This year’s three city Shepherds’ Symposium Tour centered around the topic: Defending The Cause of the Fatherless. Our keynote speaker was Mike McNeill of the Fathers In The Field ministry headquartered in Colorado. Mike profoundly stated the problem and challenged all in attendance with a workable solution. Fathers In The Field was founded on the Bible verse Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; Plead the case of the widow.” Their mission is to rekindle and establish the spirit of boys who have been abandoned by their fathers; mentoring them one-on-one in life-skills through outdoor activities, and by sharing a Christian understanding of our Heavenly Father’s love and sacrifice for His Children.
Why This Theme, why now? Well, with 50% of this country’s children growing up in homes without their fathers. We are losing an entire generation of boys. We face a major social issues that creates a deep, anger-filled soul-wound that an abandoned child suffers from and carries with them. This must be healed.
- 72% of adolescent murders are committed by fatherless children
- Fatherless boys are 11 time more likely to exhibit violent behavior
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average
The three cities selected this year by the FHA were Hot Springs (April 28), Spearfish (April 29) and Rapid City (April 30). We were thankful for our three host churches and their Pastors: Pastor Mark Crossman, Hot Springs Southern Hills Evangelical Free Church; Pastor Mark Fuhr, Spearfish Countryside Community Church; and Pastor Nathan Ennis, Rapid City Black Hills Fellowship Church.
Other blessings surrounded this year’s Shepherds’ Symposium in the form of the gracious financial backing by Thrivent Financial. Our keynote speaker was also hosted in his lodging by Pastor Mike and Colleen Brandt of the Shepherding The Shepherds Ministry.
The FHA Board and Staff spent some quality time meeting and dining with Mike McNeill one evening during the symposium tour. We listened to him speak, and prayed for him and this ministry of such vital importance. Now we look forward to planning and hosting our NEXT great event in our great state of South Dakota! There is NO GRASS growing under the feet of the FHA and FHA ACTION!