10 Ideas: Ministering to Orphans
FamilyLife’s Hope for Orphans
Today there are an estimated 143 million children who are orphans or are in a foster care system. Yes, it’s a big number. And it can be difficult to know how one person can make a dent in a reality so daunting. However, one Christian—every Christian—can make a difference. There are many things you can do on behalf of the orphan. Here are ten to consider:
1. Plead with the Father for them.
Pray while waiting. Go online to find a listing of children who are waiting for a home (www.adoptuskids.org or www.rainbowkids.com). Print out a picture and description of a child and tape it to your dashboard. Every time you find yourself waiting—in traffic, at a stoplight, in the drive-through—pray for this child. Plead with the Father on his or her behalf.
Pray as a family. Cut and paste a picture of a child who needs a home to make bookmarks for your entire family. Commit as a family to pray for this child every time you open your book.
Pray as a church. Organize an evening prayer vigil on behalf of orphans and waiting children. Invite other churches to join you as well. You can pray for children all over the world or you can ask your local foster care office for pictures and names of children in your city to pray for.
2. Speak up for them.
In your wallet or purse, keep a picture of a child who needs a home. When you are visiting with other believers, pull out the picture and ask if they, or someone they know, would give this child a home.
Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate. These are people from all walks of life who volunteer their time to get to know children in foster care and speak to the court on their behalf. Visit www.nationalcasa.org for more details and to find an office near you.
3. Give them what they need.
Give an orphanage a washing machine, a crib, or a package of diapers. You can designate financial gifts to be used for an item of your choice to be given to an orphanage in the country of your choice. To learn more visit www.helporphans.org and click on the “Gift from the Heart” link in the slide show at the top of the page.
Organize a drive to collect school supplies or shoes in your church or Sunday school department. To learn more visit www.gainusa.org (click on “Projects”) or www.shoesfororphansouls.org.
4. Support those who support them.
Mow the lawn of a foster family, offer to babysit, or organize a few days worth of meals when a new child is placed in their home. And make sure you tell them often that you appreciate what they do.
Throw a shower for a family adopting an older child. Often showers aren’t thought of for adoptive families, especially when the adoption involves an older child. This will serve as a great encouragement to any adoptive family.
Sponsor a local child welfare social worker. Commit to praying for him or her and send gifts or notes of encouragement.
5. Provide them a safe place.
Consider becoming a foster parent or emergency foster parent (for short-term placements). Attend an inquiry meeting at your local foster care office to learn more.
Build an orphanage—it’s not as hard as it sounds. Visit www.worldorphans.org to learn how a gift of $4,000-8,000 can cover the building costs of a new orphanage in one of dozens of countries. These homes are built in conjunction with a local church. Consider raising this money as a small group, Sunday school class, or youth ministry.
6. Go visit them.
Go on a mission trip to an orphanage. You can go on a construction trip, a medical trip, or a trip to help conduct vacation Bible school. Taking your family on an orphanage mission trip can be life changing. Visit the following websites for more information:
7. Give sacrificially to them.
Support reputable orphan care organizations on an ongoing basis.
Give financially to a family in the process of adoption. See www.shaohannahshope.com and www.lifeintl.org for more information about financial assistance for adoptive families.
8. Cheer them on
Sponsor a child. This includes both monthly financial support and a ministry of ongoing encouragement through letter writing. Visit www.hopechest.org or www.visiontrust.org for more information.
Over 20,000 teenagers a year “age out” of the U.S. foster care system with no place to call home. Call your local foster care office and let them know you have the desire to be a support for a child who is aging out of foster care.
9. Give them a forever family
You can give a child a home through international, domestic, or foster care adoption. To learn more about these three types of adoption call 1-800-FLTODAY to order a free booklet entitled Welcome Home: Eight Steps to Adoption. You can also download this resource, explore other information, and identify key adoption agencies at www.HopeForOrphans.com.
10. Mobilize your church for them.
Churches all over the country are making the decision to launch ministries expressly dedicated to the orphan and waiting child. The impact has been remarkable. To learn more about how you can be the catalyst in your church for a sustained orphans ministry, visit www.shaohannahshope.org or www.HopeForOrphans.com.
God is not looking to you to solve the problem. You are only to be faithful to do what He is asking you do. These ten things represent steps of faithfulness ... some small, some big. But whatever you do, remember this promise in His Word:
And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:10-11