By Neisha Roberts, (un)adopted® Coordinator
It’s easy to read “153 million orphans worldwide” and pass right over it. But the reality is, that’s 153 million individual orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) that could grow up without ever hearing the gospel. That’s an epidemic. An epidemic that no one human tactic can heal.
As believers, we know God calls us to care for the orphan (James 1:27). But, what are some tangible ways to do that?
Garth Thorpe, who previously served as (un)adopted’s education manager, said, “Far too often we look to motivate care for orphans with exhortations, but really it should be the other way around. . . . We must first announce the victory found in the gospel and then through this new identity in Christ we will see how these opportunities fit with God’s heart in the first place.”
It is through the gospel that we are called and emboldened to serve OVC.
But, it’s not by our own strength. We serve because we are children of God. We’re created in His image with the skills to care for the fatherless, Garth said.
So, where are places we can use these skills God has equipped us with?
The best place to start is the local church.
The Church is not a man-made strategy—it is God’s plan from the beginning (Ephesians 3:10-11). The Church plays a pivotal role in reaching OVC, so as you think through ways you can serve them, start with the Church.
Your church may or may not have an orphan care ministry but you can be a part of advocacy. Lifeline provides many resources that you and your church can utilize in serving orphans worldwide.
- Mission Kid — a missions compliment to your camp, Backyard Bible Club, or other summer ministry program
- Stand for Orphans — an initiative created by kids and for kids to benefit the work of Lifeline
- R(un) for One — a 5K event to help raise funds for (un)adopted partners around the world who daily make an impact on OVC
- Lifeline advocate — email us for more information on becoming a Lifeline advocate.
In addition to partnering with your church, here are four more tangible ways to get you started in serving OVC:
Pray. Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do, and yet it often feels “not enough.” We must remember that God is the God who saves and that we have direct access to Him.
- Pray that your own heart would be molded to what He cares for. Pray that your eyes would be opened to the orphan crisis.
- You can pray for the world alongside Lifeline Children’s Services!
Give. Finding a Christ-centered ministry to give through, either in your own church or a resource like Lifeline, is a practical way to help serve OVCs.
- Sponsoring a child through a local church program is another way to make an immediate impact on an orphan’s life. Homes like Developing Hope in Pakistan provide the only safe haven for OVC girls in its city of millions. The home gives the girls a place to stay, nourishing food, education, health care, and most importantly, they are hearing the gospel and starting a relationship with their Savior. See the children you can sponsor through (un)adopted in Pakistan or Uganda!
Go. Going to serve alongside a local church that is working in orphan care is one way to taste, see, touch, and interact with orphan care. Learning happens best when it’s experiential, Garth said, so experiencing the work first-hand helps you better understand and advocate for the orphan.
- Learn about trip opportunities with (un)adopted coming up in 2018.
Advocate. Having seen and experienced orphan care first-hand, you can more clearly share and advocate. This ties back to the gospel, Garth said, “When the gospel reaches our hearts, we can’t help but share it with other people. . . . In a similar way, when we have seen the need of these children, we have to be a part of sharing it with others, so that the gospel can go forth to unreached OVC.”
Beyond all of these physical ideas, “we must understand that we are not the hero of the story,” Garth said. “Before the dawn of time God purposed Christ to be the Savior of the world. He’s the true Hero.”
We just get to be a part of His story. Join us in His story.