Many of us give regularly to different relief organizations around the world (Compassion, World Vision, etc). I believe these are great organizations worthy to be supported. My family has a Compassion child and we love sending and receiving letters. God willing, we will continue to support him in the future. If you are interested in Compassion, please click on the ad in my sidebar on the right.
As I have been thinking about adoption for our family and also as a ministry initiative at our church I have begun to ponder a perhaps added benefit to supporting an adoption ministry through the local church.
Generally speaking, with oversees relief agencies children’s basic needs are met, the gospel is communicated, and a child’s life is hopefully set on a brand new course. When a family writes their check there is a high degree of trust since few people actually travel to the third world country of their sponsored child to see what their money has achieved.
One of the things our church has been discussing is the importance of giving being connected to relationships that we know are strong and gospel-centered. There are so many ministries that are worthy of promotion and giving, how do we decide which ones we will support? We are starting strongly believe that our money should be tied to those ministries with which we have the strongest relational ties. If we don't know you well, we probably won't be encouraging our people to give to your ministry. To us this just seems like wise stewardship.
Ministries like World Vision and Compassion, serve greatly in the world and it is not my aim to diminish their importance, but rather to highly a significant difference between these organizations and a local church adoption ministry. We’ll use your typical local church adopting family as an example.
Say for example that you know a family in your church needs help financially for adoption. Assuming you have a good adoption team screening applications, consider the benefits of someone writing a check to the church adoption fund on their behalf:
1. You know this family well since they are members of your church.
2. You know this family will train their children in the knowledge of the gospel, fear of the Lord, and seek to teach their children a God-centered world perspective.
3. This family has covenanted to submit to the church's leadership.
4. This family is part of the larger church family where we all take a collective interest in the raising of children in the knowledge of the gospel and the fear of the Lord.
We can’t say for sure that these things are happening well with oversees organizations (hopefully they are), but when you see this local church family raising their adopted child through the ministry of your local church it is much easier to have “buy in” because you know with much more clarity what your world relief donations are accomplishing. It also gives greater accountability for this local church family as they continually see others who have partnered with them in their adoption.
It seems to me that this could be a very strong case for encouraging people to give to a local church adoption ministry.
Again, I am not out to diminish the importance of world relief organizations (I hope every one of my readers sponsors a child, it's not either/or), but to simply articulate the potential power of a local church collectively pursuing the ministry of adoption together. When I write a check to my local church adopting family, or to the church's adoption fund, I know that I will get to observe and perhaps participate in God-centered justice for the weak and voiceless in a very personal way. There is a strong tie between relationships and resources and our church is strengthened as we pursue justice in the world TOGETHER.
Why not start an adoption ministry at your local church? If you have any interest in this, reach out to the guys at The ABBA Fund. They are more than gracious and would love to help you get off to a great start. We are trying to see this happen at my church. God willing it will. I'll keep you posted on that one.
What do you think?