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Dads need to ‘take time … and be dads’

NASHVILLE (BP) — America is suffering the effects of a fatherless generation, born not only of single mothers, but of Christian fathers who fail to have an adequate presence in their children’s lives, evangelist and author Jerry Drace said on Mike Huckabee’s syndicated radio broadcast in a mid-January segment.

“We have so many children in our nation who are growing up in single-parent homes. They have no concept what it is to be under authority, have a father figure in their life,” said Drace, author of “From the Heart of a Father: Godly Counsel from Proverbs.”

“It’s not just non-church people. It’s dads needing to take time to back off and be dads,” Drace said. “I’ve met pastors and other religious leaders who’ve spent so much time out there doing ‘God’s work’ they haven’t worked in their own family. It takes a lot of work.”

Drace, of Humbolt, Tenn., is a former president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists. Drace’s book on fathers complements the Hope for the Home family conferences he and his wife Becky have conducted internationally.

Drace said he learned the need to focus on family ministry 20 years ago when he would ask pastors about their greatest challenge in ministry.

“Their answer was, ‘How do I effectively minister to the families in my church?'” Drace said, noting: “So often the children in our churches that are hurting the most are the preachers’ kids or the step-kids.”

While the book covers a number of aspects of the Christian family, Drace focused on a few key points in the 15-minute interview with Huckabee.

“I would say, ‘Please, fathers, listen to your children,'” Drace said. “Give them time.”

Drace, whose two children Drew and Becca are now adults, encouraged the use of Scripture in building relationships with children.

“I always read a verse of Scripture with Drew and Becca every morning when they were growing up, and if I was away, which I often was at meetings or crusades, I would call back home at 7 o’clock their time and I read the Word of God,” Drace said. “I would read one verse of Scripture and I’d just let that Word of God sink into their hearts. And we did this all the way through high school and even into college.

“I would say to the Christian dads out there in your audience, put the Word of God in their heart,” Drace said. “That will stay with them a lot longer than our own words will.”

Society is suffering because children seem to be in control of the home, Drace lamented.

“I have so many parents ask questions [at conferences] and by the very questions they ask, you realize that the children are running the home,” Drace said. “It’s almost as if parents are afraid to take a stand, so therefore the children set the rules.”

Parents too often try to be their children’s friend, instead of the parent, Drace said, noting, “We don’t need to be friends with our children first, we need to be parents first.”
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ staff writer. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).