Tuesday, May 18, 2010
From George Barna's research: One out of every three children born in the United States each year is born to an unmarried woman.
In a report entitled, How Externally Focused Churches Minister to Children, there's a section about Omar Reyes (pictured), Community Development Director at NorthWood Church, Keller, TX ;
Omar believes a majority of children aren’t dancing because they lack an important part of God’s design for families: fathers. “Statistics show that most social ills can be traced back to fatherlessness,” says Omar. According to the National Center for Fathering, when fathers are absent, children suffer. Fatherlessness is linked to poverty, high school dropout rates, crime, adolescent drug use and teenage pregnancy. These problems have become systemic as one generation experiences and then passes on the legacy of fatherlessness.
Armed with that information and through studying the Bible, Omar says he began to understand the problem of fatherlessness as a spiritual need as well as a social problem. He learned part of this lesson while preaching in a Belize prison to young black men. “I was preaching to them about the father God and the love of the father. God just stopped me there in the middle of my talk and helped me realize that they did not understand what I was saying about fathers. They did not connect with the message because they did not understand what a father is.” Instead of continuing to preach, Omar asked the young men how many of them knew their fathers and how many had bad experiences with their fathers? “Ninety-five percent raised their hands to bad experiences,” he says.
Omar began to wonder how God can reveal himself when children aren’t exposed to positive
fathering. “What God showed me is that he wants us (Christians) to express the heart of the father to kids.” How can the church take on that kind of role and responsibility? Omar believes it begins very simply. “How do my own kids know that I am their dad? I feed them; I clothe them; I take care of them. The physical aspect of this is very important. I realized that as we provide for the physical need of children, they understand God as father. That will impact them forever,” he says.
Barna agrees. He writes, “Fostering spiritual transformation demands that we do our best to eliminate some of the emotional and behavioral obstacles to growth. If children are consumed by fears and worries regarding safety and capacity, little growth can occur.”