Youth For Christ has programs focused on sharing biblical fatherhood with juvenile offenders who had never had a father figure to look up to in the celebration of Father's Day.

Through their programs like Juvenile Justice Ministry and Parenting Life, they would provide support to expectant and parenting teen moms and dads. During those difficult times, YFC would be offering loving encouragement and prayer.

YFC Local Executive Director Alex Mathew said there were many young fathers in the justice system. In 2016, an estimated 684,500 state and federal inmates were parents of at least one minor kid, with almost half of state inmates (47%) and more than half of federal inmates having minor children (58%), according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Mathew has been fostering authentic Christ-sharing relationships with high-risk youth including juvenile offenders and teen parents in the ministry. He said it was not his goal to change people but to model what Christ has done in his life, accepting all his students like a father in Christ. According to him, if each father has a full understanding of their role to be a loving father, many lives would be changed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that juveniles need youth-friendly reproductive health services as well as parental support to make healthy relationships, sex, and birth control decisions in its evidence review. To actively reach out to youth, YFC mentors have been providing teen parents with mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness during the hard period in their lives.

Also Read: Study Finds Many Young Americans 'Don't Care' About God But Christian Leaders Are Hopeful

Pointing Teens To The 'Good Father'

In his interview with The Christian Post, Mathew mentioned that imprisonment became a rite of passage to many in the cycle of fatherlessness. He said many of the teens had been disappointed or modeled after their father's terrible decisions, so they didn't place much emphasis on their earthly father in their program.

He narrated that the ministry was birthed after holding an outreach in a detention center. Mathew remembered that a man asked him who was Jesus in his life, then he replied "a father figure." Afterward, they recognized the need to recreate an image of a decent parent, even though the fact that many people have never experienced one. They focused on placing "Father in Christ" figures in the lives of young people who are coping with relational trauma, racial trauma, communal violence, and a lack of basic requirements to show them what a father looks like.

In their pursuit of guiding young men to become decent fathers, Mathew said it was common for others to fall back even after finishing their program. They were aware of common patterns among institutionalized children and adolescents who would undergo a "honeymoon phase" but several days later, they would go back to their old ways. In this case, the YFC program offers children a safe atmosphere in which they can return if they fall back into old habits.

Mathew always reminds young people that they got no control over their genetics and environment but they would have always control over their choices.

Related Article: Here's How Churches Can Reach Younger People, According To A Youth Minister