The Orphan Crisis and The Church: Taking Our Positions in the Field
Two years ago, as I was reading Larry Bergeron’s Journey to the Fatherless, the Lord opened my eyes and my heart to the plight of the orphan. I was wrecked! That day I told God I would do whatever He desired of me to help His children.
The Lord has since called me to raise awareness of the orphan crisis, plant seeds, and challenge His Church to pray about the position He desires us to play-individually and collectively—to help bring life and hope to His children.
At General Council 2017, U.S. C&MA President Dr. John Stumbo exhorted the Alliance family to consider overlooked people we might reach. As he spoke, the Lord shouted in my spirit—“The orphan!”
The Bible clearly conveys God’s heart for children and His instructions for us to care for them, yet there are 140 million orphans across the globe today (https://cafo.org/ovc/statistics/)! Given this disheartening figure, I am firmly convicted that reaching this people group must become a high priority for His Church. It’s time for us to take our positions in the field!
Each day, 30,000 children die from hunger and 4,500 perish from the effects of drinking unclean water. There are 20,000,000 African HIV orphans and 500,000 children in the U.S. foster case system (http://thechildrenarewaiting.org/). A small percentage of these kids will be embraced by the Church and welcomed into loving Christian homes. Many others will die all too young or age out of the foster care system and fall through the cracks—unless God’s people get in the game.
The Harvest Field
It is reported that approximately 85 percent of Christians give their lives to Christ between the ages of 4 and 14 (the 4/14 Window). The lion’s share of orphans are of this age group. These precious children, many of whom are drowning in a sea of hopelessness, are desperate to be rescued. Their hearts are ripe for the gospel and we, the Church, have the lifeline they need: Jesus!
Matthew 9:37–38 says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” The 4/14 Window is the harvest field where the fatherless live.
The clock is running out for these children. Time is not on their side, but we need to be. Orphans need love, hope, healing, and forever families to invite them into our hearts, into our arms, and into our homes. Imagine the smile on our Heavenly Father’s face as His people rally to extend the love of Christ in personal and practical ways to His kids.
National Orphan Awareness Month
November is National Orphan Awareness Month and November 11 is Orphan Sunday, a day set aside annually to take a stand for the orphan. Though Orphan Sunday was observed in thousands of churches worldwide in 2017, undoubtedly, there are still countless Christians who are unaware of the magnitude of the orphan crisis—or that it even exists. That was me. Until two years ago, I was sitting comfortably on the sidelines, oblivious to the fact that God had a role for me to play in helping to spare these children.
Obviously, we aren’t all called to adoption or foster care, but the Scriptures are clear, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress . . .” (James 1:27, NLT). We are all called to care—there is a position for each of us on this team.
Your first play could be as simple as watching My Orphan Sunday Story on the Christian Alliance for Orphans Web site. Then, as time allows, explore the site. As you watch the videos and look through the resources, ask God to open your heart to what He wants you to see, hear—or do; then forward the link to your pastor and others in your circle of influence. If every church represented by readers of this blog view this video, it could significantly impact the number of fatherless children who will experience Christ’s loving embrace.
It’s Time to Unite and Rally, Team!
We, the Church-2.2 billion worldwide (almost 14 times the number of the world’s fatherless)-cannot continue standing by while God’s children suffer. We must unite and rally to help orphans become all they can be. We must help bridge the gap between despair and hope, between death and life.
I know . . . 140 million is a daunting figure, but this number represents individual children, each created in God’s image for a purpose. Their lives can be redeemed as we begin to intentionally pray for the Lord to open our eyes and guide us and then step up to the plate in faith and obedience.
Ask the Lord of the harvest to give you His heart for His kids. Ask Him to show you the role He’s reserved just for you in helping to combat this crisis, then get out there and own it!
Safe at Last!
The orphan crisis is certainly not a game, but metaphorically speaking, the victory can only be won as every fully-devoted disciple plays his or her God-ordained position in the harvest field. His Church, fully engaged, will be the “game-changer.”
In the spirit of baseball, when the Church steps up to the plate… Bam!
For the orphan’s sake and for God’s glory, we cannot sit this one out. What position are you being recruited for? Are you in?