Statistics don’t favor the 25 million kids in the United States who don’t have fathers in their lives.
- The Center for Disease Control reports 85% of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
- The National Principals Association reports 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
- A recent report from City University of New York shows 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.
- The Journal of Research on Adolescence recently reported that young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families.
The most tangible means we have to relate to God as our Father is our relationship with our own earthly dad. Sadly, for those without earthly fathers, the understanding of a fatherly relationship often begins and ends with their own experience and imagination.
Moreover, millions of America’s fatherless would welcome a father figure into their life – an adult to influence them in a positive way. What more positive influence exists than God’s people living out our Dad’s gospel and sharing it with a child who doesn’t know Him?
The Austin, Texas chapter of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, or RBI Austin, has a mentoring program in the city’s Oak Springs neighborhood. Oak Springs consistently has the highest rate of fatherlessness in the city. Most recent records show 75 percent of its children don’t have dads. That’s three out of four children without a father in their life!
To call the church in Austin to respond to the fatherlessness crisis, we created the video attached to this post. It tells the story of Daniel entering a child’s life to demonstrate how a human father-figure can resemble and point to our Heavenly Father.
RBI Austin is a great program in our city. But they’re doing incredible work to mentor the fatherless not merely because they’re a great program. RBI is doing great work because they have aligned their mission with God’s plan. Mentoring is discipleship. And we know that discipleship is God’s plan for saving the world and building His kingdom.
The brokenness in our cities – high school dropout rates, behavioral issues, criminal activity, incarceration, etc. – will not change until individual followers of Jesus Christ respond to God’s call by walking with and discipling the fatherless. Programs are great, but only to a certain degree. We need people caring for people.
Much more needs to be done in Austin and in cities across the country. Look around your city for an organization that can connect you to a mentor relationship. We can all take steps to enter a child’s life and demonstrate what a good father, role model, leader, Christ-follower, and disciple looks like. And through our faithful presence, those with no father may learn to call God their One and Only, Good and Faithful Father.