The Local Church and Orphan Care

by | Jul 28, 2017 | The Gospel and the Church, Featured | 0 comments

In his book, Orphan Justice, Johnny Carr says, “To our God, taking care of orphans isn’t just a great idea. It’s critical. Why? Because every man, woman, boy, and girl—including orphaned and vulnerable children—has been created in God’s image and is precious to him.” As image bearers, we reflect God’s heart for orphans and vulnerable children through our compassion towards them. We show compassion as we pray, love, give, visit, disciple, advocate, and protect. Local churches must lead the way in caring for orphans if we are to show the world what our Heavenly Father is like. Imago Dei Church (IDC) in Raleigh, North Carolina is an excellent example of a local church that has created an orphan care culture within its body.

IDC and a Culture of Orphan Care

As with any movement within a local church, it starts with the leadership. IDC promotes a biblical view of orphan care regularly during their weekly, corporate worship time. The elders don’t wait for Orphan Sunday to remind the members that God is, the “father of the fatherless” (Ps. 68:5). Nor do they fail to emphasize James 1:27 which says, “religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (Jas. 1:27). Members are consistently taught who God is, what He loves, and how we reflect Him and His mission by making them our own.

The leadership at IDC aren’t only proclaiming that taking care of orphans is a command; they are modeling it for the congregation. If you look at several of their kitchen tables, you will see children from around the world who share their last names. Other leader’s homes have children receiving temporary care by being fostered. Some leaders are engaged in orphan care by financially helping others adopt. Members at IDC don’t just hear their pastors talk about orphan care; they witness it in their lives.

IDC and the Church’s Mission to Equip Members for Orphan Care

IDC elders have made caring for orphans and the oppressed an explicit part of the church’s strategy to equip its members to live as missionaries both locally and globally. This is reflected in the church’s financial resources and partnerships. IDC has an adoption fund that is contributed to weekly and then used to assist covenant members with the financial strains that an adoption brings. They work with Safe Families, a ministry that partners with local churches to temporarily care for vulnerable children. For global orphan care, they partner with 127 Worldwide, a nonprofit that partners with local leaders around the world who are caring for orphans and widows. Members are consistently encouraged to engage in orphan care through fostering, adopting, and supporting others who do.

Families at Imago Dei Church are welcoming orphans from their city and many international cities into their homes. Small groups serve families taking care of orphans through meals and childcare. Singles help couples raise money for adoption costs. Adults are partnering financially with 127 Worldwide to provide for and visit orphans around the globe. Adoptions are celebrated. Russell Moore says in his book, Adopted For Life, “When we adopt—and when we encourage a culture of adoption in our churches and communities—we’re picturing something that’s true about our God. We, like Jesus, see what our Father is doing and do likewise (John 5:19). And what our Father is doing, it turns out, is fighting for orphans, making them sons and daughters.”

Creating a Culture of Orphan Care in Your Church

What is the result of a local church that has created a culture of orphan care? IDC elder, Tony Merida, says in his book, Orphanology, “We have a dream of seeing hundreds of adopted children from around the globe in local churches. We can see adoptive families filled with children from all nations gathered together, as a little glimpse of heaven, smiling for photographs.” IDC is normalizing adoption culture for the next generation. Playdates represent the nations. Youth hang out with friends representing a variety of ethnicities. Members view justice seeking as ordinary and advocate for the vulnerable. The world witnesses this counter-cultural way of life and sees Christ among the congregation. Orphans as a result also are placed into Christ-loving families. Disciples of the Lord Jesus are made. All of this is for God’s glory.

Local churches seeking justice through engaging the orphan crisis with compassion and sacrifice will see a picture of heaven in its midst. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).” As God’s people obey God’s command to care for the vulnerable, we show the watching world what our Heavenly Father is like.

**For more information on how to create a culture of orphan care in your local church, read Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care by Tony Merida and Rick Morton.

Related Posts

The Beauty of Humility Found in Isaiah 55:8

The Beauty of Humility Found in Isaiah 55:8

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What does it mean that "my thoughts are not your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8)?” What you’ll hear in this episode The Context of Isaiah 55:8 The Meaning of Isaiah 55:8 How are God's thoughts and ways different. What...

Dousing the Fire

Dousing the Fire

We all carry something around with us; it lurks in our hearts and follows us closer than our shadows. It is hungry and wants to devour our lives, consuming everything good and leaving nothing behind but destruction. There can only be one thing that matches this...

Cosmic Redemption

Cosmic Redemption

Romans 8:19-22, “19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage...

The Beauty of Divine Simplicity in Cultural Complexity

The Beauty of Divine Simplicity in Cultural Complexity

While “it’s complicated” may sum up your relational status, it also sums up your cultural moment. The current waves of cultural conflict come from every direction: health pandemics and systemic racism, and political unrest and calls for social reform and space...

A Glance at John Owen’s Theology of Sin

A Glance at John Owen’s Theology of Sin

The present-day is a day where two extremities straddle the life of Christian churches. The first extremity is an overbearing focus on sin. Living in Romania, I have seen countless cases where sin has been the heaviest focus in a church (primarily in Pentecostal...

The Glory To Be Revealed

The Glory To Be Revealed

Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” We return to Romans 8 today and pick up our expositional study in verse 18. To set up today’s devotional, let us recall verse...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Local Church and Orphan Care - […] post first appeared on the site Servants of grace – click here to finish […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share43
Tweet40
Buffer1
Reddit
Email