God cares for orphans, and the church may be creating them in droves. (Tweet that!) Let me explain…
Last night I saw a commercial on the OWN Network.
Okay, before I go any further, here’s my confession. I watch the OWN Network. That’s right. Oprah’s network. Even though I am not an Oprah fan, I am a 48 Hours Mystery junkie. And since the OWN Network regularly runs episodes of 48 Hours, I tune in. I hope you don’t count that against my manliness points.
As I was saying, the commercial that I saw was an advertisement about a show on sons who grow up without fathers. It brought to mind the usual statistics about fatherless children:
- Boys without fathers in the home are twice as likely to end up in jail as adults.
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
- 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders grow up without a father present.
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
- 70% of kids in juvenile detention centers do not have a father.
- Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.
- The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families.
(You can find sources for all of these statistics in Wayne Parker’s article – “Statistics on Fatherless Children in America.”)
It’s no secret that children need the presence of their father in order to thrive. But, what’s the correlation to the church?
As I was thinking about these numbers, I realized that for the last several decades, the church has worked really hard to make spiritual babies and has left them to their own devices. The church fathers have focused so intently on the idea of church growth and winning people to Christ that they have fathered a generation of children who had very little direction after their spiritual birth.
Life-on-life discipleship ceased.
Spiritual infants in the church were told what they were supposed to do, but were never shown how to do it.
Now the church has a behavior disorder.
The church has a high dropout rate. And today we are seeing more people than ever imprisoned to the ways of the world.
I don’t know about you, but I think we – as the church – better get serious about spiritual fathering.
It’s not just about popping out babies. It’s about staying in the home to raise them and teaching them how to raise their own spiritual children.
This is a much more demanding path, but I think we can all see now that it is worth it.