In the beginning, the Creator designed the perfect plan for the establishment, nurturance, maintenance, and perpetuation of the human race. The family. Fathers and mothers raising children together in the same home, and in the worship and discipline of the Lord. Loving parents providing everything their children need to grow up holistically healthy, safe, educated, skilled, and prepared to eventually raise their own families. It is a simple plan, really. Father and mother become parenting partners for life. Each child completes their education, begins a career, falls in love, gets married, and has children. Repeat generation after generation.
Fast forward. What do we see today? Unwed birth rates as high as 70%. The father absence crisis. Divorce. Single parent households. The resulting poverty, child abuse and neglect, academic failure, youth crime, behavioral, emotional and psychological problems, drug abuse. The list goes on.
What happened? The divine order was rejected. God’s original vision for the family, which was intended by Him for the healthy development of civilization, is viewed by many as antiquated. The need for a live-in dad has been questioned. The concept of a God-ordained male family head has been denounced as gender biased. Men and women have been freed to practice sex outside of marriage. Becoming pregnant out of wedlock has lost its former stigma. Hence, we are experiencing the breakdown of the family, and the failure of family formation. We are on a path toward the very collapse of society. Is it too late to turn things around? Perhaps. However, as Christians, we have been given a charge to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Jesus proclaimed: 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16
As salt preserves meat, our responsibility is to do everything we can to keep the rotting world alive until Jesus comes again. As darkness tries to overwhelm mankind, our job is to shine as lights to show people the Father’s love and His righteous ways. One way we can be salt and light is by the good work of restoring the family to God’s original design, and by giving the Father the glory for all that results. The logical place to start is in the Church. I don’t think I’ve ever met a pastor that didn’t acknowledge there needs to be a fatherhood strengthening ministry in his church. Because we are at crisis stage, I believe we must go beyond fatherhood classes.
There is needed a multigenerational Christian male development and enrichment initiative. Young men, grown men and senior men simultaneously learning, teaching, and rediscovering God’s plan. Each with a Timothy to mentor, and each with a Paul to emulate. It’s like the threefold cord spoken of by King Solomon (Eccl 4:9-12). Two strands are good, but a triple-braided cord is stronger. We need each other… sons, dads, and grandfathers… working together to restore the power of godly maleness for the sake of strengthening families. By starting with the Church, we are positioned to raise up an army of mature, responsible, scripture informed, Spirit-filled men. Together, we can serve as witnesses to a world that has lost the vision of the Creator’s design for humanity.
Urban Light Ministries has begun an innovative initiative to accomplish the above, using my book Father Love – The Powerful Resource Every Child Needs and the companion study guide. After a conversation with my friend Pastor Sam Bryant in the fall of 2018, Sam and the church leadership agreed to serve as the site for a pilot of a scripture-based enrichment class for their males. Beginning January 6, 2019, each Sunday for thirteen weeks, the teens, college students and men meet during the Sunday School hour at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Springfield. With the aid of video clips and a Power Point presentation, I facilitate an hour-long conversation around fatherhood, manhood and spiritual leadership in the home. Each participant has purchased a book and study guide. Each week they are given a reading and action steps. The following week, a discussion is facilitated on the assigned topic. Attendance has been averaging two dozen. Active participation is growing each week as the guys become more comfortable.
Father Love Dad’s Discussion Group Topics Include:
- Father Love Defined
- Love Is Patient And Kind
- Love Is Not Easily Angered
- Father Love Is Nurturing
- Love Bears All Things
- Love Endures All Things And Never Fails
- The Creator’s Father Love
Urban Light Ministries has also developed the POPS 101 Discussion Group. POPS 101 is a four-session introduction to healthy fathering. The content is appropriate for use in non-religious settings such as schools, jails, and drug rehab centers. If you would like to know more about Father Love or POPS 101 Dad’s Discussion Groups, contact me at the address below.
Eli Williams, President
Urban Light Ministries
PO Box 3132
Springfield, OH 45501
During the Sonshine Club 25th Year Celebration event Urban Light Ministries President and Founder, Eli Williams and Sonshine Club Director Phillip Sanders reviewed the programs provided by Urban Light Ministries and the future direction of the organization.
Urban Light Ministries mission is to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and children's hearts to the Father. Over the last 25 years Urban Light Ministries has reached over 18,000 children and 3500 fathers.
Please consider what you can do to help Urban Light Ministries expand its services to reach more fathers and children.
I thought I would take a few words to say "thank you" to two groups for whom I had the privilege of guest-speaking in the last two weeks... P.A.W. O.D.C. Christian Education Association and Cornerstone Baptist Church. Your enthusiastic response to the call to join in a Christ-centered campaign to strengthen the institution of fatherhood has been encouraging. THANK YOU! I'm looking forward to being with New Life Church in Springfield next Sunday and New Hope Church (home) the following Sunday.
So often, it seems no one is listening; that there is so little serious concern about the crisis of father absence and the devastating effect on children, families and our communities.
It couldn't be more clear from the research and simply by paying attention to what's happening in our schools and on our streets --- God's plan for raising children --- two parents, committed to each other and their children, is the best way.
We must wake up and start doing everything we can to get back to God's way. That is, if we want to get to the root cause of so much of the killing, crime, academic failure, poverty, suicide and general mayhem in our communities.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Join the campaign. Pray. Support. Engage.
Seldom am I asked why. Why do we do what we do? More specifically: "Why does Urban Light Ministries focus on fathers?" Yet, that is a more important question than "What does Urban Light do?" and "How does Urban Light do what we do?" Together, the answer to those questions constitutes the organization's MISSION STATEMENT which is: Turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to the Father. That's what we do. Urban Light ministries provide fatherhood programs to help dads become better parents, partners, and providers. We operate The Sonshine Clubs children's ministry to introduce kid's to The Lord Jesus Christ. That's how we do what we do.
The question remains: Why? This is Urban Light's CAUSE STATEMENT. More children need present, fully-engaged, loving fathers. Please watch this video about father absence and the devastation it causes children, families and society as a whole.
If you would like to make a difference, here are three suggestions:
Video Credit: Grip (Chicago, Ill)