THE CHURCH AND THE FATHERLESS
The church must recognize the danger of fatherlessness in society. How does God want the church to support the fatherless?
The discernment of the fatherless’ plight is close to God’s heart. Addressing fatherlessness can impact generations. The church needs discernment and guidance so it can align its sight with God’s will.
Moreover, one hopes that local church leaders will discover and embrace principles found in Scripture—of God’s heart for the fatherless. The church must encourage the fatherless to find their identity in God the Father.
After reflecting on their mission outreach, identify God’s unconditional tenderness and compassion for the fatherless must be established as framework and mission for present-day ministry.
God’s Heart for the Fatherless
The church needs to understand God’s heart and vision for the “fatherless” as a lens to inform ministry outreach. Fatherlessness, like death, cannot be easily repaired. It is often an uphill battle of a lifetime. Let’s consider these questions:
- What are God’s incarnational expectations for the church in His focus on the fatherless?
- Why does God’s “line of sight” focus on the fatherless as a priority by which the people of God are aware of their present situation?
- Why is there a mandate to focus on fatherless principles while addressing ministry?
The fatherless factor has a depth of abandonment, broken identity, and often unspeakable pain, long-lasting on any society and its churches.
THE EFFECTS OF FATHERLESSNESS
Fatherlessness represents separation.
Twenty-four million children (one out of three) in America live in biological father-absent homes. The trends have been tracked from 1960 to the present and show no signs of abatement. The negative effects are devastating. Forty-three percent of United States’ children live without a father (this does not contradict the statement above—biological and geographical carry equal value impact). Ninety percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes, thirty-two times the average.
Fatherlessness represents violence.
Eighty percent of rapists who are motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. We can anticipate that statistics have not improved with ongoing measurable, substantial subsets that show uncontrolled anger continued trend is in the world, violence. Violence includes suicide, runaways, behavioral disorders, rapists, high school dropouts, chemical abuse, juveniles, and prison inmates.
Fatherlessness represents self-denigration and poor self-esteem.
The US Department of Health/Bureau of the Census reveals that 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. Eighty-Five percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes, which is fourteen times the average.
Fatherlessness represents less achievement and social skills.
Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, nine times the average. Kids living in single-parent homes or stepfamilies report lower educational expectations on their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families. Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes. Seventy-five percent of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
To be continued…
The Furthering Fathering Corporation, accessed January 8, 2015, http://furtheringfathering.org/fatherhood-stats.html.
Cynthia Harper, Sara S. McLanahan “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.
David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1996), 19.
Timothy S Grall, “US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau,” Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007 (November 2009): 1-12.
John Sowers, Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 36-37.
“Fatherless Homes Breed Violence,” accessed January 8, 2015, http://www.fathermag.com/news/1780-stats.shtml.
John Sowers, Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 36.