Module Six: The Church in OVC Ministry

OVC Essentials Spring 2020 Module Six: The Church in OVC Ministry

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    • #64592
      Leah St. Pierre
      CAFO Staff

      In what compelling ways have you seen an “Everybody Can Do Something” culture lived out? In what ways can imagine your church creating and living into this culture?

      OR

      If you were to take a step towards encouraging those in your faith community to engage the issue of orphans and vulnerable children, what is your first or next step? Please reference what from Jason Johnson’s resources sticks out to help guide your thinking.

    • #65542
      Pam Taylor
      Participant

      I truly enjoyed the material this week. We are fortunate enough to be in the same town as Tony Merida so I especially enjoyed hearing his talk on adoption. In terms of the “Everybody Can Do Something” culture, we have seen that lived out quite effectively by several churches in our area. The churches have provided wrap-around services and support to our families by conducting simple acts of service such as yard work, home maintenance, grocery shopping, etc. In addition, several churches in the area have provided “parents night out” experiences for our foster and adoptive families. They took it one step further and asked for specialized training for those who would be providing childcare. This allowed the parents to have a much needed night out while leaving their children in the hands of those who were at least somewhat familiar with working with children from hard places. I absolutely love the documents created by Jason Johnson that explain how churches can become involved in a variety of ways. The 3-tiered levels of involvement serve as a great illustration and can be simply explained to churches who are seeking ways to support vulnerable children and th families that care for them. These are some great resources that I plan to utilize in the future with my ministry.

      • #65650
        Emily Tiner
        Participant

        Pam, it’s awesome that the church’s in your area are already living this out in some ways and has a head start and can only keep growing in this from here! A parent’s night out is such a great idea and it sounds like the community is really being intentional about creating this culture and caring for these families! It sounds like he has really made an impact in your area!

    • #65543
      Olivia Milliner
      Participant

      During this course, I have been in a state of transition. I am married, but not in the position to start a family at this time. I am a student, but almost ready to graduate and move to a new city. I am deeply immersed in foster & adoption ministry, but it is at a church that I will soon have to leave. As I’ve learned more and more about the state of the foster care system in our nation, and the call that we as Christians have to serve vulnerable children, I have been challenged. I am learning so much, but I’m not able to actually DO anything during this time of transition in my life. My hope is that God is using this time in my life to prepare me for ministry down the road. Jason Johnson’s resources are so valuable as they lay out tips and strategies to realistically support a foster and adoption ministry. The church I am apart of now is the only church I have ever been in that discusses the importance of being involved with foster care and adoption. My hope is that I will be able to bring this mission and urgency to the church I become a part of next. As I talk to my husband, my family, my friends, I pray that God stirs their hearts for the vulnerable children and the injustice they experience in this world, just as He has mine. My takeaway from this week is just a prayer that this is just the beginning of my involvement in serving vulnerable children; a time of learning, a time of reflection, and a time of preparation for what God has in store.

      • #65649
        Debbie Douce
        Participant

        Olivia, I applaud you for your perspective and practice, as indicated by participating in this class, of being in a posture of intentional learning and preparation for what for is next. Keep dreaming, learning, sharing as you have opportunity. I would say that you ARE actually “doing” in this season of transition.

      • #65845
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Thank you so much for your encouragement Debbie!

    • #65546
      Marsha Baker
      Participant

      This weeks curriculum was very encouraging to me.  I have always felt like my “call” with OVC is to encourage people that they can do something.  I loved the materials this week because it made it so basic and really outlined how everyone can be involved and make a difference.  These are awesome tools and resources to have as we continue to advocate for children.  I had a friend this week begin fostering her brothers child and I was able to share with her alot of these materials and they were very encouraging to their family.  I especially loved “Shrinking the Problem” and feel like this is a very important practice in order to get more people involved.  I have seen through the years just in our sponsorship program how a personal invitation to a small thing that makes a big difference is life changing not only for the donor, but also for the child.  We actually used this resource this week to help communicate our need for emergency funds during COVID19 crisis in Uganda and feel like it is a great way to focus on inviting others into caring for OVC.

      • #65557
        Connie Becker
        Participant

        Marsha I agree that this week gave us more ways to share why we help and why others should get involved!

        I need to sit down to clarify and simplify my message so people can understand why and how people can help.

        It takes the burden off I feel when we understand God doesn’t expect us to take on the world ! To go simple, slow and small then let God add to it!

    • #65547
      Trent Taylor
      Participant

      There are several ways that my church could be living this culture. The church could pick a few days out of the month to love on all the foster and adoptive families in their local area. Examples of this could be yard work or home projects that they haven’t been able to do. My church could also set up sensory rooms for the children with sensory needs. The staff could become TBRI trained so that way they could help these children succeed and feel equipped to do so. Another way the church could embrace the “Everyone Can Do Something “ culture is to become informed and aware of the needs and struggles that these families have and just love on them regardless. If the church approached foster and adoptive families and their children with open arms and created an environment where families with children from hard places could come and feel that there is no judgement, I feel that would speak volumes to struggling families.

      • #65551
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Hi Trent! I like your ideas of how to get everyone involved on a large scale! It reminded me of the “Scaling” resource in that your ideas are scale-able and allow people to serve in ways that seem tangible. I agree that even small initiatives could make struggling families feel seen and cared for!

      • #66314
        Philip Douce
        Participant

        Trent,

        As I reread these posts and reflect on this theme for our church we are moving back to after 20 years. I really like your practical steps you describe in your post. I not only agree with them I think they are steps that could be taken in our church when we return. The only thing I would add is a way to educate, energize and engage our church leadership. I think right now they would see this as another community project. I see it as a great way to walk out our faith in a very practical and meaningful way. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    • #65556
      Connie Becker
      Participant

      I thought Tony Merida did a wonderful job of explaining WHY as a Christian we want to help the vulnerable through Galatians 4. How much God speaks to helping the fatherless and defenseless. Not just reading or talking about helping but being involved! We are adopted in Christ/ the gospel, we are compelled because of the grace God has shown us through Christ. We are no longer slaves but sons and daughters of God.

      1)Adoption planned, Gods plan from the beginning! Couples have to plan.

      2)Right Qualification! Jesus Christ is the only one with the right qualifications for our adoption, Christ in us. Couples have to meet qualifications.

      3) Costly-redeemed and purchased by Jesus life and death. Costly to adopt.

      4)Saved from dangerous situations. Kids are in unsafe situations. We were and are in the world.

      5)Legal Change! Our position with God no longer a slave but a son. Same with orphans.

      6) Spirit of sonship! We and they know they are part of a family. Spirit of God in us! We cry ABBA Father and have brothers and sisters in Christ.

      7)Transforms His Children! Spirit of God changes us to the image of Christ. Children’s lives are transformed through adoption!

      8)Heir to God! Blessed   Sons and daughters!

      Gospel compels us to step forward and wrap ourselves in their lives any area we can. World says isolate God says insulate!!!

      Loved Jason Johnson’s three principles. Start simple, start slow and start small! It is more important to do things right than big. To find your lane and maximize it. Make sure you are able to sustain your work and not give up. That’s what they tell us at our works don’t start then stop because it hurts them more.

      Everyone Can Do Something! We are not called to do the same as others but we’re all certainly called and cable of doing something! No one is insignificant in the body of Christ.

      Discipleship like Jesus did. Jesus preached and healed but He discipled them to move from fishermen to fishers of men.

      Support your message!

      Make a plan!

      Educate on how to help, give clear steps!

      Shrink the problem, scale down so people can know their role in helping!

      Increase clarity and decrease anxiety by communicating valves, mission and direction!

      Make it personal!

      Loved 3 Friends at the River where children fell in the water.

      First friend jumped in to pull them out. Intervention

      Second went forward to pull out ones missed! Restoration

      Third went to the beginning of problem to see what was causes it! Prevention

       

      • #65582
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Connie, thank you for sharing your notes! I really enjoyed his message too! I think it really clarified the “identity” piece in serving vulnerable children, similar to Jason Johnson’s emphasis on our Zoom call.

    • #65588
      Debbie Douce
      Participant

      “Everybody can do something” happens frequently in my context. A missionary purchases groceries so the house mom is not giving up valuable family time with the girls and their kids when she arrives at 4:30 pm in the afternoon. Another missionary invites all the girls and their kids plus house mom to her home to share a meal with her family twice a month. A group of trained volunteers from various churches serve in a variety of ways. Individual mentors and tutors, or provide structured activities for the kids while their moms are in group counseling. And I love this one because it is especially important for our two four year old boys. A team member’s husband comes every week to take the five kids, ages 2 to 5  to the park during our family meeting, providing a male model and play time such as wrestling that dads often do best.

      When Phil and I relocate to Missouri next fall, I look forward to exploring how I can be part of or even be a catalyst for a holistic approach that includes all three approaches if possible, prevention, intervention and restoration, in order to reach the vulnerable in our context through our home church. Or if that doesn’t work, I will live out the truth that at least I can impact one! 🙂

      The reading from this week was excellent. “Shrinking the problem” completely resonated with me, as well as it is important to find out what is already being done and then collaborate. Start simple, start slow, start small. My own anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed by what I thought would be a huge task (helping the church practically live out the message of loving the vulnerable) were alleviated by this week’s content. So the strategies work!

      • #65596
        Ryne Isaac
        Participant

        I thought Jason Johnson did a really good job of articulating how to start small. As a pastor and a planner….my mind immediately goes to creating a whole ministry, mobilizing people, funding it, etc. But there are so many benefits to starting small and being intentional about coming around people who are fostering and adopting.

    • #65595
      Ryne Isaac
      Participant

      We have experienced “everyone can do something” first hand by people who have stepped up and helped us along our journey. I cannot imagine having been a foster parent without a church family. That would be hard!

      But I have also seen churches who do this incredibly well through “wrap” ministries. They come alongside families and intentionally support and care for them so that they can foster and adopt. This a great way to teach and mobilize people that everyone can do something.

      • #66403
        Carlos Ramirez
        Participant

        I Agree with your point Ryne Isaac. When we start being foster parents our church was not happy about it, they said it was not the time for us that we were young to become foster parents, I understand at that point because here is just different our culture is not common be a foster parent or do adoption, but now that we have our foster daughter for almost one year now they said that we are a huge example for many families in the church so they can be part of it too.

    • #65597
      Heather Hall
      Participant

      I really appreciated all of the resources from this week by Jason Johnson.  I think that they were all straightforward, easy to understand, and practical.  In thinking about how to encourage those in my faith community towards engaging the issue of orphans and vulnerable children, I would say the first concept Jason presented that I would use would be to start with what we have—whether that be physical resources or current ministries.  With the training that I have had in Community Health Evangelism (CHE) and my public health background, I feel like this is a concept that I have come across a lot and feel that it is so empowering—I always love seeing people have a “light bulb moment” when they realize that they do not have to create something new or gain a new skill in order to make a difference or solve a problem.  In addition to current resources and ministries, I would want to see what families we currently have in our community that are involved with foster care and adoption and see how the church can come alongside them to support them in those callings.

      Other concepts of Jason’s that I really felt were powerful and practical were the three principles to start simple, start slow, and start small.  When I think about change that I have tried to implement in my own life, I can look back and see how many times I repeatedly tried to make some major change that would usually always end up failing because it was not sustainable.  In contrast, when I look back and see some of the changes that I have made that have stuck, I find that most of them were so small that they were barely noticeable in comparison to the big changes I had initially tried to make; however, over time, the small changes added up to having just as much impact as I had hoped the major changes would have had.  I think these three concepts fit well with the concept to start with what you have are very practical and empowering tools to move any faith community towards engaging the issue of orphans and vulnerable children.

    • #65598
      Heather Hall
      Participant

      Pam–I too really appreciated the outlining of the three-tiers.  I think that is such a simple framework that churches and adapt to their resources and capacity.  I think it is such an easy way to break down efforts to support families and spread the load.  Hopefully you’ll be able to share this concept with those who are already doing great work and maybe even be able to expand the depth and breadth of their support.  Thanks for sharing!

    • #65651
      Emily Tiner
      Participant

      I really enjoyed this week’s material and love anytime resources are given that provide practical steps showing how the body, in all it’s different parts, can do something. I think very straight forward and so I like the ‘okay what’s next’ and ‘what is my action steps’ style so this was encouraging for me to learn more of what is possible and how to implement that both on a small and large scale depending on where the church is at. I loved one thing I read too about using what you’ve got. My good friend became a foster mom last year and her first foster children were 3 brothers, one with special needs. And at that time, the main ways I was able to help were just through prayer, giving her calls every once in a while just so she had some adult conversation throughout the day 🙂 and offering to go to the park with her and the kids or dropping off a new toy that would give her a breather if she was out of ideas on a tough day. The church community really came together to tag team in loving her and loving the boys well so they could stay charged and encouraged. Although it didn’t feel like I was doing much, it was encouraging reading these materials that you don’t have to have certain skills, resources or programs necessarily, to make a difference. You can ‘use what you’ve got’ in that sense and what I had at the time was just offering friendship and helping out any way I could. I think little things like that is what I’ll take with me from this week, small practical things to encourage people with when they have a heart to help but don’t know how to make an impact or don’t feel like they can with what they’ve got.

      • #65746
        Katrina Brown
        Participant

        Emily,

        I love your story, I think that is the perfect example of recognizing what you can do…and doing it! I too was encouraged by the material this week about not needing a certain skills or resource to participate and support. I have recently realized that my capacity is continually shifting and that I need to be kind to myself in what I have to offer (especially when it is shifting from doing more). I realize that it’s just not about making a huge impact, but that  small steps- is better than none…. it is still a reflection of God’s heart for our neighbors, friends, communities, and children.

    • #65740
      Katrina Brown
      Participant

      I loved Jason Johnson’s “What’s Your Why/“ resource. I am part of my church’s foster care and Safe Families team and we have used many of his resources to guide our ministry. We have worked hard over the past 4 years to build a healthy culture that is focused on our “why.” We have recently been talking about adoption theology and the place for it within the church and our ministry so Jason’s article about adoption theology was timely. We have been struggling using the adoption theology as the main part of our conversation. We have found a lot of assumption have been made from talking about “orphans” and being adopted into God’s family. For example, sometimes with the adoption theology, we have found members saying then they want to adopt children from the foster care system (which is not the goal of the foster care system). Jason’s framework of theology rounds out these assumptions and brings us back to the core of Jesus (and who He is to us) and what our response should be out of that. So I appreciated Jason’s second part: incarnation theology that follows the adoption theology. I think that is the perfect addition we’ve been missing and a great next step for my church and team to include.

      • #65866
        Mindy Russell
        Participant

        I think this is common for so many believers. I admire your willingness to lead your church in asking tough questions and helping to advocate an educate your people.

      • #66160
        Margaret Hoffer
        Participant

        Katrina,

        I also enjoyed the “What’s Your Why” resource.  I agree that it is so important for us as a church and us as Christians to look at our why, not just at the beginning of ministry, but throughout.  I think we sometimes lose focus during ministry and need to re-evaulate our why and disern if it has shifted.

      • #66161
        Margaret Hoffer
        Participant

        An inspiring and encouraging example of “Everyone Doing Something” is the work being done by our Christian brothers and sisters in Ethiopia, where our organization works.  Everytime I go, I am encouraged and motivated to reflect on my own life and role.  Serving God wholeheartidly and through the gifts that each individual has been given is a given and most are 100% committed, not only to using their God given abilities to serve, but also to work in tandem with others.  There is a clear model of selflessness and a clear understanding that we as Christians are God’s solution to brokeness and everyone must do their part.

    • #65865
      Mindy Russell
      Participant

      for me, the most powerful snippet from this module came from “Building A Discipleship Pipeline”. The problem feels so big, but when you look at the River illustration it really helps people to see how all parts work together: prevention, acute care, and after care. ALL are vital and equally important, and as Christ followers we have gifts and callings that have prepared us for our own “everyone can do something” opportunities. I am grateful to see the resources that give tangible, real life applications to concepts that often look very abstract and daunting.

      • #66172
        Ana María Sanchez
        Participant

        Right!? I love the practical side of life in general, so “Building A Discipleship Pipeline” definitely gave me some perspective on where to start. Thank you so much for sharing your point of view, I enjoyed going through your comment.

    • #65918
      Alyssa McIntyre
      Participant

      I fully believe and endorse the idea that everyone can do something, but the question of how my church might unite in that is an interesting one. My church is still very young and small. One of the decisions they’ve made is to find their life on “minimal ministry”. This means that aside from small community groups, Sunday gatherings, and a kids ministry during church on Sunday all other ministry is left to members. However, the strength that I’ve seen most in our church is our ability to gather around each other. That is, when an individual or family makes a choice our church is sully supportive of them. I know there is a couple right now interested in foster care; I can imagine our church gathering around any new children that might enter into our space, providing respite, supplies, and encouragement to this family.

      • #66210
        Amber Allan
        Participant

        Alyssa, even just by you beginning to brainstorm ideas and imagine ways in which you could see your church coming together more that’s where it begins. Every church has a different focus and that’s okay. You being able to offer some ways they may be able to unite or encourage one another more might just be the starting point!

    • #66171
      Ana María Sanchez
      Participant

      This was quite challenging for me, I haven’t experienced a church with an “Everybody Can Do Something” culture, actually I have been looking, for about a year now, for a church where I can experience community, but I haven´t found it yet. Maybe it’s just my perspective but where I live it’s not common to be involved in the church, its more about Sunday to Sunday kind of culture. That s slowly starting to change, but there´s a lot of work to be done. This week´s unit made me realize I just need to establish in a church and help to create this culture of been involved, so eventually and little by little we can create an “Everybody Can Do Something” culture,  since I recognize it´s vital for the ministry.

      • #66380
        Mandy Haffer de Ramírez
        Participant

        I love your thoughts here, Ana Maria. This is something I have been thinking on for the past few years. Sometimes we see so many challenges in the church, like the lack of the “Everybody Can Do Something” culture. For me, it has lead me to ask the hard question, “Do I leave this church and try to find something “better” elsewhere? Or do I stay and try to be a part of the change I hope to see?” It is a challenging question for sure, but I have seen the huge value in staying and working through the tough stuff, and being a catalyst for positive change. 🙂

    • #66209
      Amber Allan
      Participant

      All of the resources this week were helpful in breaking down some of the larger issues we’ve been trying to tackle individually and throughout the course. When it comes to encouraging friends and family as to how they can engage the issues of orphans and vulnerable children, I think the first step I would take is to shrink the problem. I myself have been so overwhelmed many times by things I see that it has made me want to cower away. Jason Johnson did a great job at simply reminding us that a little bit of clarity can work wonders to increase anxiety. Therefore, the first step I would do is help my friends and family to see the orphans and vulnerable children that are right here in our community. Then, I can pull on some of the other resources to help them understand some of the ways they can get involved.

    • #66315
      Philip Douce
      Participant

      This is an interesting and timely module for us as we are returning to our home church. I think we have good relationship with our leadership and they would be open to hearing us. I also think they have a history of encouraging members to do their own thing but not really sanctioning or owning any one push or project. I really don’t see this as a project and I think they would. My biggest challenge will be to help them engage at a level where they own the conviction of ministering to the OVC in our community as a church body. I am still thinking this through and it will take prayer and conversations to land. However, I was encouraged with the solid and practical ideas Troy shared in his post and think these are a good place to start in presenting concrete ideas once the leadership own the importance of embracing orphans and vulnerable children in our community.  I think we have been given a lot of good and practical information as well as additional resources that can be shared with leadership if they are interested. Love the symbolism and analogy of the river with it’s three areas of engagement. This helps me and others visualize and engage with the concept that there is a place at the river for everyone to jump in and get involved. Everyone can do something! I appreciate the open hand attitude and philosophy of CAFO with the resources shared.

      • #66316
        Philip Douce
        Participant

        ok…I have not idea where I got Troy from?? I meant Trent – :O

    • #66379
      Mandy Haffer de Ramírez
      Participant

      Our first step is connecting with the local child and family services office, which for us is called DINAF. As we are wrapping up this course, my husband and I feel full to the brim with knowledge and best practices related to OVC, and we have a lot of passion for children in need of families, yet we still lack knowledge on current statistics and specific needs in our context. For example, how many children are in the system in our city? Why are most of them there? Where does a child go when they are removed from their biological family? How many people are currently a part of the families of protection system (like us) and how can more people get involved?

      What stands out to me the most from this week’s teaching is the Doctrine of Adoption and the Doctrine of Incarnation. I had never quite heard the issue of OVC explained in that way, and I feel like it gives me both language and theological backing to use in sharing with others about the passions God has laid on our hearts. Once we develop a relationship with DINAF, I think a logical next step would be to develop relationships with one or two children’s homes in the community in need of support. In my mind, so much of a willingness and call to be involved in the care of orphaned and vulnerable children starts with being exposed and having your eyes open to the needs. We have been thinking of what it would look like to lead visits of committed volunteers to children’s homes to show them the hope and love of Christ.

    • #66402
      Carlos Ramirez
      Participant

      I enjoyed the material that they talk about about the Church in OVC Ministry. For the last years it has been challenging for me personally because in our culture it’s different that the Church want to be involved in everything but right now I have seen a change our local Church and Pastors are doing something unique, they are recollecting food so they can give food to the families that are in need right now in the middle of everything that’s going right now, It’s incredible because I have never seen something like this and this make thing of “Everybody Can Do Something” with what we have we can make a change through the Holy Spirit.

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