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Becoming a Church for the Fatherless
The church is uniquely called and equipped to address this growing issue.

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Fatherlessness is a rapidly growing problem the church in the United States, and it is also one the church is uniquely called and equipped to address. Between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of children living apart from their father rose from 17 to 36 percent, and this number continues to grow. God places extreme importance and emphasis on justice to the fatherless (Ps 10:17-18; 68:5-6). Deuteronomy 10:18 reads, "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing." God's revelation of himself as a God of justice with particular concern for the fatherless and socially less fortunate was not simply given to Israel for information. It was given to them to imitate.

The New Testament also illustrates the value God places on caring for the fatherless. The community of faith was to play an important role in fathering the fatherless. As in the Old Testament, where provision for the fatherless was woven into the context of the law, God places responsibility on the New Testament community. Again, James articulated the expectation clearly: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27).

Embedding the value

Borrowing from preaching jargon, values are embedded when they are brought, taught, and caught—"brought" meaning the value is clearly spelled out, "taught" meaning the value requires clear articulation, and "caught" implying the value is embraced by the community. Here are some practical ways you can being the process of embedding a fatherless value in your church, ministry, or organizations.

1. Create an awareness of the value. Almost every church, ministry, or organization has a clearly defined mission statement. The mission statement is written out and accessible for everyone to see. To create the awareness of a fatherless value, writing a value statement is a good place to start. If you are the pastor or leader, engage in this writing process with a group of strategic leaders in your church or ministry. This will allow them to being to think about and wrap their hearts and minds around the importance of this value. You might conduct a few Bible studies on the topic or even suggest they read this book.
After an adequate time of education, engage in writing the value statement. The goal is not to write a novel but a simple statement that captures the ethos of what you want your church or ministry to embrace as it relates to fatherlessness. For example, your value statement might look something like this: According to James 1:27, Northeast Community Church values the scriptural mandate to care for the fatherless. We are committed to share God's grace to the fatherless by being sensitive to their needs and by engaging in tangible acts of service in order to enhance their lives through the love of Jesus Christ.
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Topics:Family, Mentoring
Filters:Children's ministry, Children's pastor, Family ministry, Generational ministry, Men's ministry, Mentoring, Parents ministry, Pastor, Shepherd, Sunday school, Urban ministry, Youth ministry, Youth pastor

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November 22, 2012  12:12am

Our heavenly father has given this unique opportunity for us the Church to reach out and tell the hurting and confused fatherless chidren that we really care for them and pray for them. True putting the suggestions into practise would mean our boys and girls growing up would find help and succour in times of distress, confusion and hurt. Thank you for sharing this important matter with the readers. We all need His superabundant Grace to live out the message. It is tough but it is possible. We can reach out and make a difference in the lives of the kids around us. In our small Church, we have seen this happen many times over and to see the smiles on the children makes it worth the effort and costs involved in reaching out. To His Name be the Glory.

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D. Hix

October 31, 2012  6:31pm

The problem of fatherless youth has reached epidemic proportions. It is an issue with ramifications that will plague our society for generations to come. The church must address the problem,but we need to know that it will not be easy. I have seen numerous mentoring programs flounder because this kind of ministry does not often deliver immediate results. It takes a commitment and a realistic outlook that only the Holy Spirit can supply. Thank you for your practical guidance.

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Linda Ranson Jacobs

October 23, 2012  2:16pm

I really like your ideas about incorporating the fathers in church activities. Many dads today were not raised in a two-parent home or in the church so they may need help knowing how to be a Christian dad and how to take part in church activities. Leading DC4K (dc4k.org) I hear the stories from the fatherless kids and the single moms. These fatherless kids need good role models and mentors even it's just taking them to a ball game. Relationships are formed. Many single dads would benefit from the new Single & Parenting program. http://singleandparenting.org Videos of single dads / moms and fatherless kids point all to the word of God. Helps them find resources / ideas to be a better parent. Great resource for any church. Linda Ranson Jacobs DC4K Ambassador ljacobs@dc4k.org

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