I have had such a burden on my heart.
It’s impossible to travel overseas…
…see the conditions precious children are living in…
…and walk away feeling like you haven’t failed every single one you are leaving behind.
It’s one of the toughest parts of adoption. I look at my six adopted children and my heart is so absolutely thankful that they are here with us. But I ache for the ones we left behind. Knowing where they are changes everything.
Yes, adoption truly does make a difference in the lives of children (and every Christian should prayerfully ask the Father if they are to adopt or foster–and yes, sometimes the answer is no because not everyone is called to do it!), but let’s be realistic for a minute.
We live in a fallen world. That means that no matter how hard we try, no matter how desperately we advocate, there will always be orphans…until that glorious day that Jesus returns to the earth to make all things right. Goodness, I cannot wait for that day!
Since coming back from Bulgaria, I have been thinking about this so much. The burden on my heart is so, so heavy.
A song from Casting Crowns has played over and over in my mind over the past few days.
“But if we are the body,
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?”
Where is the church?
Out of curiosity, last week I asked my friends on Facebook how many of their churches had an orphan ministry.
I cried reading some of the responses. Many said no. Some said that their churches were not even open to the idea of having an orphan ministry.
Oh, God in heaven!
How can it be that our churches are consumed with every ministry under heaven and earth–craft ministries, motorcycle ministries, old people ministries, young people ministries, men’s breakfasts and women’s breakfasts, every kind of social gathering known to man–but NOTHING to do with the requirement God gave us to care for the orphan!?
It seriously breaks my heart.
Now before I get hate mail, I am not for one single second saying that all those other ministries don’t have a place in the body of Christ. Of course they do! We’re created to live in community with others and church ministries are a fabulous way for believers to spend time loving on one another and encouraging one another. It’s a good thing!
What’s sad to me is that all those ministries so often seem to take preference over “caring for the fatherless” which we are told to do in the book of James. Plus, we consume ourselves with building funds, more comfortable chairs to sit on each Sunday (when the ones we already have are quite fine!), new equipment in the church kitchen, and a remodeled foyer…
When today nearly 30,000 people will die of extreme poverty. And we won’t hear a single word about it.
Today more than 160 million orphans will live in appalling, filthy conditions and go to bed hungry [again]. And we won’t hear a single word about that either.
“But if we are the body…..”
I have said it so many times here on my blog, and today I will say it again…
The world is not called to care for the orphan! God never told those who do not walk in His ways that caring for the fatherless is pure religion. He gave the job to US…those of us who confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He commanded us to care.
By going to nations across the globe and giving of our time to little children who would desperately love someone to come and love on them or play a game of soccer with them.
By giving financially to those who have stepped out in faith to bring children home and are trusting for every penny they need to pay the ransom.
By supporting adoptive and foster parents–making a meal, babysitting so that mom and dad can have a date night, taking the kids on a fun day out. Anything!
By supporting missionaries who have answered the call to go and are living in faraway lands taking care of God’s precious abandoned children.
By sponsoring a child through World Vision or Compassion International.
By starting a ministry specifically to people who have special needs in your faith community. I recently read my friend and fellow adoptive mom-to-many-children-with-needs, Meredith Cornish’s, thoughts on this issue and it totally brought tears to my eyes. We get it! We understand how hard it is to find a Church where our children are catered to. It’s a terribly lonely place as a parent. Sadly, too many parents like us find themselves in a position where it is just easier to stay at home. It’s sad, really–a desperate need.
There are so many ways to care, to help, to serve, and to love.
But it has to begin with us–the bride of Christ–His hands and feet on the earth!
The glorious church.
It has to start with you and me.
What if we all did SOMETHING to make a small difference in the humanitarian crisis that is the orphan problem in the world today?
What if God was calling you to start an orphan care ministry in your own church? I know that so many people sit in the churches that do not have any ministry to orphans and they wonder, “Should we start one?” “Could we pull it off?”
You know what? That may just be GOD planting a seed in your heart.
Don’t wait for God to move on someone else’s heart when He has already put it on yours!
The question that many ask is, “How?”
“How do we start a ministry in our church?”
“Where do we find resources?”
It’s hard to know where to find resources, information, and support about starting an orphan ministry. So to make things easier for those who are looking for the right resources and a place to start, I thought I would open this post up to those of you who already have a vibrant orphan ministry in your church and know of church resources which would benefit the many who have it on their hearts to get one happening in their congregations but need a helping hand in starting a ministry.
I hope that this will become a great resource to those who so desperately long to get something happening in their churches but perhaps just don’t know where to start. I hope it will be a place to connect.
Can you even imagine the profound difference we could make if every single church in this country did something to care for orphans? We may not be able to rescue 163 million orphans and bring them into loving families, but we sure can do our best to make a difference in the life of one at a time.
If your church has an amazing orphan ministry, please go ahead and add your website (the adoption page) to the linky below. That way those who have it on their hearts can go and read about what you do and how you do it. Also, if you know of a ministry that helps churches start orphan ministries by supplying resources and by giving support, please add the link below too. Please add any ministry that you believe will assist churches in their mission to establish an orphan care ministry in their congregations. Please also feel free to leave your ideas/experiences in church orphan care ministries in the comments.
If you are reading this on Facebook and have a resource/idea to share, would you please leave your comment on this blog post and not on FB–I know that many who read here are not on FB and may love to read your thoughts on this subject. Thanks!