What is Biblical Orphan Care?
The One Thing the Entire World can Agree On is Helping Kids…
Children can be a great unifier. Whether it’s divorced parents or opposing political parties, we often see people coming together “for the sake of the children.” No matter how divided our society becomes, helping children will be something on which we can all agree!
There are over 140 million orphans in the world who need us to come together for their sake. 140 million orphans whom God mandates the Church to look after. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father says is pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unpolluted by the world.” How will we respond?
Our prayer is that cities, states, and nations will band together to help the orphaned kids in their own “backyard!” In the words of Nelson Mandela, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Speak up for children by following and reposting our online posts about children in foster care or that need to be adopted.
Who is an Orphan?
Who do you think of when you hear the word orphan? Do you imagine yourself boarding a plane, landing on warm, desert terrain, and hitching a ride in a Jeep to the nearest village? Do you picture shirtless children with bloated bellies? Do their sweet and beautiful faces compel you? Of course! There are 140 million orphans in the world, many of whom greatly resemble that description. God knows each by name, and we are mandated to do something.
However, if that was the only picture that came to your mind, we’re here to expand it. We no longer have to fly over kids to reach kids. There are “orphans” in our own backyard who are unintentionally disguised. They go to school with our kids, attend our church, live in our neighborhood, and we’re often unaware. They don’t all fit in a dictionary definition of orphan. Still, they absolutely match the Biblical definition of orphan that we read about throughout Scripture! Fatherless. Lonely. Destitute.
Merriam-Webster defines an orphan as one whose parents are deceased, but the word orphan is much more vast. There are paternal orphans whose father has died and maternal orphans whose mother has died. There are single orphans who have one parent that has abandoned them or has passed away, and there are double orphans whose parents have abandoned them or passed away. We also know that hundreds of thousands of kids are temporarily removed from their biological parents through the foster care system. The Biblical understanding of an orphan, which is fatherless or parentless, includes all of these individuals.
The idea here is that we approach orphan care by principle and not a direct definition of the word. When we do, we see clearly that it is our responsibility to help the 3.5 million U.S. children who were involved in an investigation of being abused, abandoned, or neglected, as reported by the Casey Foundation. We see vulnerable children in need of a family and we can’t help but do something about it! Because that’s what God did for us! “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).
The Church is Mandated to Care for the Orphan
Mandates, simply stated, are commissions to do something. As it stands, the government is mandated by law to care for kids who need a family. However, legislation has the potential to change as leaders shift and nations evolve. What never changes is our Biblical mandate to care for orphans.
We believe the Church is the solution to the orphan and foster care crisis. “God places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:5-6), and He uses us in the process. By saying the Church is the solution, we are by no means saying the Church is the savior. No, Jesus Christ is the Savior. We simply get to be the bridge that brings His hope and love to hurting children and broken families. 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God has called us to be His ambassadors in reconciliation, reconciling people to God and to each other.
There are thousands of churches and organizations around the globe doing fantastic work in orphan care! All have varying approaches to it. Our approach is an indigenous effort. We believe, with the help of local churches, Africa can reach Africa’s kids, Guatemala can reach Guatemala’s kids, and the United States can reach the United States’ kids. Historically, the Church has flown over kids to reach kids, yet there are children in our own backyard in need of families. In Acts 1:8, God has told us to reach our “Jerusalem” first. And we won’t stop until every hurting child has found a healing home!
While we are committed to the mandate, our motivation transcends it. Orphan care isn’t easy, but we do it joyfully because we ourselves have experienced the hope of adoption (Romans 8:15)! We were lonely and destitute when God, through Jesus Christ, brought us into His family. We became sons and daughters and were given an inheritance! So this mandate, this “pure religion” James talks about, is merely taking the unmerited love we have received and giving it to the world!
Want to chat about what your church can do to fulfill the mandate to care for orphans? Click the button to schedule a call with us!
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Adopted for Life by Russell Moore.