Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress… James 1:27 (NLT).
Right off the bat, Jesus’ little brother James reminds us that we are a people called to defend the fatherless and to care for the child who has no family. Orphan Sunday is a way to remind ourselves of that calling. This year’s Orphan Sunday is November 12, and The Wesleyan Church has identified the day as a special emphasis that is worthy of denomination-wide observance.
How can you live up to this call? Here are seven simple ways every believer can start:
- Build an adoption culture
It’s the “Intangibles” that make for a culture of welcome and hospitality. People of every age can become family — moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas, brothers and sisters — to adopted and fostered children. Create a culture of adoption by loving on your family in Christ!
- Become wrap-around supports
Practical aid from the church community can be hugely helpful—and encouraging!—to foster and adoptive families. Consider household chores and yard work, shopping, or babysitting so mom and dad can go out on a date! If your church doesn’t have an organized ministry, don’t be put off. Find out what families need and do it! Ultimately, you may want to create a formal “Foster/Adoption Support Ministry” with a few others.
- Start mentoring
A consistent, caring adult presence can make a profound difference for any child, especially one who has bounced from home to home in foster care. Young adults who are aging out of care also greatly need caring older friends and a place to spend the holidays. Many communities have mentoring programs, and groups like The Mentoring Project or the Christian Association of Youth Mentors can help churches establish their own.
- Use those skills
You have a skill that you’ve perfected over the years. Put that skill to use! From haircuts to orthodontics to car repair, you can use your skills to give a gift of love to a foster child, home or adoptive family.
- Donate your birthday
Rather than gifts, ask your family and friends to give to fund a trusted adoption or foster organization, nearby or globally. Funds help fuel the mission. You can find a list of trustworthy organizations by visiting Christian Alliance for Orphans.
- Plan a service emphasis
Contact a local group home or connect with a foster family in your community. Ask what you can do to serve. Plan a church work day or a donation drive to bless that family or group. Make it a celebration!
- Be an advocate for Orphan Sunday
Help your church join in the worldwide celebration of God’s love for orphans. Cast the vision showing that ordinary people can make a difference. Any church can participate—from a showing a short video or prayer for orphans during a church service, to a foster care “Heart Gallery” in the foyer, to a community-wide concert. You can find event ideas, free resources and more on the Christian Alliance for Orphans website.
Adapted from a resource on the CAFO website.