the stats are in and they are staggering

“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.


About Jon Nelson

I am just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody [Christ Jesus]!

Posted on January 7, 2014, in ...from Jon, Missional, Politics, Video and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I think almost everyone would agreea the issue of fatherless children is a severe issue. Most of them would agree that it is an issue the church needs to do something about. The hard part is answering the question, ”What do we need to do about it”. Many churches have ministries that reach out to single moms. Usually this is in some form of monetary or food donations. These are good and needed but often they cannot come close to meeting the actual needs of children. While there is no true substitute for a father, we as christian males can take these kids under our wing and mentor them, invest in them, be a role model for them. However I still wonder what else can we do?

  2. I would say that it’s becoming less of being fatherless and turning to parent less. A very large number of kids who are in a single parent home spend 8 to 12 hours of their waking ours being raised and cared for by someone other than their parent because that parent has to work to provide for them. Working in the daycare system and as a nanny I often found myself being more of a parent to the kids I cared for because the parent who was in their life was unable to work and care for them. One little girl formed such an attachment to our daycare that she never wanted to go home because home was not a place to she wanted to be. It’s only getting worse and I have found myself reaching out to the single parents around me to help raise there kids because they need it the help as much as the kids do.

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