Pastor James K. McKnight, Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, Jr., and Pastor Walter Tucker III          (Courtesy photos)

African American fathers play a special role in the life of their children. While America has not always portrayed or treated Black males fairly, to many in their families, they remain number one!

In celebration of Father’s Day, the L.A. Sentinel asked three local pastors to respond to the following question: “What spiritual words of encouragement can you share with Black fathers in these challenging times for African American males?”

Pastor James K. McKnight, Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship – Los Angeles:  To the brothers in our community who are fine fathers; fathers who love, teach, protect, provide for and pray for your children, know that your are efforts are not in vain.

Yes, strong contrary winds of bigotry and injustice are blowing, but you, fine father, are the shield for your children.  Your courageous example and your steadfast spirit will inspire them and instruct them.

Carry on, good brother, and look for God to say, “Well done!”

Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, Jr., Christ Our Redeemer AME Church – Irvine: “I choose to be a father, now. I did not always chose to be a good father.  I often chose career over fathering duties. One day, God charged me to choose to father my sons.

So, I choose to demonstrate fatherhood instead of articulating fatherhood. It was not easy developing a relationship with adult sons. I can’t explain the joy of being a father.

I am grateful to God and to my sons for giving me a second chance. I love Ariel, Mark, and Devin Whitlock.

Pastor Walter Tucker III, Truth and Love Christian Church – Carson:  The Bible tells us that the man is the head of the woman and the head of the family. However, as we all know, statistically, the lack of leadership of the man in Black families is more of a problem than it is in other families. This breakdown has been the cause of a plethora of problems. Unfortunately, Black men lead in almost every negative statistical category.

Is there any good news on this Father’s Day? Yes! The good news is despite the assault on Black men by our society, and the seeming irreversible “vicious cycle” of fatherlessness, a “victory cycle” can be achieved. How can this occur? Each Black man can make a tremendous difference in the lives of Black children, families, and communities.

Our Black children are crying out for male leadership! They seek it from rappers, from sports figures. But as Charles Barkley once said, “I’m not your role model.” The point being that there needs to me some productive, prominent Black man in our children’s lives that they can not only see and be inspired by, but also have access to. One that will take the time to hear what they’re dealing with and give them good, Godly advice as they navigate this journey called life.

All it takes is a man who is willing to make a sacrifice of his time, talents, and treasure for the benefit of future generations. Instead of us Black men spending more time talking about the problems, let’s spend more time being the solution. The solution is to “pay it forward.” It costs to do so, but the benefits far outweigh the costs and will last throughout generations.

Let each of us men take inventory and make sure we are doing what it takes to save Black boys, Black children, Black families and our Black communities. If we’re not a part of the solution, we are a part of the problem.

We don’t have to do it all on our own, there are wonderful organizations like 100 Black Men, which are doing a tremendous job of mentoring and empowering our Black boys. Whether we’re a part of an organization or not, let each man be about the business of reaching our boys and developing them into men.

Let us be about the business of being that role model for our young Black girls — the model of what they should be looking for in a Black man. Let each one of us submit ourselves to Godly teaching and become the husband that our Black women need and the man of character and kindness that our communities need to see and follow.

We Black men come from a history of kings and now is the time for us to regain our thrones. We men in Christ are sons of the King of kings and there is nothing that we can’t do with the guidance of God’s Word and the power of His Spirit. Join me in the Victory Cycle. Happy Father’s Day!