When I left business to go into ministry, Paul started sending $10,000 a year. Then one day he called and said in his inimitable, straight forward way, "Pat, I just wanted tell you personally that I won't be supporting your ministry anymore."
I said, "That's okay, Paul, but can you tell me why?"
He answered, "Well, my passion is for prison ministry and teenage crisis pregnancy centers."
I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud. I said, "Paul, 93% of prisoners are men and 85% of them have no father figure. And why do you think a young teenage girl will hop into bed with a teenage boy, and vice versus?
"I agree, we need more prison ministries and crisis pregnancy centers, but equally important is to disciple men to be godly fathers so we won't need as many of those ministries in the first place. Let's treat the symptoms of the 'men problem,' of course, but we also need to treat the underlying disease."
And after a moment of silence, as only Paul could put it, he said, "Well, I see your point. I guess I'll keep supporting your ministry." And he did. Paul Kuck is no longer with us, but his legacy lives on through two wonderful sons and their families.
That exchange with Paul is a great reminder to distinguish between presenting problems and their underlying causes. Do we need to help those who are part of the collateral damage? Of course! But equally important is figuring out how to prevent the damage in the first place by raising up a new generation of godly men, husbands, and fathers.