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Healing the Wounds of Fatherhood Abandonment

About John J. Smithbaker

Was it destiny or God’s providence?

Even before he was born, the conditions for John Smithbaker’s ministry training began. While still in his mother’s womb, John’s biological father abandoned their family and left them to fend for themselves. As a young boy, teen, and well into his adult life, the dark hole that bore through John’s heart grew. Try as he did to camouflage the deepest of soul wounds through an unrelenting pursuit of personal successes and worldly accomplishments, nothing could fill the void left by not having God’s fatherhood plan in his life.

One fateful afternoon on route to a fishing expedition, John’s life was changed forever. In his very own “Damascus Road” moment, the Heavenly Father made clear to John the nature of his pain, the profound magnitude of the fatherless epidemic in America among boys and men, and what he needed to do next. However, like so many who are terribly hurt, John had largely externalized his pain and held fast to bitterness about his broken home. There on the side of the road John’s own sins flashed before him. At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, he gave up his commitment to pain and resentment and repented for the deepest sin in a fatherless boy’s life — unforgiveness of his father.

Soon after his miraculous Christian faith conversion, John was called by the Lord to abandon his worldly pursuits and the comforts and fruits of being a successful CEO in business to become a full-time missionary. God commissioned John to become a national advocate for precious fatherless boys who have no voice and gave him a unique vision to develop and launch the life-impacting ministry of Fathers in the Field. The ministry’s mission is to go boldly into the fields of the fatherless to bring God’s redemptive love to boys and men across America.

John J. Smithbaker uses own experience of once being held back from becoming the man God designed him to be to relate to the boys and men who suffer through the brokenness, the pain, and the anger of being left behind. A naturally gifted communicator and leader, with his ministry teams John rallies men in the local Christian church to come alongside the fatherless in their community, fulfilling the biblical mandate to “defend the cause of the fatherless.” Isaiah 1:17

As an author, speaker, Fathers in the Field’s founding servant, and an alpha male activator, John’s passion and focus is to help men recapture their divinely assigned roles of Pastor, Provider, and Protector in the home.

Standing in the gap for the fatherless and challenging men to both live up to their own family responsibilities while stepping-up to be strong change agents in their community is both John’s destiny and a providential call on his life from the Heavenly Father.

Today the Lord expanded John’s call, specifically to reach and connect with adult men – the fatherless still bearing the hurt and scars of abandonment and for whom forgiveness is a restrictive barrier to their connection with their Heavenly Father. This key ministry extension was the inspiration for the Man Enough to Forgive outreach, which includes John’s second book; an accompanying 4-part, year-long series men’s study guide workbook; and podcast of the same name.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

Romans 5:6-10 (ESV)