One of our hopes for the Together for Adoption National Conference in Austin is to begin serious, Spirit-led dialogue about how to intentionally and strategically unite the church’s missional engagement in the world, both locally and globally, with its privilege and responsibility to care for orphans. How can the church be what it is to be missionally and have orphan care be an integral part of its missional engagement? This question that we will be seeking to answer is one that both encourages and discourages me at the same time.
First, the discouraging part: I once heard a church-planting organization say that it tells its church planters not to get involved in orphan care because orphan care is a distraction from the church’s mission. To be fair, I think I understand what they mean. But I would have a difficult time saying that kind of thing in front of “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I just do not think that James would let a statement like that go unchallenged. If the practice of true religion necessarily involves caring for orphans and widows in their affliction, than it seems to me that orphan care must be an integral part of what the church is and does. So, I’m somewhat discouraged by the fact that we even have to ask and answer that question.
But there is also a very encouraging part: many missional leaders are beginning to ask this question because they are convinced of its biblical importance. They are seeing orphan care not as a missional add-on but as a vital aspect of what the church is to be and do missionally. In God’s infinite wisdom, he has made orphan care a key component of the church’s missional DNA. If something is part of your DNA, it will have an impact upon both your being and your doing. No longer is the orphan care part of the church’s spiritual DNA lying dormant. God is at work to awaken it within the church, and for that I am extremely encouraged.
So, in light of what we see God doing in this critical area, Verge is sponsoring and leading a breakout track called “Missional Communities and Orphan Care” at our October 1-2 conference in Austin. Our desire with this breakout track is to ride the wave that the Spirit has already formed. The Spirit of God is already at work to awaken Christ’s missional community to its privilege and responsibility to care for orphans. Our “Missional Communities and Orphan Care” breakout track, then, will be an opportunity to explore together what the Spirit is up to and how we might participate in what he is doing.
Track #4 – Missional Communities and Orphan Care (Sponsored by the Verge Network)
Session 1 Missional Orphan Care (Michael Stewart, Founder of Verge and Pastor of Missional Community at The Austin Stone Community Church)
Session 2 Ending the Global Orphan Crisis through Church Planting (The Austin Stone Community Church)
Session 3 Being a Church for the Orphan in the City (The Austin Stone Community Church). How to be a community on mission for the orphan locally.
Session 4 How to Mobilize Your Small Group for the Orphan (Todd and Olivia Engstrom, Todd is Pastor of Missional Community, The Austin Stone Community Church)
Session 5 Orphan Care and Unreached Peoples (Joey Shaw, Minister of International Mission, The Austin Stone Community Church)
Will you join us for this critically important breakout track?
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