God describes what a faith-filled life looks like in James 1:27.
It says, “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
As a church body, the question isn’t, “Should we care for orphans?”
But rather, the question is, “How do we meaningfully step into their needs?”
The Church is uniquely equipped with different gifts and passions that can be used to serve others. Every person might not receive the call to adopt, but every person is able to find ways to support those who do.
Here are some ways your church can answer the call of James 1:27:
Whether you’re a small group leader,pastor, or church member—you have a platform to share God’s heart for children. You can talk about the importance of caring for orphans with your church and open the discussion about how you might individually and collectively do more.
Research local adoption and foster care agencies and provide your congregation with information and resources. Educate your church on the reality of the orphan crisis and ignite the spark that leads people to act. Find out who in your church is considering or interested in adoption or foster care and find ways to support them along the way.
It may seem simple, but prayer is a powerful way to care for waiting children. Pray on behalf of children who are vulnerable, that their immediate needs would be met and that they would come to know the love and protection of a family.
You can also ask families who are involved in foster care or the adoption journey to share their specific prayer requests so that you can pray more directly for their needs.Whether it’s through a prayer chain with friends or a Sunday morning service, bring those requests before the Father.
When a family begins the adoption process, they embark on a lifelong journey, filled with both joys and difficulties. Your continued encouragement is a valuable form of support. Rejoice with them during the joyful times and cry with them during the hard times. Send them notes of encouragement and remind them that they are not alone in the journey.
Consider how you can use your resources as a church to care for families built through adoption. You can host a fundraiser to help the families financially, or set up a calendar to have volunteers provide meals. Allow the families time to share their stories with the congregation, either during a regular service or special event. Look for ways you can use your time, money, and resources as a church body to serve these families in ways that would both encourage and strengthen them.
It’s often easy to get caught up in helping people based on own ideas of what might help rather than to ask what they really need. Take the time to listen to the needs and concerns of the families you seek to serve. Maybe they need someone to take care of their yard work, to babysit, or to feed their pets while they are away. Make the church a place where they feel understood, heard, supported, and loved.