A pastor’s perspective on orphan care and the church
I am one of the pastors of Grace Baptist Church in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. My wife and I have eight children—three born to us and five who are either adopted or in the process of being adopted. They span from age 7 to 20.
Our life is crazy, but good, so good! My wife is awesome and my children are a joy!
As individual believers, but also as the church, we have a responsibility and opportunity to take care of the fatherless. God tells us in the Old Testament (Psalm 68) that He has a special place in His heart for those who need parents, that He is the Father to the fatherless.
And in the New Testament book of James, we read that is what “true religion is”: To care for those who cannot care for themselves, orphans. So I ask, “What is your church doing?” and “What are you doing?”
Let me also suggest a few potential action steps.
1. Pray – Pray for your church and its leaders. Pray that they have wisdom in how to care for “orphans.” Pray for those you know who are either displaced children or those who minister to them through foster care and adoption. Pray that God may give you direction in how you can be involved.
2. Ask – Ask what you can do in the church to care for those who are in your sphere of influence. Ask your church leaders if there is something more you could be doing as a church. Come to them willing to be a part of the solution. An easy thing to do is to participate in National Orphan Sunday. It is usually on Veterans Day weekend and, this year, falls on Nov. 19. (You can certainly focus on the subject another day; last year we had a pair of shoes up front on the platform for every million orphans in the world.)
In the past at our church, we have had people give testimonies and also had focused times of prayer in our services. This year, we will be making some prayer cards for our people to pray for waiting kids, from adoptpakids.org. It will be in the bulletin, so that people can pray for them throughout the next year.
We also have had different representatives from adoption organizations set up a table to answer questions and provide information
There is much that can be done! Currently, we as a church are providing a diaper subscription to a family who just took in two children in diapers. Again, ask—ask what you and your church can do.
3. Get Involved – Let me encourage you by noting that you don’t have to be perfect to get involved. God can use you right where you are. Not all are called to adopt, but we can all care and become involved at some level. I once heard a statistic that if each church would adopt one child in the U.S., that step would take care of all of the waiting children in the country. There are about 400,000 children in foster care or needing a permanent family—and about 400,000 churches. Obviously, the solution is not as simple as that, but you get the point.
We could all become involved and do a little more to make a big difference. What are you willing to do?