I remember like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my Bible college class when God revealed to me a nugget of wisdom that I have practiced in every leadership role that God has called me to. It’s the principle of multiplication.
My professor was teaching from Exodus chapter 18. The story picked up after the freedom of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, the miraculous parting of the sea, and the provision of water, manna, and quail. Of course, there are great principles in those classic stories, but what the professor wanted to draw our attention to were a few profound words spoken by Jethro to his son-in-law, Moses.
Each day, Moses took his rightful seat as the judge before the Israelites. People surrounded him from dawn until dusk to seek God’s will regarding their problems and situations. Jethro asked Moses, “Why do you alone sit as judge?” He went on to advise, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (Exodus 18:17-18 NIV) He went on to encourage Moses to continue serving the people, but also to raise up God-fearing, trustworthy men to serve as officials over smaller groups of Israelites. “That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this…you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” (Exodus 18:23 NIV)
Unknowingly, Jethro developed the OG leadership structure! He introduced Moses to the principle of multiplication. Author and leadership expert, John Maxwell, said it this way, “There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”
If you want to reach more people, multiply yourself.
It has taken a lot of work and prayer to fine tune what multiplying leaders in orphan care looks like. There were no manuals or handbooks to guide our small team when we first began. We simply followed God’s lead every step of the way; and like the faithful God that He is, He illuminated the path at each turn.
Ten years ago, Assemblies of God pastor and network leader, Rick Dubose, invited us to equip the 600+ churches of the North Texas District. As we often refer to that season, we were building the plane as we flew it. Yet, God was faithful with our obedience; we saw hundreds of North Texas churches say “yes” to orphan care during that adventure! Now, God has asked us to multiply ourselves. Instead of equipping individual churches only, we have the opportunity to equip entire networks of churches!
Equipping networks provides a platform to reach many churches at a time, from dozens to hundreds. It is ministry multiplied! We present a proven, sustainable strategy that, when woven into the DNA of the network, establishes an orphan care culture that will outlast the current leadership.
We have seen great success in this network model throughout the country and beyond. We’ve had the privilege to serve networks of churches in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, Alaska, Indiana, New York, North Dakota, Southern New England, Northern New England, and even Guatemala!
What we’re finding is that regional, state, and national network leaders desire to lead their churches in orphan care. They feel the burden of the Biblical mandate, but are often overwhelmed by the process. Perhaps they don’t know where to start, how to form the critical partnerships necessary, or what the best practices are. It can be intimidating, but our team is ready to help!
In 2021, we started building a complex structure and detailed plan to help a network of 100 churches in New Mexico get involved in orphan care! After much prayer and preparation, the network ministry was launched and to our joy and excitement, 26 churches responded! Not only did they want to get involved in foster care and adoption, but they had a specific passion to help children in tribal communities and those affected by the border crisis! We were blown away by the great response within the network. We have had the opportunity to train a team of pastors in New Mexico, and they are now leading their own churches and others within the network into orphan care. It is ministry multiplied! The network leader, Mike Dickinson said, “We are ONE TEAM for orphan care, and it never would have happened without you and your team. We are forever grateful and look forward to the journey ahead.” Can you imagine if all networks and denominations of churches were as passionate as Mike in getting their churches involved in foster care, adoption, and orphan care? We could truly see a day when there are more families waiting for children than children waiting for families!
Could your network be next? If you are a network leader or know one who might be interested in orphan care, visit network.backyardorphans.org for more information.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
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