The Willow Creek Association Blog today carries a post on what changes when a church starts to engage for orphans and foster youth. Here’s how it starts:
Flood. Ice. Fire. They can alter a landscape profoundly. That kind of change happens, too, when a church community begins to mirror God’s love for orphans.
Adoption. Foster care. Mentoring. Support of orphans worldwide. Expressions of love for orphans are about justice and mercy, to be sure. But they’re also more. Loving orphans can deepen discipleship and proclaim the Gospel like little else can do.
In fact, when a church embraces orphans, no one remains the same. Here are five big things that change as we do.
1. Children Change. When a neglected child begins to experience love, even the pathways of her brain begins to change. These EEG images show that vividly. On the left is the brain of a child in an orphanage with little caregiver attention. The other – which glows with neural activity – is a child cared for in a family. (Source: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience).
2. Families Change. A friend who helps Arkansas churches engage in foster care remarked to me, “I see those children change. I see the families change even more.” This is true for all who welcome hurting children into their “personal space” – whether via mentoring, Safe Families, adoption or otherwise.
An adoptive father with three biological sons expressed it this way: “I’ve been in church all my life, taught Sunday School and all that; tried to raise our sons to be godly men, but the act of adoption and what has followed has impacted our sons for the Lord more than anything we’ve ever done. It really has been a profound experience of the Gospel for each of them, and for us.”
See the full post: Five Things that Change When a Church Embraces Orphans and Foster Youth.