A Common Obstacle to Discipleship

The Christian life is a life of discipleship. 

That life of discipleship has its share of obstacles.

In my years of ministry I have had the privilege of discipling a very diverse group of people — men and women of various races and ethnicities, ages and generations, financial, political, social, and religious backgrounds. Yet, for all the diversity of the people I have had the privilege to disciple, there has been one massive challenge to discipleship that has affected each group, without prejudice: daddy issues

The wounds that are caused by absent, abusive or aloof fathers know no socio-economic, ethnic or generational bounds. They go wide and they go deep. As a result, they affect both children and adults alike in every area of life — including the spiritual. In fact, based on my time in ministry, I would identify daddy issues as one of the primary human obstacles to joyful trust and obedience in the Christian life.  

It impacts how we think of God, the core of all discipleship issues. 

It influences how we see ourselves as God's children, also a discipleship issue. 

It helps determine our attitude toward authority and toward the opposite sex, our goals and values, and even what we fear and how we respond to our fears, each of which is an issue of discipleship.

We created the book Daddy Issues: How God Speaks to Wounds Caused by Absent, Abusive or Aloof Fathers, in hopes that those who are still living with open father wounds might have a discipleship resource that could help them diagnose their emotional, practical and spiritual symptoms, expose them to the healing words God has for them, and allow them to grow as disciples of Christ. 

In addition to the book (which includes a discussion guide) I hope to write more on this topic from a discipleship perspective in future posts here on Follow the Leader. Until then, we have made this recently recorded Daddy Issues video presentation available for free. 

If you wrestle with daddy issues, we hope that this book aids you in understanding yourself and how God desires to heal you. If you do not wrestle with daddy issues, we hope it builds your empathy toward your brothers and sisters who do, and empowers you to minister to them more effectively. Either way we hope you find it worth your time, as daddy issues are a discipleship issue and cannot be ignored. 


Cole Brown is a Humble Beast author and speaker. He is the founding pastor of Emmaus Church, a multi-ethnic church in Portland, and now serves as a missionary helping plant churches in Mexico City, Mexico. Connect with him on twitter or facebook.