Here are 13 ideas to help you get off to a good start living out James 1:27 in 2013:
- Volunteer as a CASA worker – Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who work on the authority of the courts to represent the interests of abused and neglected children in the legal system. Parents and the State have a voice in court, but often the children don’t have anyone making sure their voices are heard, and CASA workers work to aid the court in making sure that children have the advocates that they deserve. You can find out more here.
- Sponsor a child – For little more than $1 a day, you can make a huge difference in the life of a child and take a big step in orphan prevention by sponsoring a child through a ministry like Compassion International or Help One Now. Compassion not only provides substantial aid to children and their families, but they disciple kids as well. Help One Now is a ministry committed to rescuing orphans, freeing slaves, and orphan prevention that partners with American and indigenous churches.
- Attend a conference/gathering/training – As momentum has increased in Christian adoption and orphan care ministry over the last few years, a number of great conferences have sprung up (and there are more beginning all the time). There are a couple of national conferences of note and a host of regional events through out the year. These conferences are great sources of inspiration, information, equipping, and networking. Check out the Christian Alliance for Orphans or Together for Adoption for more information on their national conferences here.
- Open your church as a foster parent training site – Often DHS and private foster care providers are looking for facilities in the community who will host them for foster parent interest or training meeting. Why not offer to open your church facilities and provide hospitality for their meetings?
- Become a respite provider - You can make a huge difference for a foster family by becoming a respite care provider. Foster children can’t be cared for by just anyone. They must be placed in the care of trained and certified caregivers. What a blessing to a foster family it would be to have you come along as a babysitter or relief caregiver.
- Do something nice for the folks at DHS – The caseworkers at DHS have a difficult job, and they are often discouraged by the scope of the problems they face and the lack of resources they have to meet them. You might not be able to help them directly, but what about your church providing gifts at Christmas or a lunch for the caseworkers and taking the opportunity to get to know them and to pray for them?
- Buy products that support the fatherless – There are all kinds of great opportunities to use your purchasing power to help orphan related causes. Through organizations like Pure Charity, you can even get a percentage of your purchases from major retailers contributed to your favorite cause. Websites like Sevenly, 147 Million Orphans and Hello Somebody give you the opportunity to buy fashionable gifts, and the proceeds go in part to support the fatherless and combat human trafficking.
- Use your voice politically – Contact your elected officials to advocate for issues related to adoption and orphan care like the Adoption Tax Credit or the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). Organizations like adoptiontaxcredit.org and International Justice Mission can tell you how.
- Start or give to an adoption fund – Even if you can’t adopt, you can help a child find a forever family by providing financial assistance for an adoptive family through a fund at your local church or by contributing to funds established by Show Hope, LifeSong for Orphans, or Abba Fund.
- Support a transition assistance ministry – For many institutionalized orphans worldwide, great peril awaits after graduation from the orphanage system. Help these kids transition well into an independent, healthy, Christ-honoring adulthood by supporting transition homes and transitional assistance through ministries like LifeSong for Orphans.
- Support an adoption in another country – A domestic adoption in Ukraine can be funded for an average of $500. Contribute to a ministry that supports indigenous international adoptions like LIfeSong for Orphans or HopeHouse International.
- Observe Orphan Sunday – Internationally, the first Sunday in November has been declared as Orphan Sunday. Your church can join with Christians all over the world in worshipping or studying around the theme of God’s heart for the orphan on that Sunday. You can find tools to observe Orphan Sunday in your worship services, Bible study classes, or to host an event at your church here.
- Pray – The specter of 167 million or more orphans worldwide seems to vast for us to make a difference, but with God, all things are possible. We know that care for orphans is close to the heart of God and evidence of the reconciliation that is found in the gospel. Let’s agree to daily petition the Father on behalf of the fatherless this year.
What would you add to the list? Share your ideas by commenting to this post or tweeting your response to me at @rick_morton.Happy New Year!