Original Research

The impact of a Biblical Fatherhood Programme for faith communities in the Christiana district: A reflective and community engagement strategy

Fazel E. Freeks
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 1 | a2680 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i1.2680 | © 2021 Fazel E. Freeks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 2020 | Published: 30 March 2021

About the author(s)

Fazel E. Freeks, Unit for Reformed Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

The farming communities in the Christiana district with a population of close to 21 000 residents struggled with issues including poverty, unemployment, financial problems, alcoholism, occultism and Satanism and family issues such as father absence, fatherlessness and single parenting. An intervention that included training and equipping of fathers, who were farm workers from the local faith community, was necessary and crucial. Farm workers (faith communities) responded to the need for a biblical fatherhood programme. Human fatherhood should be recognised and given serious consideration because it gave an anticipation of who God the Father is. If human fatherhood did not exist, then all truth and knowledge about God the Father would be void and insignificant. Fatherhood today is an element of broken families and perhaps the most threatened element in the world. The aim of this article was to lessen the social issue of father absence through the implementation of the Biblical Fatherhood Programme. The programme has a biblical nature to solve social ills within communities. The programme was developed from a practical-theological study on fatherhood, with the primary reason to train and equip participants with fatherhood knowledge. This article presents a reflective and community engagement strategy, based on the author’s reflection of items that arose when a biblical fatherhood programme was presented to farm workers in the Christiana district of South Africa. Reflection as a methodology enabled researchers and practitioners to theorise from their own practice, improving and developing their work. Reflection was a turning back onto ‘a self’ where the researcher was the observer of the scenario. Reflection was also a significant and mental activity for researchers to use in their work with participants. The results and this article presented the reflective, rather than empirical findings of the programme implementation. The training intervention was presented in a narrative form and based on research about the essence of fatherhood. This was conceptualised from biblical truth and perspective. Participants showed immense interest in the programme and the Bible. Their theological views concerning the Bible for answers were crucial to their problems and situations. Participants’ spiritual life was pivotal to enjoy healthy relationships with God.

Contribution: The programme contributed monumentally to the lives of participants. It was impossible for participants to live their lives without the Bible. The Bible is not just an authoritative source of teaching, but it speaks of human fatherhood and serves as a guideline to enunciate the care of God the Father.


Keywords

Biblical Fatherhood Programme; fatherhood; father absence; faith communities; reflective; community engagement.

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