Right from the beginning, though, I believe you must be considering how to BUILD an orphan care ministry. At its genesis, you must be thinking about the foundation upon which a future ministry will be built. No matter how limited or grand the scope of your ministry is at first, you can be sure it will morph and grow over the years – if it has a solid foundation.
A momma goes to the ER with her four children. She has no one else to watch them, but she needs medical care. The doctors agree, and she is admitted to the hospital; the children roam the halls and nap the first night, but by the second day when it is clear that momma needs more care, the children need someone to watch them as well. She pleads with the hospital staff that there is no one to watch the children. The hospital social workers are at an impasse: the county is called; the children need to be turned over to their custody.
I spent a brief moment there, allowing myself to soak it all in. The song, “Shout!”, by the Isley Brothers was playing loudly. It was a crowd favorite, and it showed!
Imagine you bought yourself a new watch. It works so perfectly (and looks so good on your gorgeous wrist) that you decide to buy yourself a fancy shirt to go with it. Then, you talk yourself into buying a whole new outfit (because you have worked so hard recently and you deserve to treat yourself).
New shoes, fresh underwear, bling.
You look amazing.
And you feel amazing.
But while you’re out for a stroll around the lake (looking like a million bucks) you see a young girl drowning. You can tell that she’s exhausted… seconds from going under.
Tell me, what would you do?
In recent days, our news feeds have been flooded with images of children separated from their parents and debates about how open our borders should be. Regardless of where we stand politically, we can’t ignore the fact that there are refugees gathered at our backdoor. They aren’t from the other side of the world, and these refugees are fleeing a different kind of war. It is a war that demands the blood of their sons and the innocence of their daughters.
Refugees face many challenges when they arrive to the US. The cultural, linguistic, and institutional differences can create significant barriers for them, but as Christians, we can help them overcome those barriers and adjust to their new lives. Welcoming refugees in our city is the first step, but here are some tips for communication and compassion for those looking to get more involved.
I couldn’t help but smile as the fourth grader who I had been mentoring for several months exclaimed those words when I showed up at his classroom to pick him up. He was so excited to see me. I admittedly had been having a busy day, and I wasn’t as excited about the prospects of carving out a couple hours in a local elementary school. But, I committed to showing up every week as a mentor no matter what. So, that’s what I did. I just showed up.
Arguably, the most powerful word in existence, and even more so in action. Love is a force like no other. It covers a multitude of sins and darkness, including hatred, racism, fear, and indifference. Love gets so watered down, as we use it to describe our emotions about one thing or another, but true, pure, unconditional love comes from the Father and can only be felt when we give ourselves over to the Creator (who Himself is love) and made us in His image. Continue reading “L-O-V-E”
Over 600 completely average people joined us for Imagine last weekend. We joined together because we believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He came to seek and to save sinners just like us. We also believe that the whole of the Gospel is much more radical: it invites us to live as a disciple of the One who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, welcomed children, and spent time with those society deemed unworthy and outcasts.
This past weekend, over 600 ordinary followers of Jesus joined together to learn how to better seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). We recognized the fears that often paralyze us, and we leaned into the truths from Scripture: that the same way our Savior walked right into the “Samarias” of His world, we are called to the “Samarias” of ours…the places others would rather avoid: the streets, the group home, the orphanage, the prison, the abortion clinic, the rehab center, and the strip club. He walked in, bent down, and looked people right in the eye because relationships transform. He not only calls us to follow Him, but equips us as we do.
“Imagine made me realize that my fear of stepping out is normal, and reminded me that God can use anyone.”
“Some moments my heart was breaking and at the same time my fears are lessening. Opening my mind to what it means to truly love others as God loves us!”
“It gave me further conviction to open up to more possibilities that previously scared me.”
Throughout the weekend together we considered the idea of “What’s my one?” Our God is an intentional God seeking out the one lost sheep, the one lost coin, and the prodigal son (Luke 15). He has designed and equipped each of us with a different, yet complementary role to play in living out the Gospel (Romans 12:3-6). As each attendee prayerfully considers, “What’s my one?”, together we are able to make an impact in our world.
Here are just a few of the “ones” God led attendees to:
- Foster Dad
- Short-term missions
- Refugees learning English
- Sex Trafficking
- Strengthening a culture of life in our churches
- China special needs adoption
- Foster mom advocate
- Encouraging adoptive families
Our prayer is that each person to whom the Lord spoke one thing would respond with prompt obedience to this call. Imagine what would happen if followers of Jesus took a stand for the hungry, the hurting and the fatherless. Let us bring that to life each and every day of the coming year!
Our deepest appreciation to each speaker, exhibitor and to the team of volunteers who planned and executed this event. Our time together was encouraging, refreshing, and equipping. We look forward to seeing you at Imagine 2018.
We’d love to hear your story of how God is using you, a completely ordinary person to live out His extraordinary calling to love.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For encouragement and practical help living out this calling year round, be sure to subscribe to our blog.
Imagine getting tickets to see your favorite NFL team play.
You’ve invested your hard-earned money to buy the tickets, you arrive at the stadium, find your seats and anxiously await the moment when they’ll take the field for kick off. Excitement swells inside of you when they walk onto the field. They huddle up. You slide forward in your seat. Nothing happens. The only thing your beloved team does all night long is stand on the field in a huddle.*
Can you imagine your frustration level?
Did you ever wonder what God thinks when He sees His children sitting in church, worshipping His name, and reading their Bibles, but never doing anything with it?
You and I have full access to the playbook and the Coach, but do we get out of our holy huddle and put our skin in the game?
That’s what Imagine is all about.
We believe God was serious when He said, “Love your neighbor”.
We believe He left us here on earth to be His hands and feet.
We believe the world desperately needs followers of Jesus to live out His love.
Imagine: Living Out an Extraordinary Calling to Love
It’s not an ordinary conference. It’s something much larger. We believe that God wants to do something big in our city, our nation, and our world, and we invite you to pray with us.
In the remaining days leading up to the Imagine Conference, would you get in the game and pray with us?
1. Praise for the hundreds of individuals already registered to attend the conference and for the hundred plus speakers, volunteers, & exhibitors committing their time to the conference.
2. Pray that the Holy Spirit would fill the building and the hearts of each person attending with unity. Pray that He would speak one thing to each person and for them to obey. Pray that friendships and partnerships would grow that multiply the fruits of our efforts.
3. Pray that every pastor, leader, and individual already engaged in this front-lines love-your-neighbor work would be encouraged and equipped to continue in that to which the Lord has called them.
4. Pray for logistics, clarity and wisdom for every speaker presenting over the two days.
5. Pray that God would move on the hearts of every person He wants to be in attendance and make a way for them to be there.
6. Pray that all that happens over November 10th and 11th would bring glory to our Lord and King!
Thank you for joining with us! We can’t wait to see you on Friday!
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
James 5:16, NLT
*Illustration courtesy of Priscilla Shirer
**Registration for the Imagine Conference closes November 8, so don’t wait!
Erin Brothers, Co-Director, OrphanCare Ministry of North Way Christian Community