As the Southern Baptist headlines tell of decreased baptisms among our churches, it is obvious we have a problem fulfilling our mission to reach the world. I am convinced the most significant issue at hand is the ineffectiveness of our churches in reaching families with the gospel, specifically fathers. Day after day we hear stories of tragedy within families where traumatic physical, emotional and various other wounds are caused by family members … the very ones God placed in an individual’s life to love, protect and provide for them!
As the campus director of the Arkansas Baptist Home for Children in Monticello, I see the repercussions of this family trauma day after day in the children we care for in our homes. Too many children are being neglected, abused and abandoned by families that have loved other people and other things more than their own children. Romans 1:31 speaks of a day when people will be “without natural affection.” It seems we are living in those times today, as mothers and fathers who ought to “naturally” love, protect, provide and nurture their children see them as an inconvenience and an obstacle keeping them from fulfilling their own selfish longings for substances, relationships and empty pursuits that promise much – but produce little.
To win the battle for families, I believe, will require churches to get serious about reaching the men of the family. This is not to say churches should not minister to women and children; however, the statistics and biblical principles are clear that when you reach the man in a family, the God-ordained leader, there is a greater probability of reaching the rest of the family. When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he must do in order to be saved, Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household” (Acts 16:31, HCSB). The jailer believed, as did his family along with him.
Research conducted by Men’s Ministry Catalyst reveals when a child in a home is saved, there is a 3.5 percent chance of reaching the rest of the family for Christ. When a mother is saved, the chances go up to 17 percent. But, when a father is saved, there is a 93 percent chance of reaching the entire family! Therefore, to have the greatest impact on families with the gospel requires that our aim be focused on the fathers in the home.
How is your church doing at reaching men with the gospel? Men, how are you being intentional in reaching out to other men? Are there marriages and families in crisis around you that you could point to Christ? May God give us clarity to see the key to building, strengthening and restoring Arkansas families is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Kelly Jones is campus director of the Arkansas Baptist Home for Children in Monticello.
© Copyright 2019 Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine, Inc. Use of this in article in print or through electronic means a violation of copyright. Request permission to reprint here.