It is God's design that "a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Matthew 19:5). God also said to the family, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). And finally, God commanded parents to "teach them (the commands of God) diligently to your children, and [you] shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:7).
After following God’s design for several years, I can testify that it is an absolutely wonderful and beautiful design. Of course, we still contend in a falling world that has its own set of challenges as “it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).” But nothing like the challenges that come from violating the privilege of God’s design.
For those who are fulfilling God’s design for marriage and family, I want to say keep being faithful. You are a shining light! May God richly bless your perseverance. On the other hand, there is an avalanche in our country of fathers abandoning their God-given duties, including their primary duty to evangelize and disciple their children.
In light of this, I believe the absence of men, especially godly men, in the home is one of the main problems facing America today. While a father may pass away unexpectedly and leave young children behind, the majority of fatherlessness results from men forfeiting their God-given responsibilities in the name of selfishness. And because of it, their children suffer. This goes against God’s beautiful and inspiring design of marriage.
The National Fatherhood Initiative provides the following information: “Research shows that when a child grows up in a father-absent home, he or she is …”
- Four times more likely to live in poverty.
- More likely to suffer emotional and behavioral problems.
- More likely to go to prison.
- More likely to commit a crime.
- More likely to face abuse and neglect.
- More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Two times more likely to suffer obesity.
- Two times more likely to drop out of high school.
To combat fatherlessness in our nation, and specifically, in our local communities, Christian men should use the evangelism strategy found in 2 Timothy 2:2 which says “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
In this Scripture, we see one man teaching another man who then teaches many more men. This type of evangelism can certainly have an impact when seen by others but it is most effective when it is done intentionally.
For those who are single men, this is a perfect ministry opportunity. I have been a part of several ministries that specifically address young men without dads. One is called Team Focus. They have now grown to have several chapters across America. Team Focus is a year-round program. Some of the functions of Team Focus include:
- Individual Tutoring and Mentoring Program
- Academic Support
- Social Activities
- Scholarship Opportunities
- Summer Leadership Camps
If you are married with young kids and can’t commit to a full-time ministry like Team Focus, there are other short-term opportunities with eternal impact. One that I have been a part of is Men of Honor. This is an effort of Engage Magazine’s parent ministry AFA.
The mission of Men of Honor is to teach fatherless boys ages 7-17 to be godly young men. They are taught the Scriptures as well as life skills such as how to change a flat tire, fill out a job resume, be a gentleman, become a craftsman, and much more.
For those who are already fathers and have a full schedule we still have a responsibility to the fatherless in addition to our role as a father. Let’s look for ways to influence, mentor, and disciple young men without dads.
Team Focus: www.teamfocususa.org
Men of Honor: www.afa.net/menofhonor
(Editor's Note: This article was posted first on Engage Magazine's website HERE).