The Facts:

*Over 25 million children are growing up without their biological father in the home

*Fatherless children are much more prone to substance abuse, teen pregnancy, depression, poverty, criminal behavior, and suicide

*When a father IS involved with his kids, their overall self esteem, cognitive development, and school performance are increased.

*Only 12% of the single parent population attends church regularly

*FATHERS are called to be the spiritual leaders of their children (Ephesians 6:4)

I have been leading and ministering to single fathers for over four years now. In that time I have seen many of the men rise to the occasion of fatherhood despite mountains of adversity they were up against; and I have seen others crumble in the wake of the challenges of being a single parent and the trials that come along with it. One thing that I know to be true and consistent: it is always the fathers that are walking strong with the Lord and have a foundation built on Christ and other surrounding believers that were able to overcome. My own path has been no different. I have never known anything else other than being a single dad, since I was never married to my daughter’s mom. I came to Christ when she was about eight months old and founded the ministry a year later. In the past few years I have used both my experiences as a single dad and the love and support of other godly men who have mentored me to not only shape and sharpen myself for God’s purposes, but to also help pour into other men through the application of God’s Word in our lives.

Still, I find there is virtually zip out there when it comes to ministering to single fathers- a demographic that simply cannot be overlooked any more. Trust me when I say that I understand in an area such as single parent ministries how vast an array of dynamics come into play, but the key point is that it is the Church’s job to reach the lost, help the least of these, and show the love of Christ to everyone. With that being said, here are three questions that will help guide, and possibly build, your church towards the founding of a single father ministry:

1. Is your church a refuge for single dads through already established programs?

If the answer to this is “no,” please do not feel bad. I also would like to clarify right off the bat that “single father” does not necessarily mean “full custody”. In my opinion (and I’m not alone here), a single dad is any father who is involved, or wants to be involved in his child’s life. True, moms usually are the primary caregiver, but there are plenty of loving fathers out there just looking to plug into a community of others doing life together and who understand what they face on a daily basis. Also, the single dad population obviously depends on the size of the church, as well as the demographics of the congregation. Certain areas just have a higher single parent population than others. If you do have a few single dads, just not enough to form a small group, then I would suggest partnering with other churches in your area with the same situation and form one multi-church group for everyone. If you need some material to begin the program, you can check out my book: A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers on my website: www.afatherswalk.org. The book is set up in a small group format, and I am currently working on putting together an entire curriculum with workbook materials as well to go along with it.

2. If a single parent approaches the church, whether they are a member or not, is there somewhere or to someone within church grounds that they are directed?