Last month in the Echo for May, we focused on Mother’s
Day, and I promised that we would focus on Father’s Day during
June. Father’s Day does not seem to get nearly as much emphasis
and attention as Mother’s Day does, but fathers are an absolutely
vital part of families. As I wrote last month, God has given His
people a tremendous gift by placing us together in families,
including mothers and fathers to raise children together. Mothers
and fathers each have their own special points of emphasis that
they bring to families to make them stronger and to function
smoothly. Children do best when they have the guidance and love of
both a man and a woman—a mother and a father—in their life.
This is how God designed the family to work, and when we follow in
God’s plans, that is when life tends to flow most smoothly.
Unfortunately, for the last several decades, our culture has
not thought of fathers as being very important. Fathers have often
been mocked and ridiculed. They have been seen and described as
being worthless and unnecessary to family life. Think about
depictions of fathers in the media. Often fathers are depicted as lazy
bumbling idiots who do very little to help in the home and
constantly need to be rescued by their wives. Men have basically
been depicted in the media as sitting on the couch drinking,
watching sports, and making silly comments, while their wives run
the house and raise the children despite the shortcomings of a
of a father. Show after show on TV and many commercials followed this basic storyline. The problem is,
it is not true.
Fathers are a central, vital part of God’s plan for families. Men need to step up and fulfill their
God-given role as teachers and leaders in their families. Far too many men themselves have bought into
the misguided media notion that fathers are worthless and unnecessary, and many men have lived
down to theses degraded expectations. This needs to change! It is time for men to step up and be the
men God has created and called them to be.
Let’s look for a minute at some passages of Scripture that describe the role of fathers, according
to God’s plan. God compares Himself to a father, as we recognize by calling Him “Our Father who art in
heaven.” God describes His own relationship with us in the same way that He expects earthly fathers to
relate to their families. God said, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God,
who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the
wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way
you went until you reached this place” (Deuteronomy 1:29–31). God also describes His relationship with
us as a loving one based on how He disciplines us as a loving father disciplines his children. “My son, do
not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he
loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11–12). God also calls fathers to provide teaching
and guidance to their children. “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain
understanding. For I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my directive” (Proverbs 4:1–2). Jesus
points out that earthly fathers, though fallen and sinful, still can provide well for their families. He
says, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him
a snake? So if you who are evil know how to givegood giftsto your children, how much more will your
Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9–11). We also see God’s plan that
fathers are to encourage and comfort their children. We read, “For you know that we dealt with each of
you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy
of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:11–12).
Fathers acting according to God’s plan truly make a huge difference in families. Research is
increasingly showing the dire discrepancies when fathers are absent from a home. Studies show that
involved fatherhood is linked to better outcomes on nearly every measure of child wellbeing, from
cognitive development and educational achievement to self-esteem and pro-social behavior. Children
who grow up with involved fathers are: 39% more likely to earn mostly A’s in school, 45% less likely to
repeat a grade, 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school, twice as likely to go to college
and find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, and 80% less likely to
spend time in jail. When a father is not in the home, research shows that children are twice as likely to
drop out of school. Fatherless homes also face far higher rates of poverty than two-parent households.
Children living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This was
over four times the rate for children living in married-couple families. These are just the secular
The presence of a faithful, Godly father in a home may be even more significant for a family’s
spiritual health and development. Research is showing that the faith habits of a father by far have the
biggest impact on the faithfulness of the family, for a generation to come, both for good and for bad. If a
father does not go to church, even if his wife does, only 1 child in 50 will become a regular worshiper. If
a father does go regularly, regardless of what the mother does, between two-thirds and three-quarters of
their children will attend church as adults. If a father attends church irregularly, between half and two-
thirds of their kids will attend church with some regularity as adults. Even if a mother does not go to
church, but a father does, a minimum of two-thirds of their children will end up attending church. In
contrast, if a father does not go to church, but the mother does, on average two-thirds of their children
will not attend church. Another survey found that if a child is the first person in a household to become
a Christian, there is a 3.5% probability everyone else in the household will follow. If the mother is the
first to become a Christian, there is a 17% probability everyone else in the household will follow.
However, when the father is first, there is a 93% probability everyone else in the household will follow.
Fathers are absolutely central and vital to the faith formation of their families.
Men, step up. God has called you to a role in your family that nobody else can fill. Fathers, your
role in your family is central, and vital. Nobody else can be the father that God has called you to be for
your family. This Father’s Day, recommit yourself to pouring your faithfulness, your focus, and your
energy into your family. That is what God has called you to do. That is how families work best. Man up,
and do what is best for your family. God’s blessings as you fulfill your role as a faithful father.
In Christ, Pastor Clayton