By Andy Lehman, Vice-President of Lifesong for Orphans
Imagine church orphan ministries that intentionally go out of their way to give away their experience, articles, videos, strategies, presentations, finances, time and volunteer staff – so that other churches, other orphan ministries, and families can be more effective!
For example, one challenging reality is that there are always more families seeking funds to help complete their adoption than funds typically available. What if Church Adoption Funds across the country had a paradigm shift? Instead of thinking only about our own churches and families, what if we sought to mobilize and utilize funds to help the most children and families as soon as possible? Certainly, establishing adoption assistance for families in your church is a great thing. But if we can mobilize more dollars, to serve more children and enable more families with real financial needs to pursue God’s calling in their lives – seems to me that may an even better thing.
Its excited to see this Kingdom-minded concept actually being lived out in church orphan ministries in a variety of ways. Here are just a few examples:
Louisville Orphan Care Initiative (LOCI) has created an Adoption Fund to help remove the financial barriers of adoption costs (adoption grants & loans), for Christian couples in the Louisville area. This fund was originated by some key orphan advocates at Southeast Christian Church. Since then it has expanded to come alongside Christian adoptive couples regardless of which church they attend. LOCI is living out this open handed abundance mentality to financially bless Christian families from various churches throughout their community. Not only that, LOCI also shares its knowledge, experience and vision with other churches desiring to start an orphan ministry – helping church ministries create websites, develop better government contacts/relationships in the foster care system as well as establish their own Church Adoption Fund.
Tapestry Adoption & Foster Ministry at Irving Bible Church has also created a modest sized Adoption Fund (grants & loans) with the expressed purpose of not only offering financial assistance to families/members of IBC, but being Kingdom-minded to serve Christian families from other churches as well. Like LOCI, Tapestry is also intent on being open handed with what God has blessed them with, sharing a vast array of stories, articles, videos and audio resources (free of charge) through DFW Alliance, Empowered to Connect and Tapestry sites.
As we look around we see this approach to ministry more and more:
No doubt this type of ministry approach has its share of challenges. After all, ministry itself can be quite messy. But the responsibility and privilege of standing up for vulnerable and orphan children is simply too great to allow our man-made limitations and boundaries to hold us back. After all, church is not a building, and church orphan ministries can be bigger than just my church. Scripture is clear – God desires that we be the (one) Body of Christ accomplishing what He has called us to.
So let me just put this challenge before you, even as I’ve been challenged: consider how you and your church orphan ministry can best share your most precious resources with others who need it most.