Fathering Leadership Relationships

“Joined himself to a stranger” may be the most descriptive word of a fatherless generation.

  1. God as a Father never leaves us without fathers. If a situation does arise in which fathers are unavailable, He is a Father to the fatherless. In turn, Father recognizes that natural and spiritual fathering is necessary, even more advantageous, than His direct fathering.

Let me explain that latter statement since people are picking up stones to throw:

Father designed and defined natural and spiritual fathering as a first, before all others, strategy for fathering leadership. He does not see His direct fathering as superior. Unless we are ready to accuse God a giving us all second best, we recognize that His plan for fathering, by design and definition, placing natural and spiritual fathering more closely to us than His own.

We cannot assume that the fatherless get a better fathering leadership because they are fatherless in natural and spiritual terms. We would assume that God’s first design and definition of fathering is flawed. We would also assume that ditching our natural or spiritual fathers would set us up for superior, direct from God fathering. This would certainly undermine His design and definition.

  1. People are fatherless by choice. Most often, people without natural or spiritual fathering do not engage with Father in His fathering, even though it is available to them. They lack fundamentals that come from natural and spiritual fathering.

I have been consciously and intentionally involved in spiritual fathering long enough to have engaged with thousands of people in some form of fathering leadership. (There are definable levels and types of fathering relationships.) Being intentionally analytical in this experience, I have discovered that people filled with God still respond to fathering leadership along the lines of the relationship they have had with previous natural and spiritual fathers.

That is, the design and definition of fathering experienced in natural and spiritual fathering is the basis upon which experiencing Father’s direct fathering occurs. People respond or react to any fathering based upon residual attitudes about the fathering they have received or rejected.

“Joined himself to a stranger” relates directly to the fatherlessness of this generation.

  1. When a person chooses a father, that person always chooses wrongly. The person choosing a father does so out of the worst, not the best, out of ignorance not exposure, to the fathering leadership God designs and defines.

We are incapable of choosing fathering leadership.

So, God provides fathers that we need, knowing perfectly what we need in that specific role and relationship. God intends for fathers to challenge and confront the very issues of the heart that limit the fullness of personal purpose! He intends for fathering to include painful discipline that touches the hot buttons of personal pain.

He assigns us fathers that immediately irritate what we want to ignore.

Hidden deep within the very reason we wish to choose a father lies the reason God chooses one for us. The idea that Father is going to coddle instead of cripple the strengths that resist Him reveals.

  1. Inheritance is never completely in anyone’s control. It is not your inheritance alone. Ever. You have been included in the Inheritor’s inheritance of All, and you receive equality of inheritance through Him, but the inheritance remains something of a responsibility over which you are given authority.

Authority comes at the same level and time as responsibility; and responsibility comes at the same level and time as authority. Being given responsibility is the same thing as being given authority; and, being given authority is the same thing as being given responsibility.

So, when someone takes responsibility when they lack authority, they waste what they take. Waste is a byproduct of pretense, pride, and passivity. Pretense is a form of prideful rebellion.

Your purpose is so important to God that He refuses to limit His involvement in it.

The Cross means that God has so involved Himself in your purpose that He guaranteed its success through your surrender to His provision. This also means that you have no other Source or hope of redemption, regeneration, and restoration outside the Cross.

When you grasp what must be given, you live out of position without preparation. You waste what God intends you to invest.


“Joined himself with a stranger” speaks directly to the faulty design and definition of modern church-anity void of basic discipling models that produce inheritors.

  1. We do not choose successors. We prepare and position inheritors. So, our continuous effort at preparing and positioning meets no point at which it becomes unnecessary. Fathering leadership changes in scope as children mature, but fathering never ceases until inheritance is complete.

We do great damage to the kingdom continuing to manage churches like businesses with respect to employee and human resources when these employee relationships are far from the most important relationships of the kingdom.

Hiring a person in order to father them immediately undermines the fathering leadership relationship. Supporting them financially or allowing for a financial component while the fathering occurs might work, but immediately money enters the picture and an employment criteria becomes part of the equation, fathering diminishes.

If an inheritor wants money to continue to be fathered, he or she has already breached the fathering honor due and warped the relational dynamics. He or she will become dissatisfied with both the father and the money. Then, he or she will become enamored with “getting my share” before the inheritor is ready, and will tend to join with a stranger immediately that given or refused.

  1. The problem with big churches is not bigness but leadership deprivation.

In modern church growth, growth is based upon the accumulation of believers, not the preparation and positioning of leaders. If a church is in decline, leaders are assumed unnecessary until “we get this attendance thing turned around.”

If a church is in a growth pattern, money, attention, leadership, and passion turns toward the cutting edge of expansion. Leadership is not needed because event planning and assimilation bureaucracy is the priority. “Once we get this thing stabilized, we will add a school or something.”

The reality is that churches of every size avoid leadership development with a fathering leadership component because it involves painful discipline. This is a million miles from what church-anity proposes as a basis for growth. The opposite is on the horizon of potential: “What will it take to attract, comfort, connect, and community more people?”

Community is never the aim of the church. Community is a byproduct of kingdom culture.

Fathering leadership will empty seats, sift existing believers to reveal what is in their hearts toward God, and demand a level of submission that most moderns find controlling.

It is not on the agenda of church growth experts!

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Dr. Don

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