Recently, I took a trip to a small county in North Carolina. No big shopping centers, no great entertainment places, not many distractions in comparison to the big cities. Life is truly slower in Gates County! However, after visiting a few friends, I saw the beauty of these small communities. People ask you “how are you doing” and actually expect and desire an answer; people actually enjoy the simplicity of talking! Those communications open doors for greater and closer relationships. For years, I have been very concerned about how shallow our relationships in the Body of Christ are becoming. I am particularly concerned about the lack of spiritual fathers/ spiritual sons relationships.
It seems like in everything, we are following behind in the ways of the world. We still carry that same spirit that the Children of Israel had when they asked for a king. They wanted to be like everybody else! So, we have Christian Rap, Christian Rock, Christian Clubs, Christian Dances, etc. I am afraid that we are approaching relationships the same way.
As it refers to relationships, the world has a very interesting and popular term called: “networking.” The word “networking” is defined as: “The process or practice of building up or maintaining informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities.” Networking is not about building a true relationship where we can share our lives, deal with heart issues, experience loving accountability, be able to confess our sins to one another, enjoy the blessings of life in the community of believers and grow together in Christ. The networking approach is about building our business; you are seen as potential costumers…period! It is the law of the jungle where only the strong survive! The central idea of relationship in networking is based on what you can get out of that person to expand your business.
The problem with this secular approach of networking is that the key thing is to “…bring advantages such as job or business opportunities.” So what happens when there is no advantage, no business opportunity and no benefit that directly comes out of that relationship?
I am one that, still today at my age, long for a Spiritual Father. I have many friends; good teachers, good preachers and in general good ministers; but I have yet to have a Spiritual Father. I remember some years ago this pastor invited me to his church. He allowed me to minister to his people through songs. He put me in a nice hotel, took me out to eat, etc; all part of a personal agenda on his part. His plan was finally revealed as he proposed to me the opening of a Hispanic Church in Jacksonville Florida for me to pastor and for him to oversee. I told this man that I was going to pray about the matter and in a matter of days, I gave him the answer. The answer was “no.” After that answer, I never heard from him again. He never returned my calls nor responded to my e-mails. To this day, over five years later, that man has closed any communication between us. Our relationship was based on a task; it was a ministerial related relationship with very little or no substance.
I also know pastors in the city that unless you are involved with them in a task (ministry), they really can care less about what is going on in your life. The church is filled with the “networking mentality” and it’s sad to say, but if you are not of any use for the expansion of their little kingdoms, for the most part, they will quickly disconnect from you. I know of a well-known writer who is considered by many a father and an Apostle; I connected with him through another pastor and this apostle was interested in some of my writing, so we exchange a few e-mails. Our communication was all about the writings, nothing personal. All was well until one day I e-mailed him about some very challenging things I was facing. This Apostle answered by saying: “I am not anointed to help you,” and went on about his business.
So my questions are: Where are the Apostles of our day? How can you be an Apostle without any spiritual sons? Where are the Fathers? Beloved, we have a crisis of fathers in this country. In the natural; these are some of the alarming consequences of homes without a Father Figure:
Suicide. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census)
Behavioral Disorders. 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (United States Center for Disease Control)
High School Dropouts. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
So I leave you with this thought, if in the absent of natural fathers we face such devastating consequences, how much more when we are faced with the absent of Spiritual Fathers. The Bible tells us in Malachi 4:5-6
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Have we become a church without Fathers? I surely have not found one that has truly turned his heart towards me. This is the cry of many men; we are crying out because we want a spiritual father. But, because they are absent, we have many men quitting the ministry (Spiritual Suicide). We have many men with character issues (Spiritual Behavioral Disorders), and we have many men with little or no interest in knowing about God (Spiritual Dropouts). Do you see the picture?
I believe that these are the days that we are seeing our land being struck by God as we can see great destruction taking place around us. I strongly believe that it is time for Natural and Spiritual Fathers to turn their hearts towards their children; it starts with us! We must stop making ministry about our own personal agendas and selfish expansions and find excitement in seeing our children grow in character as they use their God-given talents for the benefit of God’s people and for the Glory of our King. It is time for fathers to find enjoyment in equipping, ordaining and sending out; as we stop moving with the jealous and selfish spirit of the Soul. The time is truly NOW!