A home for every child
Christian Life Assembly in Langley, BC
By Daniel and Amanda Preston
The Lord began stirring our hearts many years ago, when we were both teenagers, regarding the care of orphans. We knew from the first day we met that we wanted to be involved together with orphans, in some way or another. A year after getting married, we felt God calling us to adoption. We were only 19 and 20 years old at the time, but felt excited and overjoyed to obey His call. A year later we brought home our eldest son, Mathieu, whom we adopted through BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development. Through Mathieu’s adoption we became aware of fostering, as he came from a foster home, and a year later we became foster parents.
Once we started taking foster children, we couldn’t help but feel God call us to give many of them a forever home. We have since adopted two more of our foster children, and are in the process of adopting our fourth child. Not long into our journey of adoption, we felt God begin to stir our hearts to something even bigger.
The most common comment we heard from other people was, “I could never do that! It takes a special person to adopt or foster.” We knew otherwise. We knew it didn’t take a special person, it took a special God! We knew everything we did was outside of ourselves, and relied entirely on our Father. We also knew that if people could only have more information, and knew what God had to say, they too would feel a desire to care for these children.
We have been given a burden to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, to walk our mandate of James 1:27, which says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows . . .” God has given us a passion for the needy children of the world, and He wants us to embrace His challenge given to us in James 1:27.
God holds us, as Christians, responsible for the 143 million children in this world without a mom and dad. We have been given so much, and therefore so much is required. This is why our dream is to see every believer engaged in helping vulnerable children, so that we might give a home to every child, and help many through this ministry.
What is this ministry?
The Church is the answer that will change the lives of these children forever. The Bible mentions caring for widows and orphans over forty times. In fact, the Bible says one measure of our faith is whether we care for widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27). Because God cares for orphans, He wants us to care for them as well.
Churches are the most influential source of care and support. As the distribution centre for hope in a community, the local church is best able to identify needs and support interventions for vulnerable children in every community.
The following outlines our plan, strategies and vision for this ministry within our home church. Our hope is that this information will help you establish a similar ministry in your church.
Ministry planning overview
- Educate the key ministry leaders;
- Establish a core team;
- Mobilize individuals and communities to care for orphans;
- Provide support groups;
- Support and build orphanages;
- Partner with, or create, an adoption fund.
Here are details on how each of these steps could be implemented:
Educate the ministry leaders
The key ministry leaders should attend seminars, workshops and meetings, as well as connect with other individuals with the same goals, to further extend their knowledge on all the topics covered in points one to six above.
Establish a core team
- Hold a meeting to connect with other church members who have a desire to serve in this ministry.
- Connect with several other key players from other churches.
Mobilize individuals and communities to care
- Provide information sessions both in house and out. In house sessions will be during services on Sunday mornings for anyone attending CLA. We will also hold evening dessert nights, aimed at many churches.
- For “Adoption Sunday” (held in November, which is National Adoption Month):
- Encourage the senior pastor to preach about God’s heart for orphans;
- Play a video;
- Have someone who has been touched by adoption or fostering give their testimony;
- Dedicate a percentage of the offering to the adoption fund/orphan care ministry;
- Share the vision for the future of the ministry.
- Talk to other churches, including your own, about the “One Church, One Child” model.
Church members support adoption or foster placement of a family through individual supports such as cleaning, cooking, childcare etc. (Gives opportunity to those not able to care for a child permanently.)
Provide support groups
- Set up support groups, depending on the needs of the community. These may be weekly or monthly cell groups for adoptive or foster families. Consider a long-term goal of setting up support groups for teens in the foster care system (with a connection to your youth ministry.)
- Walk alongside families in the adoption and fostering process, providing support, encouragement and practical help (resources, education, etc.).
Support and build orphanages (perhaps in conjunction with your missions ministry)
- Participate in orphan care projects that address the holistic needs of orphans – physically, emotionally and spiritually – with the ultimate goal of helping to place the child in the best permanent situation possible, ideally a forever family.
- Encourage child sponsorship.
- Host fundraisers to help support orphanages.
- Set up teams to help build and maintain orphanages.
Partner with, or create, an adoption fund
Provide waiting children with loving families by financially assisting adoptive couples whom might otherwise not be able to adopt.
Daniel and Amanda Preston live in Langley, BC, and are leading a ministry in their church to promote adoption.
© 2011 Daniel and Amanda Preston. All rights reserved. Used with permission.