“Oh! You should get in touch with (insert local church name here) – they have a great orphan ministry!”
If I had a nickel for every time I heard those words…
It seems like an easy assumption, that any church would jump at the opportunity to care for orphans and widows, but if you have ever tried to engage your church in orphan care, you may have hit a few unexpected challenges.
Here’s what we’ve learned in years of working with faithful churches who generously serve orphans and widows together with our in-country partners:
1. Be patient
Don’t be offended if your pastor doesn’t have time to think this through immediately, or if multiple committees want to get involved and do their research. I have spent hours on the phone with pastors, committees, and advocates within churches who have a lot of questions. That’s a good thing! Allow the time to ask and answer questions, and wait for the inspiration and forward movement that will result from thoughtful inquiries.
2. Be involved
If you think your church should have an orphan ministry, chances are, you should be playing a fairly large role in making that happen. Be prepared to lead the charge, at least at the beginning, as other church leaders catch the visions.
3. Start small
Maybe you start with your Bible study group or a special missions Sunday your church is already planning. By connecting your church with a Kinship Project consistently and faithfully, you will see that relationship grow and blossom.
4. Take a trip
Sending a few key leaders, such as pastors, missions directors, etc., on a small vision trip is an investment that will pay off exponentially for the kids. It helps hone the church’s focus and potentially choose a Kinship Project to focus on.
Both personal and corporate prayer are essential to any ministry and effecting true change. In addition to being committed yourself in prayer, think about scheduling a prayer vigil for your church community. It will knit your hearts together for the orphan and the widow, and create a connection between your church and your Kinship Project as they pray for you too!
Here’s the moral of the story: there’s ALWAYS something you can do to impact the lives of orphans and widows through your church! By taking faithful steps as you are called, you can slowly (but surely!) inspire your church to take action.
Are you advocating for orphans through your church? What has helped you in the process?