The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. We at Fathers in the Field do, too! And no one reflects that attitude more delightfully than Lyle “Chuck” Cleavenger, one of the ministry’s first donors. In fact, God seemed to put Chuck in our ministry path long before Fathers in the Field was ever created. Some 30 years ago, Chuck began mentoring a young Scott MacNaughton, teaching him about the great outdoors and serving as a fatherly role model to Scott. Chuck’s influence set Scott on the path that would ultimately lead to the start of Fathers in the Field, which Scott co-founded with John Smithbaker in 2005. Today, Chuck is not only a dear friend but also a treasured donor to the ministry. He and his wife, Frances, are the first donors to include Fathers in the Field in their estate plan.
Why did you and your wife decide to include Fathers in the Field in your estate plan?
We have been so blessed by God’s faithfulness to us and His provision for our lives way beyond our needs. When we heard about Fathers in the Field, we knew immediately that that is where we wanted to place God’s resources that He lent to us. The ministry’s mission to lead fatherless boys into a personal relationship with the Heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, is very exciting to us. Also, Frances and I have enjoyed the outdoors all our lives, and we were so enthusiastic about Fathers in the Field’s secondary goal of introducing fatherless boys to God’s Great Outdoors. It is an opportunity they might not have had without this ministry. It is such a worthy ministry, and we wanted to help ensure that it becomes stronger and more effective in reaching troubled kids.
So many fathers have left a legacy of abandonment to their children. How do you believe that one person can alter the legacy of abandonment in America?
In my 84 years of life, I have seen how a little positive influence from a caring adult can help steer a troubled young person in the right direction. That’s what a mentor father can do in a fatherless boy’s life. Through his trusting relationship with an abandoned boy, a Mentor Father can be the catalyst that changes not only that boy’s life and eternal destiny but also the destiny of generations to come. A Mentor Father can help an abandoned boy grow into a loving Christian husband, father, grandfather, and positive role model in our society. With the love of a Mentor Father, that one boy could grow up to change our whole nation for the better.
What do you want to say to others who are considering making a similar gift to the ministry?
I completely trust the founders of Fathers in the Field and am so impressed with the thoughtfulness and care that they have used in developing this ministry. They believe in excellence for the glory of God. It shows in the quality of materials that they produce and the impressive program that they have developed to help churches start their own local outreach to fatherless boys. Please do not hesitate to give generously to Fathers in the Field. A whole generation of fatherless boys and the millions they can impact positively are depending on us.