I wrote previously about aiming to create a culture of adoption in your church as opposed to just another ministry or program. Below are some practical things that you can do to nurture an adoption/orphan care culture in your church.
- Get together as adoptive families. If you have more than one adoptive family in your church you are already ahead of the game. You may be the start to a great movement in your church. Find one another and meet for fellowship, encouragement, and prayer.
- Preach on and speak about adoption and orphan care. Start with the gospel and move outwards to the implications on our lives. If you are not in leadership, pray for and encourage your church leadership to speak about adoption and orphan care. If they seem reluctant at first, don’t pressure them but be patient. Here are two articles – 10 Ways to Pastor Adoptive Parents and Those Considering Adoption & What to do When Church Leaders Don’t “Get it”
- Help others with creative ways they can care for orphans. Your story and experience will be the best resource they have. Not everyone is called to adopt but everyone is called to care for orphans in some way. It may be through prayer, foster care, respite care, giving financially, babysitting, orphan sponsorship, or serving on a mission trip.
- Provide financial assistance to families considering adoption. For so many couples the number one obstacle to moving forward with adoption is the cost. By providing even a small amount of financial assistance churches take part in opening the doors of faith for families to adopt. I have seen this as a catalyst which has led to many adoptions over the years in one church which has led to the creation of a distinct adoption culture. Click here to find out how you can establish a local church adoption fund.
I’ve had a quote on the tip of my tongue this whole week and it’s been killing me. Yesterday, I finally found it in a Tim Keller sermon I listened to the other month.
Here it is quickly transcribed:
Julian, the last Roman emperor, tried to revive paganism, he built temples and spruced them up but Christianity was spreading faster than he could compete with. In the midst of this, he wrote to a friend, a pagan priest:
“Nothing has contributed to the progress of the superstition of these Christians as their charity to strangers, the impious Galileans provide not only for their own poor but for ours as well.”
The early Christians were promiscuous with their charity.
I love that last line of commentary by Keller! Oh that the world would have reason to accuse us of the same today!
My plan was a nice relaxing Saturday night, laying on the couch with my wife, popcorn in hand, and a good movie to entertain us. I had forgotten which movie we had waiting for us in the Blockbuster-by-mail envelope and put in God Bless the Child. I was not prepared. What I saw floored me, humbled me, and in many ways broke me and is breaking me still.
The basic story follows a single mother who struggles without a job and a home with a young child. She is forced to rely upon welfare and sleep in shelters. She is a woman who has all the desire and ability to work but due to circumstances is brought into poverty. It is often overlooked that there are many factors that lead people into poverty. We often think of it being the sole fault of the individual; their irresponsibility and abuse of drugs or alcohol. This movie introduces the viewer to the other face of poverty – that of families and children, many of whom are working as hard as they can to climb out. In one memorable scene a social worker describes poverty as a “disease” that grabs hold of folks and beats them down until they loose all hope. This movie brought to light, in a way I have never seen before, the awful downward spiral that folks find themselves in.
The most heart-breaking part of the movie though, for my wife and I, was watching this mother make the difficult choice of whether her only child whom she loved more than anything should remain with her on the streets, in rat-infested apartments, and in shelters, after friends and family can’t help them out anymore.
This brought to mind the situations that our birthmothers faced in choosing to place their children for adoption. I can’t express the emotions that I feel. I have a new respect and a new brokenness over what they went through in making that decision. We are praying for them with fresh awareness and love and respect. I am also praying more specifically about what it looks like for the church to care for mothers before they come to this place and for the poor in my community.