Today’s blog is written by guest blogger Brian Fleming, who is one of the leaders of the orphan care ministry at the Summit Church. Thanks Brian, for all you guys doing!
Part of the vision of the Summit Church is to minister to the homeless, orphans, prisoners, unwed mothers, and high-school drop-outs. These groups represent the marginalized of our society. God has a record in Scripture of doing incredible things for his glory through those that others have written off as useless. What we don’t often realize is that as believer in the gospel, we already closely identify with one of these groups — orphans. Why? Because we were, as Scripture tells us, alienated and fatherless because of our sin, now adopted by God through Christ.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. -Romans 8:14-17
If you are a Christian, think about your life before this adoption. You were completely separated from your Father and buried in so much sin, despair, and hopelessness that you could never get yourself out.
In much the same way, children around the world are experiencing this same despair and hopelessness as you read this. To be exact, most estimates put the number of orphans in the world upwards of 150 million! Many of these children are homeless, literally starving and worse yet, have never known the love of a mom or dad.
God’s will for us as it pertains to these millions of parentless children is not hidden… The Old Testament alone contains more than 40 references that show His compassion and concern for the orphaned. This is how God’s people have always showed they understood the Gospel… and James said was 1 of the tests of “true” and “pure” religion. So, a question to consider is: How are you involved in it? In what way will you care for the orphaned?
As Christians, we need to soberly consider how many of the other realities of our lives demand, logically, we be involved in orphan care. For example, how can we tell a young mother that she should give her unborn child life, but not offer that child a safe alternative home after he’s born? Or, how can we experience so many lavish blessings of God and turn a deaf ear to millions and millions of children may never know a parent’s hug or kiss?
All of these are worthwhile considerations, but ultimately, overflowing gratitude to an ever-loving Savior is what will lead us to take action and truly love the fatherless. Our adoption of them should be a response to God’s adoption of us.
Providing a home to a child without one, through either foster care or adoption, is one way we can respond to the gospel. With the millions of orphans around the world and hundreds in need of a foster home right here in the Triangle, there is a huge need, and the church’s response should also be huge. This response will take us out of comfort zones and into a step of faith, but we are not alone and we are not without God’s promises.
Both adoption and fostering may seem overwhelming to you. Paperwork, financial obstacles and a seemingly endless amount of options and unknown variables can be intimidating. In response to these difficulties and in an effort to help you explore God’s heart for these children, the Summit Church is launching an Orphan Care Ministry this month to help educate, encourage and support you as you consider the possibilities.
Maybe adoption or fostering has never even crossed your mind, or maybe it’s something you and your family have frequently discussed but just never taken the next step. Either way, we encourage you to consider and pray about it now.
We hope to see you at an interest meeting we’ll host at the Brier Creek campus on June 22 at 6:30. There are dozens of other families at Summit who have already fostered or adopted and others who are currently in the process that we’d like to connect you with. You’ll hear more about the new Orphan Care Ministry, be able to collect resource materials, learn from other families’ experiences and ask questions.