Fatherlessness is a growing epidemic in our culture. Not only father’s that physically abandon their children but also father’s that might be physically present but not actually there. How the local church responds to this crisis shows a good deal about what we really believe about the gospel. As Mark Strong writes, “…ministry to the fatherless is not simply an option”. That is why he has written his book Church For the Fatherless.
Mark Strong set out to plant a church. On one particular occasion the discussion of fatherlessness came up. Mark realized that three-fourths of his core leadership had grown up without an active father figure in their lives. That’s when he knew that one key component of this church had to be that they would become a church for the fatherless. Church For the Fatherless is filled with anecdotes from Strong’s ministry, but more than anything it is biblical advice on how other churches can become churches to the fatherless.
There are three overarching goals for the book. First, to gain a deeper understanding of the problems surrounding the issue of fatherlessness. Secondly to practically show church leaders how they can serve their communities and lead them to become churches of the fatherless. Lastly, Strong hopes to inspire and encourage his readers to be a part of God’s answer to the fatherlessness in our world.
The book is filled with practical and easily reproducible ideas for your local church. Strong does an apt job of explaining the problems of fatherlessness. Some of the specifics of the book might be more geared to the African-American problem of fatherlessness. But the issue and the solution transcends culture. Even though I am a white dude from Southern Indiana I can see the impact of fatherlessness. Though at times tailored to an African-American community there is nothing in this book that could not be applied cross-culturally.
Strong is correct that this is not an option for churches. If we are not churches that minister to the fatherless then according to the Lord (James 1:27) we aren’t much of a church. More church leaders need to read and apply this book. It is very practical and very biblical. We have worked at FB Jasper to embed our values with help to the fatherless. This book has helped me to be more intentional in our wording. It has also inspired me to look for ways to infuse our teaching with messages for the fatherless and to fight against this epidemic.
Should You Buy It?
The book is mostly written to church leaders. You don’t have to be a pastor though to read and benefit from this book. I would love for people in our congregation to read this book and champion the cause of the fatherless. We need people to become a “pain in the neck” (75) for this neglected area of church ministry. Buy the book and be encouraged and inspired to touch society’s most pressing problem.