You’ve got to move it, move it… but where to start?! Find your rhythm right now and join the movement…
Consider the 8 ATE’s to help you take that first step:
- Deliberately take time to study what Scripture says about caring for orphans/fatherless and about the nature of God the Father. (e.g. Psalm 10:14, 68:5; James 1:27; Exodus 22:22; Isaiah 1:17, 1:23; Deuteronomy 10:18, 14:28-30, 26:12-14; Matthew 18:5, 25:45; Ephesians 1:3-11; Romans 8:15-17; )
- Pray, fast, and seek understanding from God of what He personally wants from you. Put aside your own preferences and allow the Holy Spirit full leadership in your life.
- Practical examples: Many people comment on how they have these lingering (and audacious) thoughts that they can’t shrug off, vivid dreams or visions that catch their attention, or promptings to get involved in ways they had not anticipated. Married couples will frequently comment how God individually confirms the same calling to get involved, or how one spouse’s yearning for a particular involvement is later affirmed by the other spouse in their time of meditation. Churches who desire to get involved often find God inviting them to a unique aspect: some lead more into adoption and fostering, others into supporting roles, others into advocacy and social-justice issues, and without a doubt, a creative homeblend calling of the congregation members who actively seek God in this.
- Meditation is the antidote to confusion and lack of direction.
- Do you have a gnawing or lingering suspicion that God is calling you to get involved in a specific or general way, but you are not certain what to do about it? Acting in faith might mean being open to taking the first baby steps forward in that to discover how God is desiring to write the next chapter of your story. God is the author and finisher of faith, and He can be trusted. Faith without action is dead.
- So go ahead, and sign up for the adoption or foster care information session; email that ministry to get information on volunteering; take a tour of the group home; have coffee with the struggling foster parents, etc. You won’t know the next steps to take until you take your first one.
- Initiating is the antidote to paralysis of faith.
- Always be in a humble position of listening, learning and creating healthy understanding.
- Read books, research, attend seminars.
- Be the student of those in your community: birth moms, adoptive and fostering families, social workers, government, organizations and ministries in your congregation; birt . Allow government services, agencies & ministries to teach us.
- Be humble when you educate others on what you are learning, especially those who offend you in ignorance or have differing perspectives. They are helping you solidify your convictions and are giving you opportunity to expand your thinking.
- Promote or create local educational opportunities such as seminars, small group studies, Orphan Sunday events, etc. Consider those within your congregation, your community, or connections you may have to collaborate with.
- Education is an antidote to ignorance.
- Does something bother you? We’re not talking about a personal pet-peeve. We’re talking about an injustice that disturbs the heart who seeks after God. Pay attention to what disturbs you and find meaningful ways to do something about it – stand in the gap, be a voice for the voiceless within your congregation, within your community and your government.
- Don’t simply be a noisy soap box show – target the influencers who have the capacity to make a future brighter. Invite others to join you in advocacy. It’s not only what you know, but also who you know – and this requires effective relational skills.
- God did not give us a spirit of timidity. Failure to stand in the gap often has more to do with our own fears and pride. No one desires to make a fool of themselves, yet we must appropriately be willing to put ourselves on the line to do so. Check out 1 Corinthians 4:10.
- Advocacy is the antidote for children and families being “stuck”
- Do you know an adoptive family who would benefit from some respite? A foster family who need some house repairs? A single mom who needs a car to keep her job to support her family? Do you see an organization that could benefit from your volunteer work? Prayerfully consider ways in which you can help lighten their load and let them know that we are in this together.
- Many will comment that they just don’t know how to be of help. The solution is simple: Ask. The person, family or organization that is on your heart will be the expert in knowing what they need, and it might only take one coffee chat to come to some exciting new possibilities that both will be excited about.
- Don’t sweat the big stuff. Dare to be sacrificial in your giving and do it as unto the Lord.
- Alleviation is the antidote to isolation and burn-out.
- If you are desiring to start a new ministry: Who is missing in the picture? No one is good at everything. Who do you need to partner with to get you there most effectively and efficiently? Be good at what you are good at, and allow others to use their gifts and abilities for a common goal.
- Think inside the Church box: What are the gifts, abilities, professions, resources within your church community? Pray and consider ways of sharing your vision with others. Not everyone will be as passionate about your idea as you are; that’s OK. Great things can happen from a few people who are committed.
- Think outside the Church box: where appropriate, collaborate with government, social services, schools, non-profits, Christian ministries, local families, businesses, philanthropists, etc. Be a Christian presence and reach out of the confines of your churches walls. They have a lot to teach the Church if we are humble to listen and collaborate
- Ask of others: How can I support you in your work with vulnerable children? Or, here’s what I am thinking of starting… How could you envision your organization getting involved?
- Collaboration is the antidote for every initiative being “each to their own”
- You may not be called to adopt, foster or to start a ministry – but that does not mean you don’t have a valuable place to get involved. Wealthy or not, God loves a cheerful giver and creating belonging for vulnerable children is dear to His heart.
- Consider ways to alleviate the financial barriers of adoptive families or ministries. Giving is more than money; it can be an indication of your priorities and your support of the ones who embark on this challenging process. Consider connecting with ABBA Canada, host a garage sale or fundraiser, surprise a family with a donation, be a family or ministry’s fundraising volunteer to make “their thing” transform into “our thing.”
- Keep in mind that the church and community are not our slot machine. They may not “get it” or they may also be giving sacrificially in other capacities. You are simply putting the opportunity out there. Listen for cues that might lead to an effective approach for more involvement.
- It’s not just about the $$. It is about getting people invested in the process, gaining their prayer support, and allowing them to function in the body. Consider also gifts in kind: prayer support, practical services, furniture and clothing donations, time.
- Donations are the antidote for unrealized families and ministry advancements.
- God delights in us when we celebrate the good things He is doing! Allow celebrations to shout out that all children are a blessing, and that there is something out of this world which fuels our unending love and joy in bringing children into our community.
- Are you the life of the party? Event planner extraordinaire? Put all those Pinterest hours to good use and imagine ways you can influence your church community to celebrate families and ministry milestones. Consider family dedications, prayers of blessing, recognition of milestones, family shower parties, block parties, etc. Be creative!
- Celebration is the antidote for skeptism; it is the “Seratonin” for hardships.