their children. When I first opened this book I felt kind of weird because this was a book that talks about how to be a father to their sons or son. I learned quite a lot of interesting things about what it takes to be a father and not just make the baby and then leave or just being around for show. ( Not the word I'm looking for but maybe I'll find it later) The author engages us in some wonderful biblical pamessages throughout the book. I think this book would be wonderful to use in Bible studies or Sabbath School/ Sunday school.

  • 5
    Really loved this book!

    Posted by Carl Jenkins on 06 10 2019

    I really loved this book. As a father and a Youth & Family minister, this book has already been very helpful to me. It isn't a difficult book at all. You could easily read it in a day and be done with it, but thankfully this book is written to be used. The book covers a number of different topics and helps fathers talk to their sons about them. It is not terribly deep, but that's the point in getting these conversations started. It doesn't matter if you've had plenty of good conversations with your sons or if you're completely new to it, I believe this book will be a good guide for you. Fitzpatrick does well in making sure the father and son are both open with each other, providing good questions for each to answer, and then looks at a topic, the way we fail at it, and how Jesus makes us whole again. I've already started using it for my Bible class on Sunday morning, and while it is geared towards father's and sons it isn't hard to adapt it into a discussion to have with your daughters too for most topics.

  • 4
    The entire book is conversational and easy to read.

    Posted by Josh Vardy on 06 05 2019

    Between us guys is a great book for fathers to read and then read with their sons. I’m not a father, but the topics discussed covered a wide range and provide a good base of conversations as boys move in preteen ages and then eventually teenage years. The pattern that these discussions follow is also very helpful. In terms of the discussion itself, an activity is suggested to start and questions are included to make it flow more naturally and with more enjoyment than just sitting down and chatting, especially in the beginning. The consistent headings of the discussions are really helpful in moving through as it anchors everything in Christ and His work in us to bring us back into relationship with God and reduce the effects of the fall. Whilst this works for 9-11 year olds, the content can be adapted for older ages as well. Scriptures are included frequently, and appendices cover sharing the Gospel between father and son as well as the importance of family worship and bible reading outside of the church. The entire book is conversational and easy to read.

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