MCLEAN, Va. — There is a new excitement in Baptist churches centered on the concept of adoption. Russell Moore, the dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., made that clear in his sermon on the Gospel and mission on adoption to the 2010 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors’ Conference at the Southern Baptist Convention in June. His book, Adopted For Life, is a life-changing explanation of how earthly adoption is a beautiful portrait of our spiritual adoption, and he also makes the point that the increasing emphasis on adoption and orphan care is not simply a new movement but a required part of our ministry through our churches. To help pastors lead their churches by example in orphan care ministry, the Pastors’ Conference established an adoption fund for ministers (details at www.sbcadoption.com). Now Southern Baptists are being invited to partner with Christians all over the world to “ignite a culture of adoption,” in the words of the purpose statement of the SBC Adoption Fund For Ministers.
From Christianity Today to Catalyst, the Biblical call to “defend the cause of the fatherless” (Isa. 1:17) is on hearts and minds of Christians in a way not seen in generations. Last year, the national Orphan Sunday campaign led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans helped stoke this movement to a new intensity, including more than 1,500 local Orphan Sunday events nationwide. The 2010 campaign aims for more than 2,000 events across America the weekend of Nov. 7 calling Christians to adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry.
Each Orphan Sunday event is led by local Christians stirred by the plight of the orphan. For these advocates, Orphan Sunday is an opportunity to spread their passion in their church and beyond. It’s also a chance to add echo to a nationwide movement. Events are as diverse as their organizers, from prayer gatherings and sermons on God’s heart for the orphan to student-led fundraisers and foster family recruiting.
Alongside these local events, a national concert will be simulcast live from Colorado Springs to college and high school groups nationwide on the Friday of Orphan Sunday weekend. Featuring The Desperation Band and other artists, the event will challenge American youth to a vibrant, Gospel-centered faith that includes real sacrifice for “least of these,” including orphans.
More than 75 national organizations have joined forces in the Christian Alliance for Orphans to promote the 2010 campaign, including household names like Bethany Christian Services, Buckner, Focus on the Family, Show Hope and Family Life.
“Orphan Sunday calls the Church to make the Gospel visible,” said Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. “When Christians open their hearts and homes in adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry, we mirror the God who did the same for us.”
The website www.orphansunday.org serves as a hub for the campaign, offering event ideas, downloadable materials and ways individuals can partner with orphan-serving ministries to hold local events. The site contains a map of the world that will highlight local events nationwide as they are scheduled, with a self-service process for event planners to easily add the details about their event. The Contact tab on the website lists the contact information for the state coordinators for Orphan Sunday and the Missouri state coordinator, Robert Blackburn (Crosshaven Church (SBC), Dardenne Prairie, Mo.), is ready to assist with event ideas, resource selection, and updating the map with event details.
“The need of orphans is so vast that no government, no nonprofit can overcome it,” said Jodi Jackson Tucker, national coordinator for the Orphan Sunday campaign. “There’s only one potential source of the love, nurture and belonging that every orphan most needs: that’s the Church.”
There are more than 500,000 children in the foster system in the U.S. today, with nearly 130,000 waiting to be adopted. Globally, an estimated 15 million children have lost both parents. The Orphan Sunday campaign invites Christians to be God’s answer to these needs. As the 2010 Orphan Sunday video puts it, “We set the lonely in families because God set us in His.” (Robert Blackburn, Jr., is a member of Crosshaven Church, Dardenne Prairie (St. Louis metro area), and the Missouri state coordinator for the Orphan Sunday activities sponsored by the Christian Alliance for Orphans.)