From March 26-31, 10 guys and I headed out for an amazing Cultural Exegesis Youth Ministry Road Trip (what a mouth-full!). We went to 8 different churches and met with different staff members within their ministries. We talked philosophy, discipleship, strategy, scope-n-sequence, and programming. What I did not expect, was that this trip would aid my research for this IDS 302 project: “The Fatherless Generation.” At almost every church that we went to, one of the pastors mentioned the importance of father figures in a person’s life and how that affects youth ministry today.
Matt Reagan’s response, from Southeast Christian Church, especially touched my heart and moved me to tears. He said that he grew up with an abusive father and now as he ministers to teens he sees the deep impact that fathers have across the board. He mentioned a staggering statistic. Something like 15% of the time, when a mother comes to faith–the rest of the family will. 35% of the time, when a child comes to faith–the rest of the family will. But, 90% of the time, when the father comes to faith–the rest of the family will.
What a difference fathers make in the lives of their children. Matt said that when a mother comes in with concerns about her teen, he kindly tells her that he would love to and needs to speak with the father as well. He went on to explain that the spiritual depth and direction of the family lays in the hands of the father. Therefore, he works closely alongside the men’s minister at Southeast in a partnership, realizing that the hope for this generation is tied to influence of fathers.
At almost every place we visited, the subject of fathers was mentioned without my probing.
What a surprise it was that I would be scribbling down notes for homework on Week of “E.” It was truly a blessing to meet with these gifted pastors, and traveling with 10 incredible men on this roadtrip that I will not soon forget.
Youth Ministry depends on us bridging the gap between families and their children–especially fathers.