“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1 NASB
Who did you most admire growing up? A teacher, neighbor, a parent? As children move into adulthood, they look for role models and these people will have the greatest influence on them; their words and actions teach them what it means to be an adult. In this day and age it is becoming a rarity to hear about role models who uphold ethical and moral values. Typically we hear only the stories of anti-role models whose bad behavior is more about selfishness and self-destruction than setting the example of descent behavior. There is no anti-role model more powerful than a father who abandons his children.
Fatherless boys are left trying to enter manhood with their prime role model gone; leaving them to wonder if abandoning your children is normal, even acceptable. David experienced this when his biological father left shortly after he was born. This was compounded when his step father abandoned him at the age of 5. He kept in contact with David, but his version of leading David into manhood consisted of buying him possessions rather than leading him. This left David feeling that all men will let you down. He tried to fill the role model void with coaches. While he never cared much for sports he believed that if he worked hard and performed well then these men would be impressed and show him the love he desperately craved. Yet no matter how great his athletic achievements were, he knew those men cared more for wins than for him.
At the age of seventeen David was given the opportunity to have a Mentor Father through Fathers in the Field. He was interested, but leery. Would this just be another man who would let him down? Another relationship where he would have to work hard, only to be disappointed in the end? What he discovered was a relationship different than any he had ever experienced. Where other men had made verbal commitments they didn’t always honor, this was different.
One of the key aspects to Fathers in the Field is having a Commitment Signing Ceremony in which the Mentor Father and Field Buddy give a written commitment to one another, pledging to honor their commitment to one another. Mike made and then honored this pledge. As they began to meet David listened intently to Mike and was amazed to see a man whose words were reflected in his life. David recounts “I had lots of Christian men say what it means to follow God, but their examples showed a different story. Mike lives what he preaches. As I struggle with living a Christian life, Mike is my example. He demonstrates what it means to truly live a life that honors God.”
Fathers in the Field helps churches to place godly men like Mike in the lives of fatherless boys that they might have a model not just of what it means to be a man, but what it means to be a Christian man. These men help fatherless boys to see that no matter what the circumstance they find themselves in, there is always a right and wrong choice. That they always have the opportunity to make the right decision; it might be painful but part of being a godly man is making the right decision. Before Mike came into his life, David found himself facing the consequences for his poor choices alone. Over the course of their time together he has learned to analyze his choices before making them.
David says “I find myself stopping and asking why I am doing or thinking this? Is this something that is going to affect other people? Am I being selfish? Can I step back and fix it by doing what is right? Is this helping the other person or self-serving? What is the right option?” He also knows that now when he makes the wrong choice he isn’t alone. Mike will come alongside him and help him through the situation, help him own his mistakes and show him how to move forward.
Fathers in the Field is changing the lives of fatherless boys, but we need others to stand with us. When asked what message he would give to those looking at this life changing ministry David said, “It’s extremely important for everyone to understand the importance of having a man in a boy’s life. It’s not just a good thing, it’s of vital importance. These boys need men in their lives to teach them to be men. A coach and a teacher can only do so much; it requires the commitment of a man to being involved. I spent so much time trying to please the men in my life, but they never invested in me one on one.
I developed a persona that you have to perform well to be cared about by a man. Mike takes me with my burdens and never shuns me for bad decisions. All my bad choices didn’t drive Mike away. I didn’t know how to deal with life’s disappointments and hardships until Mike came into my life. Not having a father in his life creates bitterness in a boy towards his mother which slowly poisons their relationship. A good role model in his life creates a balance. This isn’t my opinion; it’s the experience of my own life. Boy’s become their fathers if no one shows them how to live a different way. Mike is showing me how to be a godly man and a future father.”
Will you follow Mike’s example and matter greatly in the life of a fatherless boy? Boys like David exist in every community across our country, but they don’t have to be left without a godly role model. Contact us today to ask how you can be a Mentor Father, to discover how to help your church begin this life changing ministry or to support us financially.