Sunday, April 7, 2013

Orphan Justice

We have begun trying to get our orphan ministry at our church going and in order to do this, we were unsure of exactly where to start. We decided this year it would be important for us, as a couple, to attend Summit, an awesome two day conference on orphan care in Nashville, Tennesee on May 2 & 3.  Before we chickened out, we bought our tickets, signed up for the breakout sessions we wanted to attend, one of them was called "Orphan Justice in Local Church - Practical Ideas for Any Orphan Ministry" lead by a man named Johnny Carr. We are SO psyched to go and SO thankful for my sister and brother-in-law who are willing to watch our 4 kids (along with their 4!) while we're gone for 4 days!

Little did I know, just days after signing up for Summit and signing up for that breakout session, I would receive an e-mail from someone (not even related to Summit) asking if I'd review a book called Orphan Justice. By Johnny Carr! The same guy leading the breakout session we signed up for! I was pretty excited, said yes and patiently waited for them to send me a copy of the book in the mail. I spent the last couple weeks devouring every single word in this book...

Let me tell you, I've read all sorts of adoption/orphan books and none of them quite hit me like this one... It's raw. It's truthful and honest. And it's just downright convicting... Often times people love the idea of adoption, but they feel like adoption is not their calling. And that's ok! The thing I loved so much about this book is that it did not just leave you with conviction, making you ask "Well what can I do to help?" He gives you lots of practical ways where you CAN help.Where you CAN make a difference. In ways other than just adoption.

You see, while God commands the church to care for orphans, the Christian church is not doing enough. Johnny Carr states: 

"As an interest in orphan care and adoption ministry begin to sweep through the American church culture, we can't treat it like a one-week summer VBS. We need "Orphan-focused Sundays," but we also need far more - we need orphan-focused churches. Choosing to stand by and do nothing where we see justice suffering and evil is wrong. It is sin. We must take active steps to care for orphans. To do anything less is blatant disobedience." (pg. 20)

I couldn't agree more, which is why an orphan ministry is at the top of Michael's and I "to do" list. If our church, First Alliance Church of Port Charlotte, FL, is going to be a great church living for God, we need to be an orphan focused church as well. I had no idea just how great this book would be to help kick start some ideas for our future ministry.

As he continues throughout the book, he touches just about every topic possible in regards to orphans and orphan care:

Chapter 1: True Religion: Orphans and my family 
Chapter 2: We can’t handle the truth: Orphans and Human Trafficking 
Chapter 3: The Unseen Enemy: Orphans and HIV/Aids 
Chapter 4: Home Sweet Home: Orphans and Orphanages 
Chapter 5: The Prolem with Bootstraps: Orphans and Poverty 
Chapter 6: To Love Is to Risk: Orphans and Foster Care 
Chapter 7: A Change of Heart: Orphans and Racism 
Chapter 8: More than Sandwich Boards: Orphans and Abortion 
Chapter 9: Buildings vs. Children: Orphans and the Church 
Chapter 10: This is War: Orphans and Spiritual Warfare

This book is amazing for anyone wanting to learn more about orphan care. For families going through adoption, but feeling like adoption is NOT enough. For church pastors and ministry leaders wanting to help their church step up to God's call/command in James 1:27 "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." I encourage each and every one of you to get your hands on this book. It is one of the greatest books on how to care for orphans in so many ways!

You can order HERE.

And get other information and resources HERE.

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