Week Two – God’s Answer to the Orphan Crisis: The Church

CAFO Course Forums OVC Essentials – 2018 Winter Week Two – God’s Answer to the Orphan Crisis: The Church

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    • #30323
      Leah St. Pierre
      CAFO Staff

      You are welcome to respond to all or just one of the following prompts:

      If you were to begin an orphan care/adoption/foster care ministry in your local church today, what would be your first 3-5 steps based on some of what you learned from Jason Johnson’s resources this week?

      In your opinion, why don’t more churches, or even Christians for that matter, take seriously God’s call to care for the fatherless? What are one to two steps you can take towards inspiring and equipping others based on this week’s learnings?

      If you have experience starting or participating in an orphan care ministry in your local church, what have been the greatest challenges? Benefits, blessings, and gifts? What will you practically put to use from this week’s learnings?

    • #30790
      Jacklynn Campbell
      Participant

      In conversations with others, when it comes to orphan care ministry, the main response to those not interested in it is “I don’t feel that it’s my calling.”  When diving into the Word, though, it is not expressed as a calling given to some individuals and not others.  It is a simple command.  It never says that “everyone must adopt” or “everyone build an orphanage”, but it’s audience is believers and it says to care for them. Period.  So if one is considered a believer, the Word is asking them to care.  To physically and actively care.  To care as a verb and verbally.  To stand up and speak on their behalf, too.  My one step to encouraging and equipping others in this is simply to communicate this as a command and not a calling. If I had to add another, it would be to point them in the direction of action locally or globally by sending them to organizations they can volunteer for and support. Get them plugged in to their “SOMETHING”.

      • #30824
        meghan rivard
        Participant

        Yes, I absolutely agree. I have also heard someone say that they don’t feel called to orphan care, or “it doesn’t relate to them”. it hurts to think that that is view of a lot of churches today; that orphan care is a small group or ministry of the church. When in reality, it should be the Church and part of the whole congregation. as you said, everyone can get involved in some aspect, big or small, and do “something”.

      • #30843
        openarms
        Participant

        Hi Jacklynn,

        I love how you express this…that orphan care isn’t a calling for a few but a command for all. That looks different for everyone, but the heart is the same – loving others because Christ first loved us. It reminds me of the verse in I John 3 that says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

        – Laura

      • #31076
        Emily Evans
        Participant

        I completely agree with this! I think our society has placed the idea that you have to be called to do foster care and adoption. I truly believe we are all called to care and give attention to it! I think getting the truth out there and letting people read the verses would help them see its importance!

    • #30796
      Mandy Hernandez
      Participant

      I love how Jason Johnson spoke on how genuine orphan care ministry should be birthed and paralleled to the gospel of identity and relationship, rather than religion and a “have-to.” When I first came to know the Lord, I wanted everyone to know Him too! When I became extremely passionate about orphan-care, I wanted everyone to become too! But it’s in the becoming that we find God’s heart, and that was built through discipleship! The bottom-up approach seems like the ideal starting place for me. Building relationships within the church, being a genuine follower of the Lord so that the overflow of my heart is what is seen. Being vulnerable myself to show weaknesses and desire for family to need the church in order for the body to become the family for orphans and vulnerable children.

      Working in an organization that hopes to be more strategic in empowering our church partners, it’s nice to have ideas for both drip and fire hydrant strategies. It’s more of a top-down approach to engaging our churches.

       

      • #30841
        Jonathon Sampson
        Participant

        I think bottom-up is a great way to start. Many times leaders are hesitant to get involved in OVC care because their plate is already so full of other ministries and responsibilities. Having someone from the congregation step up can be a huge help to leadership and can help the ministry grow more organically.

      • #30856
        Brittney Wallace
        Participant

        YES, Mandy! This is great. I 100% agree that with vulnerability comes a great sea of change. Seeing the raw emotion, story, etc. of where people are in their walk especially in the realm of the church is huge to create change and especially so with the orphan care crisis. I believe people don’t get involved because they simply don’t see the impact they can make, big or small. I believe when people learn how their impact can make a difference, even in the small things, that’s where people get on board to make a bigger impact for things like orphan care and step into their calling the Lord has placed on each of us.

    • #30804
      Jonathon Sampson
      Participant

      My experience is mostly with foster care, and I work a lot with churches trying to get them to share about the need for foster parents. Something Tony Merida said in his sermon really stuck with me. “Adoption is not the path of least resistance.” I could easily add any type of OVC care to that. Foster care and adoption are really hard. It’s hard to form meaningful relationships with kids that you may never see again. It’s hard to face the realities of child abuse and neglect as a Christian. It’s hard to answer questions about why bad things happen to kids, and that can make hands-on OVC care difficult.

      When I talk to churches, I talk about the church being the ultimate family. Children are most successful in families, and the Church is (should be) the perfect example of a loving, encouraging, nurturing family. Jason Johnson said this in one of his blog posts, and I use it all the time: “Foster Care should not be a government problem, it should be a church problem.” (http://jasonjohnsonblog.com/blog/church-stop-outsourcing-child-welfare#.WoH6I6inHIU=)

      • #30931
        Mike Evans
        Participant

        <p style=”text-align: center;”>“Foster Care should not be a government problem, it should be a church problem.” </p>
        I cannot agree more with this statement.  If we go back in history, we as the church have placed it into the governments hands. As I have worked with and talked with social workers, the counties/governments, do not trust the church. Time and time again the the church has stepped up and said they will help with this or that and the moment it has not gone the way they expected they pull out, leaving the county/government in a very tough spot.

        We as a church need to come forward and build these relationships. We need to know and understand there is no quick fix and that time will be needed. We may not even see the change, but we need to have full faith that what we are doing is making a difference whether we see it today or not.

        Together, we can and will make a change. Lets keep doing what we are doing!

         

    • #30825
      meghan rivard
      Participant

      I actually was just asked recently to revamp/reintroduce the orphan and adoption ministry at my local church. the one thing that really stuck on from one of the readings was that orphan care should not just be one big orphan Sunday event in the church and then never spoken about the rest of the year. Orphan care should have those large events to bring the congregation together but also have the small trickle events throughout the year. It was so valuable to me to read in more than one reading about everyone can do something. I also enjoyed reading about the importance of church leadership in making adoption and orphan care a priority, and how speaking about redemption and salvation, as well as emphasizing adoption, would be beneficial for the church.

      • #30887
        Caitlin Snyder
        Participant

        Meghan! I’m so glad that our church is getting you involved with orphan care! I was challenged in the readings by the emphasis on post-adoption support. I think so many families who haven’t adopted think that biggest hurdle is funding an adoption, but it’s so important for them to know that attachment and adjustment are often a bigger challenge than anything else throughout the process.

    • #30836
      Natalie Cormier
      Participant

      I agree with many of the other people who have written that Christians and churches do not feel called to care for orphans and vulnerable children. In my opinion, I think the call to contribute in some way to OVC care is much like that of missions, Christians should assume that they should serve in some way unless they are told not to. Similarly, in missions, I think people should assume that they need to go and stay when called to. In assuming that one should contribute to OVC care, I believe that people also need to be truthful in their outlooks and examine how best they can serve OVC populations. In Adoption and the Gospel, the authors briefly discuss bad motives for adoption which I think is a serious issue. Some people only want to adopt certain types of children, this situation concerns me because it makes me questions the motives of the adopting individual/s.

      I think that the most encouraging thing that I can do at the moment is share my testimony of being adopted as encouragement, be willing to serve through my time, talents, and treasures, and motivate others to serve and help families who need help and support. Furthermore, pushing the ministries that I am a part of to contribute and serve OVC ministries in partnership and support.

      • #30928
        Ariel Meneese
        Participant

        Yes! I totally agree with you, Natalie. Education is so important in all aspects, but especially for the big issues, like orphan care. Helping people understand the problem and helping them find solutions is so important for furthering the Gospel.

        I also agree that it is disheartening to hear when people are picky about who they are willing to adopt. Nothing in our lives is truly up to us, as followers of Christ. My coworker and her husband were preparing to adopt and they thought they were being called to adopt a little boy, but were willing to adopt any child. After all the paperwork was done, they were suprised to be matched with twin girls! It seemed overwhelming in the beginning, but now they are a happy family and I don’t think they would want it any other way! God knows what he’s doing 😉

    • #30842
      openarms
      Participant

      I think often what stops us (me!) from getting involved in a movement like orphan care is the overwhelming nature of the need. We know God tells us in His word to “care for orphans and widows,” but how? Where do we start? What do we do? How do we do it without making the problems worse? It’s so easy to feel unequipped and inadequate, too small to make a difference.

      I really appreciated the tone of this week’s material, and the bold encouragement to just do something – no matter how small it might seem. A multitude of small actions can be the catalyst for an avalanche of interest and initiatives in a church or a community! But even if it doesn’t, my small contribution still matters.

      After the content this week, I feel empowered to start doing small things and pray that God will use them mightily. For me, I think this includes talking to my pastor about small ways to begin fostering awareness and compassion for orphans. It also means I start to critically evaluate the way I do my job, making sure it aligns with the best practices of working with orphaned and vulnerable children. Though I don’t have direct contact with the children we serve, my work does impact them and I want that impact to be as positive and healthy as possible. I hope and pray this will encourage the sponsors of these children to do the same!

      – Laura

      • #30847
        Lis Doane
        Participant

        Laura, yes, yes, yes!  Adoption or foster care is a calling.  It is not for everyone but there are so many other things we can do to support our families who have been called.  Adoption/foster can be a difficult road at times and I don’t think many churches understand the lack of support these families feel.  I have parents all the time expressing such gratitude for the simple fact that I listen, I don’t judge and I show I care.  We all can do something!

      • #30863
        Courtney Schmidt
        Participant

        Yes I had similar feelings this week of wanting to start by serving in small ways. Our pastor and his wife are currently a foster family and they hope to adopt. My husband and I could support them in different ways through their journey. This training just helped me to have a vision for that.

    • #30846
      Lis Doane
      Participant

      One of the greatest challenges in introducing an orphan car ministry to my church has  been getting parents/staff onboard with trauma informed care, which can seem to run very counter to traditional Christian parenting.  Many adoptive parents do not want to come to terms with the fact that their adopted child is different, with different needs and parenting styles.  The “ love is enough” myth is still alive and well in the adoptive Christian community.

      On the flip side, and as an adoptive parent myself, it is an absolute joy to bring this information to adoptive parents, who have been struggling and alone for so long.  I vowed no other family would go through what my own family did, when this scientifically and Scripturally based information is available.  It is a total game changer and we all should be implementing it, wherever God has placed us.

      • #30882
        Kaari Vasquez
        Participant

        Lis – you bring up such an important point. Families who adopt or do foster care are in great need of education and continued support throughout their journeys. This often gets overlooked when we are too focused on getting people involved versus taking the time to really prepare them well. In the end, without the proper preparation, there is much greater risk for disruption of the adoption or foster placements.

        It sounds like God is using your past experiences and challenges to really bless those families within your church!

    • #30855
      Brittney Wallace
      Participant

      I believe the issue of churches and even Christians have come down to the fact that we have become complacent and think that someone else will do the job. I think a lot of people feel like there is a calling placed only on specific people’s hearts when in actuality is what God sees as a necessary action for all who call themselves a believer (James 1:27).

      The most important step in inspiring and equipping, in my opinion is to point to the Word as the most effective tool in caring for the orphan. Also, teaching what caring for the orphans looks like and to continue to encourage the church as a community of believers the importance and value that can be found in caring for those who are vulnerable and in need of care. Whether that happens in our church homes, or families, or friend groups, there is always someone that needs that extra push or encouragement from someone with experience that can direct them in what the next step looks like for putting feet under our desires and callings.

      • #30870
        Jessica Rush
        Participant

        I agree Brittany! I think that churches have become complacent because for so long, they have thought that someone else will “take care of it.” Like you said, I think it a great step would be encouraging those around us with how they can step up and help those in orphan care.

    • #30861
      Courtney Schmidt
      Participant

      (In your opinion, why don’t more churches, or even Christians for that matter, take seriously God’s call to care for the fatherless? What are one to two steps you can take towards inspiring and equipping others based on this week’s learnings?)

      I think this week’s reading really hit on why many Christian’s don’t take the call to care for orphans seriously. We read that many do not understand the broad scope of “orphan care”. We cannot simplify orphan care to only mean bringing a child into your home. I think this broader perspective of orphan care would really help to motivate and equip families to support adoptive families in their church. Perhaps many in the church just haven’t realized that participating in orphan care can include bringing a meal, helping financially, babysitting, being an emotional support for the family, etc. So the first step to inspire others towards orphan care is helping them to understand this definition of “orphan care” and give a variety of options so they can best see where their family could serve within the big picture.

      Secondly, as was mentioned in the sermon and reading for this week, we need to help people understand why they should be involved in orphan care. The reason is because God has adopted us into his family at a great cost to Himself; therefore, we can do the same for others. This week emphasized a gospel-centered perspective to orphan care.

    • #30864
      Kaari Vasquez
      Participant

      In your opinion, why don’t more churches, or even Christians for that matter, take seriously God’s call to care for the fatherless? What are one to two steps you can take towards inspiring and equipping others based on this week’s learnings?

      It is easy for us to get caught up into wanting our lives to be ‘easy.’ The thought of opening our hearts and homes to a child or spending our time and money in order to care for the fatherless seems overwhelming to some. In fact, even spending time thinking about the needs of vulnerable children can cause people to retreat because they don’t want to risk feeling convicted about not doing anything. Based on this week’s learnings, I hope to engage others in more conversations about the gospel. It is my prayer that all of our hearts will be touched daily by the sacrifice Christ made for us and that our response would be a desire to put into action what God says in His Word.

      If you have experience starting or participating in an orphan care ministry in your local church, what have been the greatest challenges? Benefits, blessings, and gifts? What will you practically put to use from this week’s learnings?

      We had the privilege of participating in an orphan care ministry for about 9 years in our local church back in the United States. The greatest blessings were watching how God answered our prayers by softening the hearts of our church leadership. It was also amazing to watch people come along side each other and support each other through our support group ministry. The greatest challenge was being patient – patient for other individuals to step up and be willing to do foster care or support a foster family. For the longest time we were the only foster family in our entire church of over a thousand people. There are now two other families and we are rejoicing for that, but still….the need is great and the workers are few.

      Based on this week’s learnings, I hope to approach the leadership at our current church here in Mexico about building on what they already have in place to serve orphans and widows that attend our church or live within our community.

    • #30869
      Jessica Rush
      Participant

      I think the biggest reason that churches often don’t respond to the call to care for the fatherless is they don’t know where to begin. It can be overwhelming to think of the big scope of orphan care but they need someone to direct them. I think Christians, in general, don’t respond is because they feel useless if they don’t want to adopt or foster. They need to understand that there is so much they can to do to support those in orphan care whether it be orphans, foster families, adoptive families, etc.

      One step I would take would be to talk with the pastor at my local church about beginning to make caring for the fatherless a part of the conversation at our church and working up to things like events for foster parents or small groups for adoptive families, etc.

      • #30881
        Lindsey Hughes
        Participant

        Yes, Jessica. I think you’re spot on with this. There are so many different ways that churches and individuals can get involved – different organizations or services – that I, too, believe that it can simply seem overwhelming. Realizing that it does not have to be a dive into the deep end of orphan care but that even small steps make a big impact in the Kingdom can make the decision to begin the process a little less daunting.

      • #30893
        Julia Given
        Participant

        I agree with you Jessica. Sometimes the big picture can be so overwhelming that they don’t even know where to begin.

    • #30880
      Lindsey Hughes
      Participant

      In regards to the lack of action on the part of Christians to care for orphans, the “justifications” that I most often hear are: “I just don’t have the time to commit.” or “I don’t feel God calling me to do this area of ministry.” If we look at Scripture, however, we see that caring for orphans isn’t just a “part of ministry” – it is the very heart and character of God. It is a mandate to all believers that we care for the most vulnerable of society. The first step that I would take to influence others to step up would be to just educate them on the topic, to inform them that this is not simply a request or a calling that God calls only certain people to, but rather is is a calling for ALL people. I would explain that, while it is a call that we all must answer, the answer may look different from person to person. For some, they may decide to foster or adopt. For others, they may decide to form a “care community” that surrounds foster and adoptive families and supports them in various ways. For instance, our church partners with an organization that forms these care communities around foster families in our community. The members of these “communities” rally around and support foster families and children by providing meals, respite care, etc. So, in addition to educating, I would provide resources or ways to get involved in caring for orphans and vulnerable children in any way that I could.

      • #30889
        Brittany Dealy
        Participant

        Hi Lindsay!

        I completely agree! I should have read your post before posting my own. We are so blessed to be in this line of work, to be able to equip others and show them that ‘yes, it is work’, but God can handle it. He’s got us covered. And so many of us have the materials, and training to be able to help those that don’t feel like they can meet this huge need.

        Thanks!

    • #30884
      Alexis Martens
      Participant

      Based on this week’s readings and a really critical experience in my life, I think the biggest thing that keeps people from acting is their perspective of looking at an issue versus asking who they are in regards to the issue. I actually have a lot of thanks to give Leah for coming to my campus and asking us the question, “who are you?” If more people were asked, “who are you,” then I believe it would cause a lot of internal reflection. Another step after that question is, “when are you going to help?” Why not now? You are who you are and waiting for the best time to act is the most dangerous slope. Referencing Jason’s “Building a Foundational Culture of Orphan Care in Your Church,” there are so many things that we can all do to partake in this movement, that the perfect time is now. I am so excited just talking about this and I know I can pump up my friends and church elders. God is so good.

    • #30885
      Lee Radford
      Participant

      I wonder if the North American church has become so focused on our own comfort that it almost becomes impossible to see the needs of the fatherless. The cost of time and emotion to bring a foster child into your home or to adopt a child is unable to surface because we are so internally focused. Even internally focused on our personal pursuit of God.

    • #30886
      Leonel Vasquez
      Participant

      In response to why Christians don’t take seriously God’s call to care for the fatherless, I am reminded of the many excuses I came up with before obeying God’s command and doing foster care with my wife. Life was comfortable and we had our own plans. I imagine it is the same for others. There is a short video on Youtube called “Eric Ludy – Depraved Indifference” …I won’t give any spoilers. The ‘world’ traps so many of us and it is really hard to break away from the lie that says we deserve a big home, nice cars, secure career, etc. What stuck out the most about Jason Johnson’s resources this week was the emphasis on the gospel, how it gives us our identity and compels us to obey God’s command.

      What I’ll practically put to use from this week’s learnings is to approach new opportunities-to-serve with the questions from the resource What’s Your Why?. “In light of the costs…Who am I? What kind of situation is this? What does someone like me do in a situation like this?”

      Finally, if anyone is interested in reading a fantastic book, “Gospel” by J.D. Greear, the book sort of mirrors what we learned this week in that the gospel is at the root of who we are, and therefore, how we act. We read it with our small group from church and God used it as one of the motivators to help me decide where to take our family next.

    • #30888
      Brittany Dealy
      Participant

      I agree with so many of you, in that the church assumes that someone else will take care of it, or it’s ‘not their calling’. It used to be something the church took care of before anyone else, and often the church is who originally set up the state institutions that now take care of putting children in foster homes. I think many pastors don’t feel equipped to encourage or talk about legal adoption, or they don’t feel like there is a community that is needing it at the time. My church, personally, is a tiny church plant that is located in a more rough area of our city, and there is great need for foster families, among many other forms of care for families and children. My pastors have a son adopted from Africa. I asked them if they have an adopted community they are part of, and they said no, but would be interested in seeking one out. This broke my heart. I know that our church would love to be THAT for them, but we don’t know first hand what they’ve gone through to adopt their precious son. I would love to help instigate, in my own church, intentional prayer for orphans and see what track God brings us on, with us seeking His heart intentionally on foster care and adoption. I know that my husband and I will most likely adopt and may end up being part of the adopted support community our church needs, but at the moment, we are lacking. Another point I wanted to make, is that here in Colorado Springs, we have over 200 headquarters for Christian ministries. Many of them are focused on orphans, widows, and vulnerable children. I get the sense, that many people who are in this line of work, in the culture that exists with this many ministries in such a ‘small city’: is that “I do it at work all day long, so why would I bring it home?” That is something that I see changing in the hearts of many people I know personally, but it is sad how immune we get to these stories of real life victims, that we feel like our 9-5 job covers what God has asked us to do.

    • #30890
      Cerasela Harris
      Participant

      If I were to start my own ministry for orphan care, adoption, or foster care minister in a church, here would be the three steps.

      1. Tell people the need to help children in all different places.

      2. Try to help people not have a narrow opinion of what helping children mean. It doesn’t mean just adopting children from a different country, or bringing in a child, there are more things. In Jason’s lesson, he suggested that everyone can do something to help the children and families. There are many options through cooking a dinner, babysit for a foster family, help families with maintenance things with their cars such as changing oil for free for foster families, help with home maintenance, or bring in a child in your home if you feel able. There are many different skills and talents, and God can use all skills to help children. There are lots of different ways to help children.

      3. Share easy practical examples of how to help children and families besides bringing children in.

      4. Get the church of organization leaders on board by inviting them to lunch, and share the idea of starting a ministry of helping orphan vulnerable children, and hope to get there support to start the ministry.

      2. I think the reason why people are hesitant to help orphan and vulnerable children is because they do not see fit to parent a child. They may not have the resources to parent.  May not realize there are lots of ways to help families and children besides fostering a adopting like Jason discussed.

      • #30922
        Natalie Cormier
        Participant

        I think that your points are really interesting as I interpret them as messages that you want to convey to the participants within whatever organization you would lead. I would further think of what methods you would use to implement these ideas and share them with others.

    • #30891
      Caitlin Snyder
      Participant

      I believe that more churches and more Christians don’t take God’s call for the fatherless more seriously because they either don’t understand or they don’t know how.

      How I’ve been able to inspire and equip other is by sharing specific stories and specific action steps. Deciding to adopt feels like too big of a step, and it usually is, so I hope to start small.

      Asking for orphan care related prayer requests.

      Sharing orphan care related prayers being answered and praises.

       

      • #30899
        Dianna Yang
        Participant

        Yeah, it’s a huge step to even truly understand what it means to give to the fatherless. We have wired our brains to think there is only one way to give, yet there are many ways to give. The first step is to understanding how to answer the call in very practical ways. I agree with you, small steps are the way to go. With small conversations and even praying for Orphan Care can raise awareness within your church and community. God uses those who are willing!

    • #30892
      Julia Given
      Participant

      I think more churches and Christians do not take the call to care for the fatherless more seriously because they have a very narrow view of what this looks like. Their idea of taking care of the fatherless only involves taking children into their home, when in fact it is a much broader scope than that. The steps that I can take to inspire and equip others to care for the fatherless would be to broaden their scope of orphan care. Break down and explain how “Everyone can do something”. From meals, to BBQ for events, to a mechanic who does oil changes, to college kids who babysit.

      The greatest challenge that the orphan ministry I participated in faced was changed in leadership in the church. The lead pastor who started the orphan ministry and was a foster parent truly got it! The ministry thrived and the church was involved. When he left the church and a new lead pastor who did not have the same passion for the ministry came to the church, the ministry began to suffer and not thrive how it did with the previous pastor.
      The biggest blessing from the ministry that we received was community! It was so comforting to sit with and do life with other foster families walking the same path as our family.
      Practically put to use….. I would love to see churches come together to do orphan ministry and do it as a community. Not just each church on its own.

      • #30895
        Kaitlyn Stutts
        Participant

        Julia,

        I found your insight on church leadership so valuable! Without proper leadership and guidance, many individuals are not sure how to help or be involved. The passion and purpose behind the actions are lost. Great leadership and guidance is vital to inspiring people to get involved. I also agree with your point that churches need to get involved together in a community, as opposed to working individually. We have all received the same call from God and can do more together than we can individually, so the support that is found in a community of churches and believers could be so powerful in caring for the fatherless. Your insight and experience is so valuable to the creation of and sustaining that community. Thank you!

    • #30894
      Kaitlyn Stutts
      Participant

      The need for churches and individuals to respond to God’s call to care for the fatherless is great. I believe that many churches and individuals don’t take the call seriously out of lack of knowledge on how to practically respond to the call. Many individuals may also just be unaware of the immense need. As privileged individuals, if the plight of the fatherless has not been made personal in some way, churches and Christians may just be unaware and oblivious to the need. If orphan care is made personal and practical applications on how to help are made available to churches and people, I believe we would see an increase of people caring for the fatherless.

      The first way to inspire and equip people to respond to God’s call is by educating them on the need. The need of orphans may seem far off, or something that is only “over there,” when in reality it is right in our backyard. Making people aware of the issue and need would be the first step in prompting action. The second would be to make those actions tangible and practical. People may have a desire to help, but just don’t know how they can. Not everyone is in the position to foster or adopt, nor is everyone equipped to do so. Not everyone is able to take a trip internationally to see and care for the poor. Action steps need to be available for individuals to be motivated to help. For example, providing meals or respite for foster/adoptive families is a great way to be involved. Child sponsorship, in the right context, can be a way to get involved. Donating to individuals who are the boots on the ground caring for orphans is a way to support and care for orphans. Creating a small group of support for families with foster or adoptive children is a way to get involved. If orphan care is made personal and tangible for people, I believe we would see an increase in care from churches and Christians.

    • #30898
      Dianna Yang
      Participant

      In my opinion, I believe churches and Christians don’t take God’s calling to care for the fatherless seriously is because we aren’t willing to make the sacrifice. We believe it requires a great deal of money and time that we don’t have. Oftentimes, we typically portray caring for the fatherless equals traveling overseas to help an orphan or adopting out of the country. We forget about the fatherless in America and we ultimately forget it was never about us, but it’s about God. God’s calling to care for the fatherless is a servant act just as He sent his Son to serve us in order that we can be a part of his eternal family. One the biggest take away I learned this week is that everybody can do something. We were all crafted uniquely and have been given specific gifts to further God’s kingdom. There are no small or big roles in the body of Christ because we were made equally in the image of Christ. Some of us are called to adopt, to travel overseas, and some of us are given the gifts to support those on missions and adopting. Yes, it is costly, but God, the giver, who holds the entire world, ultimately gave and continues to pour out blessings on us each and everyday. We must steward all of it. My encouragement is to use whatever gift God has gifted you to further His kingdom for the fatherless because He first gave.

    • #30925
      Emma MacDougall
      Participant

      I am currently starting an orphan care ministry with Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, at Ball State University. One of the greatest challenges that I am facing is students saying that there is nothing they can do while they are in college. They are saying that they can’t adopt or foster children, so they are not able to serve orphans until later in life. After this week, I am learned to tell them that it is more than just adoption or foster care and how to tell them that everyone can do something. When Jason explained that there are options of tiers of way that everyone could help. People can cook a meal, babysit for fostering parents, or do adoption or foster care. I am encouraged to tell them that there are ways to serve orphans while they are in any stages of their lives.

    • #30927
      Ariel Meneese
      Participant

      People and churches alike love to see attainable goals fulfilled. When we are called to care for the fatherless, many think that means adopting or fostering or even going on a mission trip to visit an orphanage. Those are attainable goals that can be fulfilled. If you are not called to any of those methods, however, it’s easy to think that means God is not calling you to care for the fatherless. Inspiring and equipping people to care for the fatherless could be as easy as chatting with them to learn about what they are interested in and thinking of ways that they could use those interests to get involved in the community. If they really like shopping, maybe they can help a single mom by doing her grocery shopping. Or if they are good with fixing cars, maybe they can help a single mom or foster family keep their car in working order. If they have a large vehicle, maybe they can transport foster kids to soccer practice. We all have strengths that God has given us that we may not even be using to the fullest potential.

      • #31120
        Danita White
        Participant

        Hi Ariel,

         

        I think your point regarding the fulfillment of attainable goals as to why more churches/Christians are not involved in orphan/foster care is right. Because they cannot adopt a child or foster a child, some Christians believe that God’s call to care for vulnerable children does not apply to them. This is similar to how some Christians believe that the Great Commission does not apply to them just because they are unable to go on an overseas mission trip. Of course, such thinking is not truthful thinking. God’s call to spread the Gospel and to care for orphans is to be answered by every Christian and when it is answered, every Christian will find that they have been given gifts and talents to fulfill their part in the call in their own unique way.

         

        Grace + peace,
        Danita

    • #30930
      Mike Evans
      Participant

      Great questions this week. As I process through them, I think I can answer a couple of the together.

      We are just 1 year into having launched a foster care ministry at our church. As we worked and continue working to grow, I have often asked myself why. Why can it seem so hard at times to gain peoples attention. One thing that I have found as one of the most difficult challenges is breaking the stigma that you have to be a foster parent to be involved in foster care. We are slowly breaking that, but still struggle. What we have done to try and give options is to build a Wrap Around Team for every foster home. This team is still hard to recruit for, but we have come at it simply asking for individuals and couples to use there gifts and passions to help support and bless a foster family.

      Another big thing we have discovered as well is actually very simply and wise that comes from a churches leadership is, do they have the right people in place to have an OVC ministry? If not, for everyone’s sake, I would pray they do not jump into a foster care or orphan care ministry. Like last weeks session on When Helping Hurts. (that book is a real eye opener if you have not read it). I believe along with this, people often think it is the church that has to do it. That a non staff member of a church or non-profit cannot proceed. I will spare all the details, but I type this as one who has gone to the church, not on staff or as a non profit simply as a member and volunteer with a passion for the fatherless and their families. The church may be waiting for “you” to step up and to take the lead on a OVC ministry. And this simply is not just for the orphan, but what else are we “waiting” for the church to do. Why do we sit back and wait, or say “I’ll pray about it”. It’s time that we listen to that small, still voice that nudges us or puts ideas and thoughts into our minds that seem to be out of no where. Because when its from God, it will seem like its out of no where. Its a way He knows we will continue to dive deeper into our relationship with Him.

      • #30973
        Jacklynn Campbell
        Participant

        Yes! Yes! Yes! So many times we point our fingers to the church for doing more when the more that the church should be doing begins with us because we are the church.  The church is not a brand, organization or building to gain the loyalty of others in competition.  The church is simply the whole of believers living for kingdom come.  Every believer makes up The Church, therefore, every believer had the authority to hear God’s heart in this, be obedient and do their something.  We don’t have to wait for someone on a staff or with a position to lead.

    • #31051
      Rebecca McMahan
      Participant

      In your opinion, why don’t more churches, or even Christians for that matter, take seriously God’s call to care for the fatherless? What are one to two steps you can take towards inspiring and equipping others based on this week’s learnings?

       

      In my opinion, I think that we have dropped the ball when it comes to caring for the fatherless. I think in some ways that as a church body we maybe expect that others will pick up the slack if we don’t. I have seen that mentality in the churches I’ve gone to in the past in other ministries. It seems like a small, select few carry the largest load. Some examples that come to mind are the worship team, childcare, and the greeting team. At my previous church, the same people did the same volunteer position week after week. This caused burnout for some people I knew. I could see this same frame of mind transferring to the need to care for orphans and vulnerable children. I think it comes down to the majority of people assuming that the needs are being met, when in reality, the demand is still very high.

      The first step I would think would be to speak to members of my small group, first, about the number of children in need of forever homes first. I’d want to have discussions to simply raise awareness. From there, I would look to explore tangible ways that our small group could support those who are already caring for this vulnerable population, such as making a meal or planning a family night out for families who have adopted or are fostering within our church community.

    • #31075
      Emily Evans
      Participant

      In my opinion, I think Christians don’t take foster care and adoption more seriously because they truly don’t know how much the Bible talks about it. I just think a lot of people aren’t aware of Gods call for us to take care of the fatherless. I absolutely loved the message of the Apex of Adoption: Redemptive Grace. I think everyone needs to hear the message of how we were adopted by God and he calls us to adopt others as well. I am encouraged to share with my friends this message and show them verses on it and the importance. I also would like to mention the idea to a Children’s Pastor at my church about starting a program for foster care and adoption!!

       

    • #31119
      Danita White
      Participant

      If you were to begin an orphan care/adoption/foster care ministry in your local church today, what would be your first 3-5 steps based on some of what you learned from Jason Johnson’s resources this week?

       

      Based on the resources I read this past week from Jason Johnson, if I were to start an orphan care/adoption/foster care ministry in my local church today, I would take a “bottom-up” path with some of my first steps being:

       

      1. Identify those who are already involved in orphan/foster care by launching a small group
      2. Put together relevant resources to help and support those who are already involved in orphan/foster care
      3. Plan monthly events that will better bring together/equip/train those who are a part of the orphan/foster care small group
      4. Strategize as to what larger events will be launched to get more church members aware/involved
      5. Hold an information meeting to take the orphan/foster care small group church-wide

       

      In your opinion, why don’t more churches, or even Christians for that matter, take seriously God’s call to care for the fatherless? What are one to two steps you can take towards inspiring and equipping others based on this week’s learnings?

       

      I think more churches/Christians are not involved in orphan/foster care because they aren’t trained to do so. In other words, someone who has grown up in a Christian home and been in church their entire life, may still be unaware that God is “a father to the fatherless” simply because it was never spoken about in family devotions or preached from the pulpit. Or if it was spoken of, it was spoken of in generic terms or in passing and not emphasized that just as God cares for the fatherless so are those who claim to be His followers to care for the fatherless. Abortion, modesty, persecution, etc., are all issues that the church is known for speaking out about…but orphan/foster care not so much.

      Some steps I can take towards inspiring and equipping others based on this week’s learnings is: (1) continue to learn all I can about orphan/foster care so I can be better equipped to speak to others about the issue; (2) find out the “something” that I can do right now to help the orphan/foster care movement in my community; and (3) encourage others to get involved in orphan/foster care by helping them find out the “something” that they can do.

    • #31269
      Penny Fairo
      Participant

      The past two decades we have seen the increase of church participation and christian networks in OVC care. Churches have OVC or foster care/adoption ministries especially. I believe that as Christians, we want to DO something and caring for orphans as mandated in scripture is on the heart of many believers. It is important to keep in mind that caring for orphans should include the church or the body of Christ. As a believer we can inspire others, friends and family, and church leadership to create and/or support ministries that care for orphans and/or support foster care/adoption.

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