Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. It’s the engine driving America’s most crucial social problems including crime, adolescent pregnancy, sexual abuse of children and domestic violence against women. Yet despite its scale and social consequences, fatherlessness is a problem that is frequently ignored.
Recent studies show that the father has a profound influence on his children’s moral development, self-image and sexual identity. In fact, kids who grow up with the presence of an engaged, caring and loving father are less likely to live in poverty, get on welfare, go to prison, and get pregnant before they get married.
So, Fathers, my message for you is this: Your kids need you! Your presence and role in your family is vital.
According to the Bible, the man’s number one role in the family is to be a leader. What’s a leader? It’s pretty simple: A leader is a person who makes things happen. A leader focuses on objectives.
As a father, have you ever considered or identified what your target or objective is for your son or daughter? Perhaps it is for him or her to get good grades, get into a really good school, make six-figures when they grow up and be good, law-abiding citizens. These are all fine goals to strive for in life, but they aren’t the most important.
But do you ever wonder what God thinks is most important? According to God, your primary objective as a father is for you to help your kid become like Jesus.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:28-29)
Now here’s the clincher – you can’t give away something that you don’t have. If you want to teach your kids to be Christ-like, then you need to begin with yourself. Remember, the greatest impact you can have on your kids is to be the kind of person you want them to become.
Whether you like it or not, your kids are going to turn out a lot like you! “A learner, when fully trained, will be just like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) As a father, you are a natural role model for your children. So if you want your kids to follow Christ, you also need to be a man of God’s Word and of integrity.
Here are some practical ways to get going:
- Model authentic worship. We all have time; we just lack discipline. Set your clock back and get up early and start getting in the Bible every day.
- Be the leader/initiator. If going to church and putting God first is going to be a priority for your children, then you as the father need to initiate this in your family.
- Initiate some family worship. Set one night a week for your family to get into the Bible and pray together. This doesn’t have to be very long – 8-10 minutes max. Have fun and be creative!
- Encourage private worship. Encourage your kids to spend time with God each day. If your kids are little, take some time and read the Scriptures to them for a half hour before bedtime. As your kids get older, encourage them to spend time with God each day and read the Bible for themselves.
If you are like me and didn’t grow up in a Christian home, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the role of being a moral and spiritual leader in your home. It’s okay if you don’t feel adequate. We don’t have to have it all together. God invites all of us to begin exactly where we’re at, taking one step at a time. Will it be easy? Of course not! Anything of value will take focus, discipline and a lot of hard work. But the rewards are awesome!
This week, just in time for Father’s Day, we’ll be starting the series, Portrait of a Father. In it, we’ll talk about why it is so difficult for men to be effective fathers and what a Biblical father looks like, as well as his roles and responsibilities. My prayer during this time is that we would trust God – who is our perfect Father – to give us hope as we learn how to become the dads God created us to be.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip