“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” – Psalm 68:5
A few years ago I was given a book by my best friend and it blew me away. The book is called “Church for the Fatherless: A Ministry Model for Society’s Most Pressing Problem” by Pastor Mark Strong. The book itself served as no surprise to me but as I dug deeper I found myself trying to better understand the Churches role in the remedy. Here are the stats
- According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America.
- An estimated 26.63 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.
- Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers.
- Currently 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.
- The 1997 Gallup Youth Survey found the following among U.S. teens:
- 33 % live away from their father
- 43% of urban teens live away from their father
- In 2010 over twenty million lived with no father (biological, adoptive, or step).
Looking at this epidemic is seriously overwhelming. The question I have is how do we equip communities to bring healing and change to the fatherless landscape in our cities?
This is not something that the Bible is quiet about yet at all. As I read through the Bible God speaks about the orphan with great care and HE also charges us with engaging them. Throughout history Christians have spearheaded movements in this arena and we have a distinct opportunity to do it once again. The question is simple, how? How do we engage a culture so different the the one we have built our churches around? How do we respond to this with the heart of the One who says, ‘Father, He is father to the fatherless?’ You see this is a theological issue, it’s not just a social issue that the government has to take care of kids, because God Himself calls Himself Father to the fatherless. Our response is that we have to be reconcilers—that we have to enter the shame and suffering of a generation. We have to step into their lives with the same intimacy in which Christ stepped into ours at the incarnation. This a messy process but one that we must be engaged in to affect our communities and reflect our God.
[update] I saw this video and it broke my heart, yet it fits right in with this subject.