Posted in: Marriage and Family
Pastors Make Great Fathers
Pastors Make Great Fathers – Part 1
By Pastor Scott Thomas, Acts 29 President
Pastors make great fathers. Perhaps the more accurate statement is that “great fathers could make good pastors.”
Pastors are to lead their congregation like their homes (1 Tim. 3: 4-5). The problem is that many pastor’s homes are as dysfunctional as their churches and problems always start at the top. But a great father is a leader, an encourager, a supporter, a shepherd, an evangelist, a Bible teacher, a gospel imager, a humble disciplinarian, a defender of truth, a provider, a protector, and a loving friend. In short, he is a lion-like lamb and a lamb-like lion. I would think that a Dad described above would make a good pastor. In fact, if a Dad shepherded his flock at home and the flock that God had appointed to him in that manner, he would be a great pastor.
I want to press upon you, dear pastor, to make a fervent commitment to pursue Christ in your fatherhood with a persevering, unrelenting faithfulness to the glory of God. I am encountering an inordinate amount of men who are in ministry that had terrible, sometimes horrendous relationships with their fathers. To compensate, some of them enter into ministry to either prove their fathers wrong or to receive surrogate fathering en masse from their congregations who support them, affirm them and help them deal with their ongoing insecurities. A few have redeemed the past. I’m afraid that future generations are not going to have a biblical model for fathering their children.
Children (biological and spiritual) are hungry for a father’s relationship. They are hungry not particularly for answers or explanations, but simply for a relationship—a relationship with a father, with our Heavenly Father. Our world, our culture, and even our church suffer from father hunger. It manifests itself in countless ways—bitterness, insecurity, fear, anger, and lack of faith almost always in a self-repeating cycle.
Over 50% of children in the USA experience the pain of father abandonment before they reach eighteen. In some inner city communities, it is a staggering 80%! The facts and statistics used in this article are found on the National Fatherhood Initiative.
Father absence is a contributing factor to both economic and social poverty. The majority of school dropouts, drug additions, criminal behavior and out-of-wedlock pregnancies can be traced to the absence of a healthy father in the home. Father absence begins a cycle that leads to more father absence for future generations. Father absence cuts across all racial and social/economic boundaries. For some communities, the primary factor is out-of-wedlock births and in others it is divorce. In either case, the effects can be devastating on children and often last a lifetime. The vast majority of young people who become incarcerated for criminal activity have grown up without a father in the home. Seventy percent of kids with a parent in prison will end up incarcerated just as their parents were.
Violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, teenage pregnancy and suicide all correlate more strongly to fatherlessness than to any other single factor. The majority of prisoners, juvenile detention inmates, high school dropouts, pregnant teenagers, adolescent murderers and rapists come from fatherless homes.
I am the father of two boys ages 21 and pause for sadness, four months shy of 18. The real test of my fatherhood will be my grandchildren—who are not yet born. But to date, my sons and I have walked together through every aspect of their life—diapers to discipline to driving to discipleship to dates to diplomas. They love Jesus, respect and adore their mom, have great attitudes and they have a better respect for the opposite sex than I did. I am a better man because of our relationship. I understand God a little better and I think I understand how a Savior could give his life for the good of another.
Part 2: Six Ways Fathers Pursue Christ in their Fatherhood