Dwayne Howard has three biological children who call him “Daddy”. But he will tell you that he is a father to many more, whose lives he touches through his ministry.
The pastor at New Dimensions Ministries feels most alive, he says, when he can offer a father’s touch to people’s lives. “Letting them know they are not alone in their journey, but they belong and are incredibly valuable to society as a whole. I see this as God the Father’s heart towards humanity, and I live to duplicate His model of reconciliation and reformation towards all,” he says, adding that he gets ecstatic about the opportunity to empower others to succeed.
“I am very protective and supportive about those I have the opportunity to nurture, and I provoke those in my sphere to be their best selves, including my children.”
Just as exciting for Dwayne, is fathering his seven-year-old twin boys, Isaiah and Seraph, and third son, four-year-old Jayden. “Parenting is exhilarating, challenging, but mostly rewarding,” he said. “It has made me a more humble, responsible and patient man, and it has erupted in my heart a love I never knew existed. It is such an awesome responsibility having this opportunity, and one I definitely don’t take lightly.
From the womb to their present state, they have challenged me to evolve into a better person, and I thank God for gifting them to me, as they’re shaping me into a better person, as much as I am doing the same to them.” He recalled when he heard he and his wife, Tao, were having twins.
Dwayne said his knees literally gave out. But when they were born, there was no unsteadiness in his conviction that he had been given a gift that he intended to cherish. “Holding them for the first time and seeing how tender they were, brought on an overwhelming sensation and revelation of how Father God must feel towards me.
It made me think of His love, and as I stood there thinking about the fact that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them, I reflected on the reality that there is nothing God wouldn’t do for us.” Dwayne said, describing it as a powerful moment. “Holding Jayden when he was born three years later cast the same effect as well.”
Above all, he wants his sons to have a fiery passion for Jesus, just like he does. Dwayne says that passion changed the very fabric of his life, the same way his sons’ entry into this world impacted on the richness of his.
“It has made me the man I am today, and I want that above all things for them. I want them to discover their passions and fulfill their purpose in the earth. I’m very supportive of their endeavours and loves, whether social, athletic or academic. I also want them to love people wholeheartedly, and understand that success for self is really no success, unless it affects others positively and brings transformation to the whole.
I want them to be selfless, understanding and know that the greatest leaders are always the greatest servants,” he added. While they are still young, Dwayne is already seeing some special qualities in each of his boys and some of himself and his wife in their personalities as well. He said his wife is “like a treasure chest filled with many jewels, and they all wear them in some form or another”. “Their creative spirit is definitely a gift from her, as they are all very into art.
They are all very emphatic as well, and this is a strong trait of my wife,” Dwayne said. “They are like me in some ways as well. I see my drive for perfection in Isaiah, as well as my passion for people.” Isaiah, he said, is sensitive to and encourages other people and also provides leadership to his brothers. “That sensitivity was with him from the time he was born. He always asks me about my day and how work was for me,”
Dwayne recalled, before telling a touching story of how his little son saved a woman’s life. “The lady was a nursery worker. She was going through a deep time of depression. She tells the story of what was supposed to be her last day at work, as she was planning to take her life in the evening. However, during nursery, Isaiah just came to her and hugged her, and didn’t let her go for the entire day. She wept and tells of how God showed His care for her through Isaiah, and how she changed her mind about taking her life because of his sensitivity towards her that day.” In Seraph, Dwayne sees his competitive spirit.
“He is very good at sports and he hates to lose. Whatever he does, he does with all of his heart, and he pushes himself to always be at his best. He also has a deep love for family, and he makes sure that his brothers are always protected and taken care of,” the beaming father said. Pointing out his son’s enthusiasm for spending quality time with his family, he recalled how Seraph woke him up one morning at 5 o’clock and told him he wanted to go down to the beach and spend time with him. “We went together and watched the sun come up, and had the best of talks.”
The ability to “enjoy his own company” is a trait that Dwayne says he and Jayden share. “Sometimes he would go in a separate space in the house and create his own fun, and as the youngest sibling growing up, that was definitely me,” he said. Dwayne also admires Jayden’s straightforwardness, his bravery and loving nature – and his chattiness.
“That boy can talk! I have never met a kid that can talk as much as Jayden, and he says the fondest and craziest things at times. As the youngest, I guess he wants to make sure his voice is heard. I love that he doesn’t try to fit a mould, but he is bold and sets his own pace. He is also very loving and he loves to make sure my wife and I get our hugs and kisses. I would say he is a mummy’s boy right now, and in that way he takes after me in my youth, as I was the youngest sibling and a mother’s boy as well.” Twelve years of leading youth in the church, Dwayne said, prepared him for the job of raising those three boys.
The elder in charge of Forerunners for Christ, the youth ministry at New Dimensions Ministries, said he has a dynamic with those young people that’s similar to the relationship he has with his boys. “When I commenced my journey with the youth ministry back in 2005, I was more of a task-oriented personality style, who saw things very black and white and was more interested in getting goals fulfilled.
Fast forward 12 years, serving in the life of the youth has definitely shaped my style of leadership into one that is more fatherly, rather than having just a teacher’s mindset. A style of leadership that isn’t just obsessed with reaching goals but deeply engaged in the process and means to the expected end,” he said.
by Krystal Hoyte
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