The director of a new film about fatherlessness says nearly every societal ill can be traced to the breakdown of the family and that the local church has a God-ordained role in fixing the root of the problem.
The movie, The Fatherless Epidemic, can be watched for free on YouTube and confronts the issue of fatherlessness while urging Christians to get involved on the local level and address it. Eric Swithin is the director and producer.
“The only solution to this epidemic is God through His church,” said Swithin, who also serves as founder and executive director of the Alliance for Ending the Fatherless Epidemic and as executive director of Outdoor Adventures, a camp ministry for fatherless youth.
The problem is immense, he notes while quoting sobering stats: Upwards of 80 percent of individuals in prison grew up in fatherless homes. Adults who grew up in fatherless homes are 279 percent more likely to illegally carry a gun and do drugs. Girls from fatherless homes are 900 percent more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
It’s not just a “correlation but the causation of being raised in a fatherless home,” he said.
Swithin said he felt led by God to make The Fatherless Epidemic.
“If you were to draw a graph with all of our societal issues, from one side of the page to the other, the vast majority of those issues would intersect,” he told Christian Headlines. “And right at the intersection, you would see the breakdown of the home. And so when you have a broken home, you have a broken community. And when you have a broken community, you have a broken culture.
“God designed us to have an upward model where our homes are healthy, led by fathers, and that is how a healthy society is formed,” Swithin said.
The church, he said, can help victims “stop the generational curse, get discipled” and “become fired up about God.”
“I always recommend that a church begins to develop an attentiveness to the single mom, to the fatherless youth in their own pews. They're all around you,” he said. “So for a women's ministry – pay attention to who's just barely trying to stay above water as a single mom. Men's ministries can help fix her car and fix her house and support her and fill in the gap there. Men's ministry and youth ministry can surround the kids, making sure that they've got a ride to the games and … fill in that gap.
“And once the church gets that, right, then we start talking about really fun stuff, which is going over the railroad tracks as a church. … Some of these neighborhoods are 90 percent fatherless, and they're being ravaged by it.”
Swithin added, “Just watch the film, and see what the Holy Spirit does to your heart.”
Photo credit: Unsplash/Kelli McClintock
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.