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Zoom In On Ineffectiveness of Your Personal Faith


Take  a few minutes to zoom in on this infographic and mull over the meaning.  (More at http://religions.pewforum.org/ .) This infographic provided by Pew Research helps strip away denials we form as we go to bigger church gatherings and have fewer people in God’s family.

The continuing demise of the effectiveness of faith in the United States should bring a multiple of responses.  Why do we struggle to acknowledge our declining influence in community standards?  What is it about faith that enables a complete denial of reality?  Maybe the issue is not faith.  Maybe the issue is religion.  Maybe we have locked into our customs and traditions and so want to connect people with our style that we miss their soul?  Maybe we have so looked to matching their style that we miss our soul?  Either way, we are missing it.

. Attendance has gone from 60% to 25% in our churches in the last 50 years.

. Fatherless homes have gone from 11% to 34% in the same time frame.

. Abortion exists as an acceptable option.  Life dominated.  Now disposal dominates.

. Same sex marriage exists as an acceptable option.  Generational family dominated.  Now, one life flings are gaining ground.

. Our border is a war zone over access to our drug infatuation.

Pray with knowledge.  Act with purpose.

. Get involved in someone else’s life.  Quit being so self-centered.

. Be a concerned listener to your neighbors at work, home, and marketplace.  Take an interest in their world instead of preaching at their world.  Seek to understand.

. Go do something you would not normally do.  Go spend time in an environment that is unfamiliar to you.  Be a missionary to someone in your same city.

. Try to write down the message of acceptance in Christ and forgiveness of the blame of mistakes without using Christianized terms like saved, salvation, blood of Jesus, made pure, Holy Ghost fire, sin, or heaven.  There is nothing wrong with those words except they don’t communicate to an unbeliever.  Surely the Creator can reconnect us to His love and accept us into His family even though we wander off into our own selfish pursuits and need to have our record expunged.  Yes, we need to be honest and transparent with our selfishness and bad living habits. Yes, we need to go to Him and acknowledge He is right and we are wrong and we need His help.  Yes, we need to realize He sent His Son, Jesus, to take our deserved punishment and sentencing of guilt.  Yes, we need to accept Jesus as not just a man, but also The God.  And we can do it in terms that are meaningful to us just like the Greeks of the early days of the church and the Hebrews of the pre-church days.

. Be relevant with a powerful message.  Don’t water down the gospel.  Live it.  Learn it.  Give it away.

The War Against Black Men .. Lee Habeeb National Review

“Chicago doesn’t have a gun problem; it has a father problem.

Gun control isn’t the problem on Chicago’s streets; self-control is.

When young men don’t have fathers, they don’t learn to control their masculine impulses. They don’t have fathers to teach them how to channel their masculine impulses in productive ways.”

When young men don’t have fathers, those men will seek out masculine love — masculine acceptance — where they can find it. Often, they find it in gangs.


Fathers’ obesity can affect genetics of

Fathers’ obesity can affect genetics of newborns | Science/Technology | NewsObserver.com http://ow.ly/jniAx hmmmmm

Young, black and proud to be a father | Life and style | The Guardian


Like Seani B, Lammy’s motivation is personal. Lammy’s late father also drank – he walked out on his family and left

the country when Lammy was 12, leaving his mother to raise five children alone. Understandably, it had a serious long-term effect. “He became unimaginably important the day he left,” says Lammy. “I struggled to cope with anger, self-doubt and what felt like personal betrayal. I had to lean on youth workers and priests and teachers to help me fill the great, father-shaped hole in my life.”

Young, black and proud to be a father | Life and style | The Guardian http://ow.ly/jme5f

a fearless father can………

Stay alert…..   FEARLESS Family  FEARLESS Father  FEARLESS Faith weekend coming to you in OKC April12,13,14 …. The Shepherd Center Posterclip

Weigh in on ManHood..

Motherlode - Adventures in Parenting

” We live in a society that trades on the cult of masculinity, one in which male power and strength are championed, from the football fields outward. One only needs to look at the community that Richmond and Mays were brought up in to understand that. These two boys were groomed to expect praise at every turn, in a pro-victor, pro-sports community that was willing to overlook any indiscretion, allowing them to think of themselves as indestructible, or at the very least, untouchable.”    After Steubenville, How Can We Raise Children Who Will Speak up to Prevent Rape, Not Defend It? – NYTimes.com http://ow.ly/jkBdW

Do you believe that?   In our social structure that devalues life on the whole and sees it as only meaningful when contributing economically, we seem to have lost footing in our struggles to define real masculinity versus imposed power brokering versus Casper Milqutoast.  Simultaneously, we find a large number of men frustrated and feeling emasculated and marginalized.  Our school environments struggle with bullying conflicts that parents deny.  Children are left to raise themselves and define their own values and principles with relativistic rationalism.  And, then we wonder why or make up an answer.   

Weigh in…. What do you think?


Learn more on Monday at The Man In A Box….man in box


How one father brought encouragement to his son and other sons….

This was our high school's first game, when they got a tie and started to believe in themselves.My son, a freshman, who led our small high school’s varsity soccer team out of last place last year into fourth place this year, said this. I had no immediate response. The sheer profundity had to sink in slowly.    …. read the rest of how one father encourages his son…

‘It’s hard to care when all you do is lose’ | Mustard Seed Budget http://ow.ly/j3L2A

MAN IN A BOX – Ever felt like being a man is being in a box?

ImageThe Shepherd Center announces a special DADSUniversity Event


March 25th    7-8:30pm

Hosted at

Eagles’ Crest   5956 NW 23rd  Oklahoma City

With Dr. Steve Nedbalek and Phil Larson, Director of the Shepherd Center (bios at end of article).

Join us.  It is easy to get trapped in the expectations of others.  This is an enjoyable night.

Be A Man.  Have some fun.  Laugh.  Cry. Get free.  Find YOUR self.  Be YOU.

Registration is not required, but it helps us plan for plenty of snacks!

There is no charge for the event.

Steve Nedbalek, PhD is a national treasure and an international consultant, speaker and author.  His work in suicide prevention, abuse prevention and developing teens and men stands out over the last four decades.  As an athlete, Steve has participated in multiple 100 mile races.  He understands the press of life and the disciplines needed to overcome.    He has taught college athletes for many years.  Get a refreshing insight into your manhood.j

Phil Larson, Director of the Shepherd Center, is a lifelong learner, speaker, and author.  His work among men covers three decades. As a dad, husband, businessman, pastor, and community activist, he is a “make-it-happen” kind of guy.  Phil’s passion is that every child should have their father.  Every man can shake off the past and bad examples and find joy in being a father, the highest calling among men.  After leading many citywide fathering initiatives in network with the National Center for Fathering, the Oklahoma Family Policy Council, CBMC, and hundreds of congregations, PrayerMetro launched the Shepherd Center this year to see our communities transformed.  The Shepherd Center works with congregation, community, schools, government, and businesses to engage and educate men and fathers and support fathers in the home (dads), fathers in the congregations (pastors), and fathers in the state house (legislators).

Press Release: Shepherd Center

Press Release:  Shepherd Center

March 1st, 2013

Phil Larson, Director of The Community Transformation Initiative


phil@shepherdok.com     405-388-8037

The Community Transformation Initiative announces the launching of the Shepherd Center for fathers and leaders.    The Shepherd Center is a member of the network of fathering organizations with the National Center For Fathering.

Through interview of community leaders, review of past successes in the Oklahoma City metro, and analysis of the area, we’ve constructed a viable plan of address to begin to “reverse the curse” of fatherlessness on our society and cultural landscape.  The family ecosystem over the last 50 years in the United States has deteriorated to an unhealthy condition of fatherless children and adults.  The impact is horrendous.  Juvenile detention centers are pressed.  Adult prisons are pressed.  Gang activity is on the rise.  Behavioral distress is burgeoning. Schools are disturbed.  Leadership has become influenced with the long-term impact of fatherlessness and needs encouragement to sustain stable two-parent homes and positive morally responsible and healthy relational environments.

Mission:  Through effective and cost efficient education and events the Shepherd Center plans to strengthen the fathering bond with children and mothers and encourage lifelong commitment to offspring.  Furthermore, we will encourage morally responsible and relationally healthy attitudes and behaviors.  Healthy community stands on the shoulders of healthy parented families.  Community stability exists in the environment of morally responsible and accountable behavior. We target men, fathers, and community leaders, who influence the family ecosystem.  From 1960 to 2012 the impact of moving from an 11% to 34% physical fatherless society has been well documented as destructive to the cultural family ecosystem of not just the United States but worldwide.  The epidemic is out of control.  Fatherless homes have become endemic with a trend to homes of never-married single mothers in their twenties and thirties raising children as best as is possible, yet lacking full benefits of a two-parent home.  The outcomes of our efforts are designed to a)increase the percentages of homes with healthy and positive two parent influence b)develop sensitivity and programs in established community organizations to sustain societal change c)train and develop men as responsible and committed participants in community and family.  The Shepherd Center will provide pastoral advice service to men and families, develop and implement community based education and programs , develop and implement a ‘DADSUniversity’ with multiple levels of accomplishment and certification, establish an interactive online presence for worldwide impact, and integrate all activities with other community organizations such as the Department of Human Services, CDC, National Center for Fathering, CBMC, ministerial organizations, and centers of education.  Our programs will be designed to be implemented with cultural relevancy to the community influenced.

Core Guides and Values: 

  • Moral Responsibility and Accountability: Family stability depends on men and women exhibiting responsible behaviors that are lived out accountable to each other, their families, and the overall community.  Each takes responsibility to build, nurture, maintain and protect others.
  • Cultural Relevancy: Education, events, and programs have concepts that apply in all cultures, yet, need to be administered in a relevant manner to each culture for clarity and impact.
  • Long Term Impact: Every day is the seed of a new generation.  Ensuring that men stay engaged and generations learn reliable behaviors and attitudes requires implementation based in partnership with community organizations.
  • Healthy Relationships: Mutual support and transparency with a genuine concern for the benefit of the other builds healthy relationships.

Team and Host Organization:  Phil Larson serves as the Director of the Shepherd Center.  Phil holds degrees in Sociology and Christian Ministry and is a certified trainer with the National Center For Fathering.  He is a business professional and operations and communications consultant to businesses and non-profits.

The Community Transformation Initiative is the new operating name of PrayerMetro.  PrayerMetro  is an established 501c(3) since 2002 that provides non-profit covering for the Center until it has sufficient funding to operate freestanding.  PrayerMetro has been influential in network with the National Center For Fathering, CBMC, The Oklahoma Family Policy Council, the Oklahoma Faith Based and Community Initiative, The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Character First, hundreds of congregations, ministerial alliances, and business leaders.  Over the last  10 years multiple citywide and community centralized education events focusing on fathering, father/daughter relationships, parent/teen relationships, and community unity and family health have been sponsored effectively by PrayerMetro across cultures and languages in Oklahoma City,  Matamoros,Mx,  and Cuernavaca, Mx.  Phil also serves on the community advisory board of the Oklahoma Coalition For Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention.

A culturally diverse board has been constructed that consists of:

  • Phil Larson – Ordained minister, community activist and business professional
  • Renee Fountain – astute business professional and administrator
  • Beatriz Reyna – young Latina entrepreneur degree in Public Administration
  • Dr. Steve Nedbalek – professional suicide and sexual assault consultant and highly regarded expert on men’s issues, developer of multiple nationally utilized men’s curricula.
  • Rev. Melvin Bunn – Church of God in Christ, African American Community Leader
  • David Franklin – business professional and board activist for several non-profits .
  • Ret. Lt. Col. Norman Stewart – retired military professional and all around great dad.


Most of these board members also serve in the outreach efforts.  Others that serve in outreach, yet not on the board include:

  • Raul Machado, Latino community leader and director of the mission outreach Corazones De Servicio.
  • Angela Fashimpaur, professional educator with special education certification



2013 Initiatives:  In the launching of the Center, we have worked across the community to define impactful initiatives that will form the initial activities.


Eagles’ Crest

FEARLESS.  There are two highly impacted generations affecting fatherlessness.  Men in their 40’s and early 50’s and men in their twenties appear to be high influencers of the trends.  FEARLESS engages leadership of churches, the community of the congregation, and then businesses in a defined area to provide education and engagement for families and men over a six month period.  It is highlighted by a power weekend.  On Friday FEARLESS FAMILY NIGHT brings men, women, and teenagers together to strengthen the parenting partnership and parent/teen friendship.  This same weekend has a FEARLESS FATHERING Saturday morning engagement and a FEARLESS FAITH Sunday morning to engage the entire congregation.


Multiple congregations have committed to work with us on the East, North, South, and West sides of Oklahoma City.  We are excited most of our relationship at this time with Eagles’ Crest in the west of Oklahoma City and Tabitha in the East.  These two congregations reside directly in the highest census tracts of fatherless homes.  Other congregations in the areas will be involved.  Education and equipping congregations as community leaders in family stability is essential to long term impact.  Knowledgeable addressing according to the community is important.

DADSUniversity:  Hosted on the West Side of Oklahoma City from inception, the University designed for men will have levels of certification.  Our intent is to develop key father fathers across the metro to host on continuing basis.  Classes started Jan 7th.

WATCH D.O.G.S. The Shepherd Center will work with Watch D.O.G.S. and local congregations to develop impact for fathers in areas highly concentrated with fatherlessness.

Shepherd Center Online– an interactive website with information, education and insight.  Will contain a direct advice line for men and families.  Budget will be $1000 a month for writers and technical upkeep.  Funding through personal supporters and grants.  Currently hosted at www.PrayerMetro.com.

Shepherd Pastoral Center – Pastoral Advice Services– Pastoral based advice for men and families by appointment.  Sliding scale donations based.  No fees.  Funding by personal supporters, individuals advised, and grants.  $500 a week.

Shepherd Leaders Encouragements – Weekly wisdom based encouragement to all state legislators in the US.  Presently reaching 4000 in 32 states.  Expansion will be made to support 30,000 pastors and other leaders.   Funding by personal supporters, grants.  $1000 a week during legislative months and $500 a week in off months.


In addition to the official board, we have the privilege of relationship and counsel with several community and business professionals.  Each of these can be contacted for personal reference of the impact of The Community Transformation Initiative / PrayerMetro and reputation over the years.

  • Dr. Major Jemison, community leader and pastor of St. John’s Missionary Baptist and national leader in the Progressive Baptist  Convention, BMA, CCSR, and Urban League.
  • Dr. John Reed, community leader and pastor of Fairview Baptist and national leader in the National Baptist Convention, BMA, and CCSR.
  • Rev. Jeff Mitchell, pastor of Tabitha Baptist and community leader.
  • Rev. Constantine Nasr, retired pastor of St. Elijah’ Antiochan Othodox and worldwide leader in family, pastoral, and Aramaic communities.
  • Dr. Herman Reece, community leader and long time director of CBMC, Christian Business Men’s Connection
  • Raul Machado, respected Latino community leader and businessman.  Mr. Machado leads our Matamoros connection Corazones De Servicio sponsored by multiple churches and businessmen in Oklahoma City in conjunction with Casa De Restoracion Y La Vida in Matamoros.
  • Dr. Jose Carillo, Director of the Ministry of Health in Matamoros, Director of CAREVI Men’s Recovery Program, and Pastor of CAREVI.
  • Rick Denny, JD, Director of the Jesus House recovery and community assistance center in Oklahoma City.
  • Tom Hill, Chairman of Kimray Corp, Founder of Character First.
  • Robert Barcum, President, WCForLess, entrepreneur and respected community influencer
  • Mart Green, owner of Mardel’s, influential national community leader in family and leadership development.
  • Wes Lane, former Oklahoma County District Attorney, director of SALLT, a strategic leadership educational initiative.
  • Bishop Frank Tunstall, Superintendent of the Heartland Council of the Pentecostal Holiness Church and respected leader in worldwide missions.
  • Dr. Ken Canfield, founder of the National Center for Fathering.
  • Carey Casey, Director of the National Center for Fathering.
  • Chuck Bowman, community leader and long time former director of FCA in Oklahoma.
  • John Martin, development director of the Butterfield Foundation
  • Steve Cofer, Missionary Development, IPHC
  • Pastor Charles Martin, Integrity Voice of Victory
  • Bishop Tony Miller, The Gate and Destiny Network International
  • Dick Webber, President, RDS Publishing
  • Chris Black, President, R.K. Black
  • Dr. Dale Gentry, Breakout Prayer Network
  • William Sillings, Pastor of New Hope – OKC
  • David Oxley, Pastor of Eagle’s Crest – OKC
  • John Youell, Pastor of Crown Center – OKC
  • Dwight Cunkle, Pastor of Covenant Life – OKC
  • Dr. Steve Nedbalek, professional trainer in sexual assault and violence prevention, Okla DHS and CDC
  • Calvin Miller, Pastor of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist, Stillwater
  • Lee Roland, Principal Tulakes Elementary

Fathers Define Futures

MICHAEL SULLIVAN/The News-ReviewOakland Rural Fire District Fire Chief Bill Stearns, seen Friday in Oakland, is also head of the Douglas County Fire Chiefs Association.OAKLAND — Oakland Rural Fire District Chief Bill Stearns has been fighting fires in his hometown since he was 17 years old. Stearns, 57, said he followed around his father and former Chief Fay Stearns until he was old enough to join the team in 1972. “I liked it, and I liked the guys,” Stearns said. He still enjoys the camaraderie. So much so that he has stayed on the force for 40 years. He has been chief since 1984. “We’re all friends. We’re neighbors helping neighbors. We’ve got some really good people in the department,” Stearns said.

Stearns follows father’s burning passion | NRToday.com http://ow.ly/ipUja