Mark E. Strong (D. Min., leadership and spirituality, George Fox Seminary) is senior pastor of LifeChange Christian Church, a diverse congregation located in the heart of inner-city Portland. He serves on the Board of Regents at George Fox Seminary. He is married to Marla, with whom he has four children.
Mark Strong doesn't just unveil the hidden horrors of fatherlessness--he shows how to turn its hardening of hearts into a gardening of hearts with tips straight from the Father's heart for the fatherless.
bestselling author, professor at Drew University and chief contributor to sermons.com
Pastor Mark Strong is a bright light of hope in his city and community. He has genuinely lived the message of this book and has become a healing power to the fatherless generation
If we embrace the insights in this book, we would impact thousands of lives and change the culture of the fatherless. This book is a must-read and an inspiration to all of us to get off the bench and into the game.
-Dr. Frank Damazio,
lead pastor, City Bible Church, and chairman, Ministers Fellowship International
Compelling, urgent, a must-read for those who care about the church and families. Fatherlessness is a national tragedy resulting in layer upon layer of social and emotional ills. Pastor Strong's call for the church to be God's redemptive agent to the fatherless, along with his passion, experience and practical solutions, inspires hope that every child might know a father's blessing.
-Mary Kate Morse,
author of Making Room for Leadership
It was Victor Hugo who once said, 'Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.' The book you hold in your hand is an idea, a dream, a vision and burden whose time has come, and thus its message is one that must be heard. Writing from his vantage point as a pastor and with the burden of a shepherd, Dr. Mark Strong tackles an issue that far too often the church and the pulpit have chosen to remain silent on. With skill, sensitivity and the Scriptures, Pastor Strong leads us to face the issue of fatherlessness and what it means for now and the future. While this book is an honest assessment of the issue, it is not without hope or answers, and the compassion with which fatherlessness is dealt with makes it a book anyone can read and not feel condemned. I grew up in a home without my dad and I know the ache that such reality leaves. Thank God that there is hope, and this book tells us how to find it. Read it and be blessed, read it and be changed.
-Bishop Timothy J. Clarke,
First Church of God, Columbus, Ohio
With compelling energy, Mark Strong identifies father absence as a cultural crisis that is exacting a heavy toll on the lives of the fatherless. His book Church for the Fatherless prompts the reader to action. . . . Pastor Mark believes the church has a pivotal role by providing a haven of safety and support for the vulnerable. . . . I am personally inspired by his vision and passion to make a difference. Pastor Mark also understands the African American community. His experience and empathy has prompted him to be bold by suggesting a ministry to the fatherless is a must for every church. . . . I would recommend that you add this book, Church for the Fatherless, to your list of resources to strengthen the church, families and the fatherless.
-Ken R. Canfield, Ph.D. ,
director, Center for the Family, World Impact, Los Angeles
I believe that children have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. God whispers into the wombs of their mothers that there will be a special man who will love them like no other. But, when a father is unable or unwilling to fill this hole, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed. Alas, there are many wounded souls in our churches today. Fortunately, Mark Strong's book powerfully raises much-needed awareness to the plight of the fatherless. No doubt, it will help many get the healing that they so desperately need.
-Roland C. Warren,
president, National Fatherhood Initiative
Dr. Mark Strong saw a crushing need in his community and then spent the past two-and-a-half decades of his life filling it. . . . It is impossible to gauge the magnitude of this books potential impact! It has been years in the making, and what it offers the church is a way to influence countless generations in the years to come.
-Charles J. Conniry Jr. ,
vice president and dean, George Fox Evangelical Seminary, author, Soaring in the Spirit
Pastor Mark Strong practices what he preaches and teaches on fathering the fatherless. He and his church are serving as a catalytic force as they partner with others to address the growing crisis of fatherlessness in our city of Portland with love, mercy and faithfulness. You will be more strategically prepared to care for the orphans in distress in your own community as you take to heart the prophetic and practical wisdom of this critically important volume.
-Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D.,
professor of Christian theology & theology of culture, Multnomah Biblical Seminary
The holistic gospel message calls the church to care for making people and communities whole in the power of the Spirit. In a society where fatherlessness is rampant, the church must bear the good news by fathering those without dads. Pastor Mark Strong is not simply noting the pressing problem of fatherlessness--he's providing solutions. In our post-civil rights generation, I am greatly encouraged to find leaders like him spending themselves for the rights and needs of a generation without fathers. May this book inspire you and your church to join him in the struggle.
-Dr. John M. Perkins,
cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association
If you are concerned about the fatherless culture in our communities and churches, you must read this book. This . . . is for those like me whose father was often gone and who suffered his absence, as well as my children who suffered the disconnectedness of their father after divorce--the broken hearts in our pews. We are everywhere. Mark Strong analyzes the need but gets very practical in his help for those whose lives are wounded by fatherlessness. This is a great book--I don't know of another like it. It will make a difference in your ministry.
author of In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart and daughter of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham
"Pastor Strong lives and breathes in the trenches--among those in need, the least, the last, the lost. He does not write in abstracts or untested ideas. In an age of massive hype, Pastor Strong's life matches his message, which makes him, in a word: extraordinary.
author of Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story
Fatherlessness has become an epidemic in America. The church needs to wake up to this crisis. In Church for the Fatherless, pastor-evangelist Mark Strong provides a how-to manual to help mobilize churches to stop the epidemic and mentor those devastated by this critical issue...Mark shows how the faith-based community, working together, can provide hope to the fatherless.
president, Luis Palau Association
What I found most compelling was Pastor Strong's use of story. He invites you into the lives of real people and provides insight into how we can practically invest our lives in helping the fatherless--one child at a time. His book is hopeful, always resting on the work of the Holy Spirit empowering his people to be agents of love in this world.
president, George Fox University
"More and more pastors deal with the reality of fatherlessness in our community. Mark Strong's timely work presents honest and real insight that challenges the church to live into our calling to foster fatherhood to the fatherless. Strong offers practical and helpful ministry solutions for the important work of healing and redemption.
Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary, author of The Next Evangelicalism
Mark Strong is a true father and pastor. Over the years that I have known him, I have always admired his unique mix of strength and gentleness. The passion to protect and restore hurting people that is so evident is his ministry shines clearly through this book. I believe his call to the church to become fathers to the fatherless is as timely as it is powerful.
lead pastor of The City Church, Seattle
Dr. Mark Strong is a man of faith who is also firmly rooted in the real world. That makes him the perfect messenger. This book gets to the heart of an issue that remains one of the most challenging in our society. Dr. Strong's book is uplifting and filled with hope. But it also fosters a conversation that needs to take place. To read his words is to have Dr. Strong sitting next to you and engaging you in a thoughtful discussion. That is a gift and a pleasure.
-Tom Hallman Jr.,
Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask