God clearly outlines our call to care for children who have been orphaned in James 1:27, “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.”
As a local church, the question isn’t, “Should we care for orphans?” Rather, the question is, “How do we meaningfully step into their needs?”
We are all uniquely equipped with different gifts and passions that can be used to serve others. As our Co-founder Mary Beth Chapman often says, “Not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone can do something.”
Here are just a few ways your church can answer the call of James 1:27.
It may seem simple, but prayer is the first step in caring well for waiting children. Pray on behalf of children who have been orphaned—that their immediate needs would be met and that, ultimately, they would come to know the love, security, and permanency of a family.
For families within your church, who have been impacted by adoption and/or foster care, be intentional about lifting up their needs in prayer on a regular basis—perhaps it is weekly or even monthly. And be sure to ask how you can join them in prayer.
For specifics ways to pray for Show Hope, check out our “How You Can Join Us in Prayer” blog post.
Lead Pause Campaign.
“Show Hope sees students as more than placeholders until they become adults.” Blair Benefield, a youth pastor in Knoxville, Tennessee, said. “Show Hope tells students ‘you matter now, and this actually may be the best time for you to make a difference.”
Show Hope’s current Student Initiative, Pause Campaign, leads high school and college students through a week of devotional content that educates them on the needs of orphans and mobilizes them to action—making an impact, today, in the lives and waiting children and loving families.
Host the Hope for the Journey Conference.
Formerly the Empowered to Connect Conference, Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey Conference seeks to shepherd and equip parents and caregivers meeting the everyday needs of children impacted by adoption and/or foster care.
While the conference is aimed at parents and caregivers, it serves as a valuable resource to churches and ministries seeking to support these children and families.
Launch a ministry or support network.
The adoption and/or foster care journey is not meant to be traveled alone. As a local church, you have the opportunity to come alongside children and families in service and support.
Recruit volunteers who can be on-call to help meet the everyday needs of adoptive and/or foster care families. It can be as simple as setting up a meal train for heavy, busy seasons of life or offering childcare for parents to have a night out for reconnecting.
Your church can also launch a support group of adoptive and/or foster care parents where they can lean on one another for wisdom or just a listening ear. The group could even walk through Bible studies or resources, like “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child” by Dr. Karyn Purvis with Michael and Amy Monroe, together and further community and connectedness.
Churches and faith communities also have a unique opportunity to show the tangible love of God to those most vulnerable in their communities by taking active steps to move along the Trauma Competency Continuum, developed in partnership between Show Hope and Empowered to Connect. When a church or faith community becomes trauma informed, they are making a commitment to pursue hope, healing, and restoration through implementing compassionate, supportive policies and practices.