Stories are redemptive. They humanize powerful messages and help people personally internalize transformative things through the lenses of someone else's experience. It's important that your foster care, adoption and orphan care ministry is consistently sharing stories of how God is moving in the lives of families in your church. It's even more important that your use of stories is helping, and not unintentionally hurting, the broader vision of your ministry. When using stories – whether video, print or live interview style – to undergird the vision and mission of your ministry, ensure they are reinforcing your message and deconstructing false paradigms of your people.
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gospel-centered orphan care
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading this post that foster care is hard. No one ever said become foster parents, it's super convenient and easy. Rather, the call to foster care is one which embraces the inherent inconveniences and inevitable difficulties as worth it for the sake of redeeming that which is broken and offering light into that which can be very, very dark.
While orphan care undoubtedly involves changing the life of a child, it inevitably brings about significant and profound change in our own lives as well. For whatever change we may bring about for them, they will no doubt change us in ways we never knew possible.
I'm often asked questions like these: What is the best way to motivate people to get involved with orphan care? How do we recruit more foster families? Are there things we can do to get our church more involved? All good questions that are hard to answer - or maybe not. At the expense of sounding overly simplistic or theologically unrealistic, I can't help but believe the answer to these questions, and the many others like them, is not necessarily what we often assume it to be.
While I am incredibly grateful to see a movement towards orphan care well up within the evangelical church in unprecedented ways, I am equally concerned that the rate of growth in zeal may at some point outpace the depth of wisdom we have in how to most appropriately respond to the crisis before us. In the end, if our passion for orphans exceeds our understanding of how to truly serve them, we will do more harm in the cause than we will good.
As Christians we are called to love and serve God with every aspect of our being. In Mark 12:30 Jesus quotes an Old Testament commandment when He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Orphan care is not a distinctively Christian cause. Similar to feeding the homeless, bringing clean water to those who do not have access or any other number of humanitarian and justice related efforts all around the world, Christians and non-Christians have a mutual interest and shared passion on many issues.
My work with The Arrow Foundation involves engaging churches nationwide with resources to equip and mobilize the people of God to care for abused, neglected and orphaned children. Our mission is to see the Church go "All IN" for the cause of fostering, adopting and providing alternative forms of care for those whom God the Father is uniquely concerned - the orphan.
When I was nine years old I learned that the man I had grown up knowing as Dad was actually not my biological father. While this naturally produced many questions in me, it certainly answered one that had always confused me - "Why do I look nothing like my dad?" Now, I knew why.
There are certain things in churches we can create that people will participate in - i.e. worship services, pot-luck dinners, small groups, children's ministries and basketball leagues. Whether God is in those activities or not is irrelevant to our ability to implement them and expect participation. Of course, the hope is that God is in them, and that lives are changed as a result of them.