Most people are familiar with the old story of the man who came into a town to rid them of a rat infection. He was promised by a capricious mayor a sum of money for the service; however, after he drowned the rats by use of his magical pipe, the mayor did not give what he promised. Later the Pied Piper returned, but this time played his tune to the ears of the children and lured them away.
Ironically, this is modus operandi of most children and youth programs in modern western church culture. All throughout the scripture the role of the father and child often come up (i.e. Dt. 6, Ps. 78, Eph. 6). But so often the role of spiritual leadership and growth for a youth has been handed over to the church by the father! As a typical reThink Group blog put it nicely, “Dear Small Group Leaders, I am a father. A father is who is entrusting the spiritual growth of my daughter To you…” This letter is basically a father giving guidelines to a small group leader on his daughter. But where is the discussion on the very nature of the father handing over the spiritual growth of his child? The difference between the Pied Piper and modern mantra of children and youth ministries is now the fathers actually give permission.
Hear our churches play tunes on their magical pipes that turn the children’s hearts away from their fathers and to themselves luring them into a spiritual growth not warranted by the scriptures. Not only are fathers not performing their proper role and duty, the modish church model promotes them to not take responsibility. God promised something rather specific in Malachi 4:5-6 regarded the role of John the Baptist. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” (cf. Lk. 1:17).
God desires children’s hearts to be turned to their fathers and father’s hearts to be turned to their children. In order to work against this, we must work against God. The role of the local gatherings of believers is clear: 1. Encourage fathers to take their God given responsibility. 2. Stop luring the hearts of children who have Christian fathers. 3. Develop a church culture of fathers who can spiritually “adopt” the fatherless.