My Church and Orphan Care
Where do I start?
Everyone is talking about a foster care ministry, an adoption ministry, or orphan care. It’s become a hot topic, even outside of the Church. We are seeing it saturate American culture through celebrity stories, TV, and movies. But the truth is, “Adoption and orphan care aren’t new ideas; they’re Biblical ideas” (Orphanology, Tony Merida & Rick Morton). We know this, but it can still be overwhelming to know how to help. No matter what has brought you to the proverbial orphan care table–a passionate church patron, a foster parent you know, a conference speaker, a Google search, or a good read–it can be tricky to know where to start.
Look no further, because we are here to be your guide. Your three easy steps to getting started are to (1) pray, (2) learn, and (3) share.
PRAYER should be our first response, not our last resort. It can get a bad rap for seeming like a cop-out, but prayer changes things! Every great move of God begins with prayer. Backyard Orphans has published a prayer guide so you can begin praying for the foster care system in your community!
LEARN what God’s Word has to say about orphan care! Check out books like Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore that dive into the theology of adoption and meditate on Scriptures that reveal God’s heart for the orphan. Here are a few to get you started!
- Proverbs 31:8
- James 1:27
- Romans 8:15-17
- Isaiah 1:17
- Micah 6:8
- Psalm 68:5-6
- Exodus 2:10
SHARE what you’ve learned with others! Free resources have been created to make sharing easy. One such resource is called ReMoved. It’s a short film that portrays the plight of modern-day orphans in our own backyard. Other free resources can be found here on our website. If you’re not sure who to share with, start at the top with your lead pastor. Healthy ministries are communicated from the pulpit and implemented from the pews.
When do I start?
We talk to a lot of pastors and a hesitation they often share is timing. When is a good time to launch a new ministry? Churches may fear that they’re too small, too rural, too urban, too old, or too young to do orphan care! The truth is that every church can’t do the same thing, but every church can do something to care for orphans. There are children right now, in your backyard, in need of families. So, when do you start? Now!
The degree to which you start, however, is dependent on a few things:
- Is your church open to stepping out of comfort and into chaos to help others?
- Is your church accepting of multi-racial homes? We sing about “red and yellow, black and white,” but is your church ready to live that out?
- Does your church have healthy support systems through small groups, care ministries, or both?
- Is your church leadership on board?
- Are all church department heads onboard?
- Do you have a paid or volunteer point person to lead the ministry?
If you answered “yes” to those questions, then let’s get started! If you’re unsure, we can help! Use our free church assessment as a thermometer. It will help you to gauge the readiness of your congregation.
What is the need?
How do you start an orphan care ministry? Start small. Start slow. Start simple. We know, that’s easier said than done. Here are some questions to get your wheels turning!
- What is the need?
Talk to your local child welfare about the needs in your community. Use the continuum of orphan care grid as a reference during the conversation. Asking the right questions will do two things. First, it will begin to break down any barriers between the local Church and local child welfare. Second, it will give you insight into your own backyard and how you can help. Click here for more information about the orphan care grid.
- What do we already have?
Take a look at the current programs in your church. Can any of those programs be easily adapted to meet the needs you learned about by talking to child welfare? Maybe you already have parenting classes or addiction recovery classes that could be offered to biological, foster, and adoptive parents. Maybe you already have clothing closets and feeding programs that could be used to aid at-risk families. Maybe you could offer your church’s facility to child welfare to be used for supervised visits or foster care classes. Look at what you already have and brainstorm how a simple tweek could make it applicable to orphan care.
- Who do we already have?
You may not know it, but you probably have people in your church who are (1) currently fostering or have adopted or (2) would be interested in getting involved if the church offered something. Use our free church assessment to find out who you have in your congregation.
No matter where you are in the orphan care process, we are here to help. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by how much you don’t know, or maybe you’re confused about which step to take next. That’s okay! Our team is a guide, and we exist to bridge the gap of misunderstanding and help people get involved. We want you to walk confidently as you lead your church in orphan care. Our workshops are designed to walk you through the process step-by-step. Or if you’re not ready for that, we can schedule an appointment to meet face-to-face via video. You are not alone. Together, we see a day where there are more families waiting for children than children waiting for families!
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