An environment where it’s understood that while we’re not all called to do the same thing, we’re all certainly capable of doing something. That’s the goal. Everyone. Doing. Something.
If we’re not careful, we may unintentionally define caring for orphans and the vulnerable too narrowly – to simply mean foster care, adoption or some other form of bringing a child into your home long term. While these are of course crucial and essential places for the Church to engage, they represent only a few of the items on the buffet of limitless opportunities available for people to get involved. The truth is that not everyone is called to foster or adopt. As a matter of fact, most people in the Church won’t ever bring a child into their home for any extended period of time. But this does not mean they, and the Church as a whole, don’t have an essential and necessary role to play in caring for these kids by supporting the families who do.
If people in your church are only hearing it’s about adoption, then the many that are not considering adoption but still have a heart to be involved won’t engage. If people are only hearing it’s about foster care, then those who aren’t able to foster but are still passionate about being involved will feel like there’s no place for them to really make an impact. Our message must be clear, broad and helpful – from the single college student to the young family to the empty nester to the retiree – that we all don’t have to do the same thing, but we can all certainly do something. If it’s too narrow we effectively communicate that the majority of our people have no essential role to play in this, if any at all, which is certainly not the case.
Jason Johnson is a foster and adoptive father and a regular writer and speaker on orphan care related issues. He has 13 years of pastoral ministry experience including planting a church in 2008. He is the author of ALL IN Orphan Care and currently leads the National Church Mobilization Initiative with Christian Alliance for Orphans. He has a deep passion to see a movement of orphan care be mobilized and sustained within the Church.