National Conference 2012

September 14-15 / Atlanta, GA

Hosted by:
Cross Pointe Church

Conference for Pastors

October 4-5 / Louisville, KY

Hosted by: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary & Hope for Orphans

Breakout Sessions

Registration is now open!

Breakout Session 1 (Thursday, October 4)

Adoption and Work: How the Gospel Informs our Vocation (Jason Cornwell) - Given the facts that God created man in His image to work and that we spend most of our days working, it is necessary for pastors to equip their people to think through the implications that the Gospel has in regards to their work. The Doctrine of Adoption helps us do that. Adoption not only affects the way we view our current work, but also how we view calling, entrepreneurship, vocation, the frustrations of our labor, production, and the future restoration of our bodies.

Depraved Indifference: Confessions of an Unengaged Pastor (David Wooten, Pastor and Orphan Advocate) – A pastor of 24 years shares his journey of coming to understand James 1:27. Like so many of us in the Western Church, he found it easy to coast through his Christian life believing he was “unstained by the world”, yet he lacked faithful obedience to truly visit orphan and widows in their distress. Join Pastor David Wooten as he unpacks the meaning of this favorite verse within the orphan care world.

Equipping the Church to Care for Orphans: A Community-Based Approach to Partnerships in the Developing World (Michael Vinson, Vice President of Advancement for Children’s HopeChest) – The local church is God’s most powerful tool to care for orphans and bring the transformation of the gospel to a hurting world. Find out how your congregation can connect directly to a community of orphans and vulnerable children. Through a unique “community-to-community” connection, your church ministers as a body of believers to children in need. Opportunities open in Russia, Swaziland, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Haiti, Guatemala, and Moldova.

Integrating Orphan Care into the Discipling Strategy of the Local Church (Rick Morton, co-author of Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care) – How do we seek to integrate care for the fatherless into strategy for helping people to follow Jesus through the local church? Join Discipling Pastor and co-author of the popular orphan ministry book Orphanology Rick Morton to explore this topic to discover practical ideas for you and your church. Included in this seminar will be a proposed gospel-centered strategy that addresses both the theological and practical aspects of leading believers to respond to God’s heart for the fatherless.

Mother and Her Children: Eschatology and Adoption (Dr. David B. Garner, Westminster Theological Seminary) – Dutch theologian Geerhardus Vos described eschatology as the “mother of theology.” In exploring the unfolding pages of biblical revelation, we discover that at the heart of the Father’s consummate plans for history was the bestowal of a glorified inheritance to his sons and daughters. With an analysis of the content of biblical revelation as a whole, this session will unpack the glorious contours of adoption in view of the unfolded eternal plan of the Creator/Father. The practical and pastoral implications of this realization are as sweet as they are stunning.

Opening the Door to Adoption by Closing the Door to Abortion (Michael Spielman, Abort73) – In America today, the battle between abortion and adoption is being won by abortion – in a landslide. The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) reports in their 2007 Factbook that for every 1,000 live births, there are 5.5 adoptions and 326.5 abortions. Though the NCFA takes no official position on abortion, they state in Factbook III that the number one barrier to adoption is the “almost exclusive focus on abortion as the preferred option when an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy occurs.” Therefore, reshaping the way culture thinks about abortion may be the single most-effective way to increase the total number of adoptions. That doesn’t mean that individual adoption ministries should change their focus, but it does mean that the collective body of Christ should be in the business of boldly, creatively, and proactively exposing the darkness of abortion. As we consider the glorious, biblical, God-exalting act of adoption, we must not forget about the monster lurking in the shadows. Publicly standing against abortion will invariably step on some toes, but so long as the church fails to speak out against the atrocity of child sacrifice, the myriad blessings of widespread adoption will never see the light of day.

Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Responding through the Church (Matt Mehaffey, World Orphans)

Preaching, Teaching, and Orphan Care (Dr. Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) – This breakout will instruct pastors and adoption/orphan care ministry leaders how to cast a vision for orphan and widow care through the preaching and teaching of the local church. The seminar will address barriers to a difficult understanding of care for orphans that can be overcome through the imaginative, biblical, convictional proclamation of scripture.

Safe Families (Stacia Washausen, Orphan Care Alliance, Louisville) - Safe Families for Children is a positive alternative to the state child welfare system.  It is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and child care professionals designed to support at-risk children and parents in need.  It is an opportunity for volunteers to have a powerful impact in the lives of others while practicing Biblical hospitality and extending the love of Christ to people in need. Here is the website if you would like to learn more about it:

The Theological History of Adoption (Dr. Tim J. R. Trumper)  – Not for the first time in church history, the endeavor is under way to recover the doctrine of adoption. Whereas previous attempts ended up faltering, in part for want of awareness of the extent of the neglect of adoption, the current interest in its recovery already has the benefit of a detailed understanding of its theological history. This has been gleaned from the creeds, confessions, and writings of the church, and brings to light some fascinating trends and facts. These not only demonstrate the reality of the neglect of adoption, they go some way to explain it, and point in the process to the significance benefits accruing to the faith and practice of the church from the recovery of adoption.

Why Good Adoption Theology Leads to Good Adoption Psychology – Psychologist Jon Bergeron, Ph.D. Director of Hope for Orphans FamilyCare will discuss the harmony between biblical adoption and science. The maxim “All truth is God’s truth” plays out beautifully as we examine the realm of adoption and orphan care from both a theological and a psychological viewpoint. The foundational spiritual truths in God’s word are echoed and complimented by what the science of psychology tells us about child development and what is needed for healing from relational trauma. Whether abused, neglected or abandoned, the necessary components of healing that are suggested by research are, not surprisingly, found to originate in the principles of healing found in God’s vision for the family and the church.

Breakout Session 2 (Friday, October 5)

A Blue Print For Launching Orphan Ministry in the Local Church (Paul Pennington and Jason Weber, Hope for Orphans) – Navigating the waters of starting an orphans ministry in your local church can seem daunting. For the lay leader there are questions. How do I approach leadership? Do I have to do this by myself? Where should we focus? Come learn eight vital steps to launching an orphans ministry in your church and walk away with practical tools and insights you can begin using right away. This is a session geared to both empowering and equipping lay leaders in your church called to orphan ministry.

Adopting from Fantasy Island: Realistic Expectations for Adopting Parents (David Wooten, Pastor and Orphan Advocate) – It is easy to think of adoption as a magical Disney-like experience and have high fantasy like expectations. Adoption is a glorious calling that brings with it some hard providences. There is no adoption without loss, pain, and suffering; but there is also no pain, loss, or suffering that our Lord cannot address and heal. Whether you have adopted or are in the process of adopting, it is important to have realistic expectations so you can prepare yourself to love and serve your adoptive children well.

Biblical Counseling Ministry and Compassion Ministry (Daniel Bennett, author of A Passion for the Fatherless) - This breakout session explores how a strong and vibrant Biblical Counseling Ministry strengthens a church’s Compassion Ministry.

Cultivating Indigenous Adoption (Andy Lehman) – Indigenous adoption is a relatively untapped solution in the orphan crisis. A unique blending of “orphan care + adoption”. A case-study and example of how to effectively create indigenous adoption (Ukrainian children being adopted by Ukrainian Christian parents, etc). What works and what doesn’t work. You will see the key ingredients/concepts, and how your church orphan ministry / advocate team can stimulate indigenous adoption globally.

Families in Crisis: addressing the unique challenges of struggling adoptive families – Jon Bergeron, Ph.D. Director of Hope for Orphans FamilyCare and Robin Pennington Co-Founder of Hope for Orphans and Executive Director of Sparrow’s Home Adoptions discuss why difficulties in adoption are the norm and how early supportive intervention by the church can make all the difference. We will also discuss what happens when families find they just can’t keep going and disruption or dissolution of the adoption becomes necessary. This session will provide an overview of the magnitude of the challenges facing a child and a family after an adoption takes place and will discuss the need for a support network around that family that is best provided by their church family. Loving the “difficult to love is our job as the body of Christ, and is often how we shine brightest. Churches need to actively move toward these families when times get tough and continue to love them even when things don’t work out.

Life Coaching (Orphan Care Alliance, Louisville) – Lining up mentors for kids who are close to aging out of the foster care system. The transition to independent living can be a very difficult one for foster children who have grown up in dysfunctional homes or in the foster care system. We seek to come along side them and coach them as they get ready to live on their own.

Making your plans in pencil: God’s sovereignty in orphan care (Dan Dumas) - From the outset to the final judgment the road to adoption is messy, windy, full of potholes, steep climbs and unforeseen theological mountains. However, every molecule of our short time on this planet is controlled by an all wise, all-king, sovereign Lord.

Men’s Ministry Breakfasts and Starving Kids in Africa: What does Orphanology have to do with Masculinity? (Jeremy Haskins)

Mobilizing Small Groups for the Orphan (Jason Kovacs, Austin Stone Community Church) - This session will explore how you can mobilize small groups in the church for the orphan. We will discuss different ways that small groups can care for orphans at different levels. How small groups can wrap their arms around adoptive and foster families.

The Beloved Son in Whom He is Well-Pleased: Adoption and Christ (Dr. David B. Garner) – Biblical theology has led the way in the current renewal of interest in theological adoption. As Scripture centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ, it ought not surprise us that the theology of adoption is comprehensively Christ-centered. Speaking biblically about adoption then drives us to the astounding interface between Christ’s eternal and incarnate Sonship, and how as the resurrected Son of God he attains for us the full-orbed splendor of being God’s children.

The Mega Issues: Breaking Down People’s Perception of the Orphan (Matt Mehaffey, World Orphans)

The Strategic Significance of Adoption (Dr. Tim J. R. Trumper)  – While the biblical teaching on adoption is inherently important, it is also strategically so. Stated alternatively, the recovery of adoption not only promises the filling of a lacuna in the field of theology, it offers to break the impasse of a number of present day debates. The session explains this in regard to one major example, namely the debate over the new perspective on Paul, and demonstrates in particular how a biblically sensitive understanding of adoption can mediate effectively the recent exchange between Dr. John Piper and Prof. N. T. Wright. In making the case, Dr. Trumper builds on his own interaction with the new perspective on Paul dating back to 2002, utilizing in the process insights by Prof. Kevin Vanhoozer from the 2010 Wheaton Theology Conference.

Breakout Session 3 (Friday, October 5)

Beloved Sons in Whom He is Well-Pleased: Adoption and the Gospel (Dr. David B. Garner) -  The Christian’s union with the Son of God by the Holy Spirit is vital, making the gospel exhaustively familial. In a world where false religions recoil at the notion of such intimacy with their god(s), this dynamic character of biblical salvation bears critically upon our blessed sonship identity in Christ and upon the familial tasks of missions, evangelism, preaching, and Bible translation. This session will engage the familial contours of the gospel in Jesus Christ the Son of God with an eye to the call of worldwide disciple making.

Creating a Regional Alliance for Orphan Care (Darren Washausen, Orphan Care Alliance, Louisville) - Our churches and congregations have all been called to serve in a variety of ways.  Not all churches and Christians are called to adoption, but an alliance of churches to care for the fatherless provides a variety of serving opportunities for Christians.  Large and small churches can benefit from an alliance with a minimal staff commitment while supporting a larger impact in the community.  Join us as we examine the impact an alliance can make in your community.

Pastoral Care in Adoption-Related Crises (Dr. Timothy Paul Jones)

Practical Help When Adopting Older Children (Tera Melber) – Parenting is a sanctifying experience. The adoption of older children comes with its own sanctifying challenges and blessings. Join us as we discuss acclimating your child into the family, coping with language barriers and school issues, and dealing with the past while looking forward to the future!

Spiritually Preparing Your Church to Care for the Orphan (Daniel Bennett) - You have a passion to see your church engage in orphan care ministry, but is your church spiritually prepared to do so? This breakout session will look at a variety of ways a church can prepare to obey God and care for the fatherless, focusing especially on small-group Bible studies.

Successful Life Transitions for Older Orphans (Andy Lehman) – As older orphans age out from systems of care around the world, the outcomes are heartbreaking: homelessness, prostitution, substance abuse, crime and incarceration await many who lack adequate support networks. We will share ideas and best practices in holistic life transition programs for older orphans including: Christ-centered spiritual care and mentoring, transitional housing, life skills preparation, vocational skills training, creating businesses & micro-loans, and more.

The Church’s Response to Children in Foster Care – This breakout will address in very practical ways how your church can engage with children in Foster Care in your own community. Jason Weber and Dr. Jon Bergeron of Hope for Orphans will provide real life examples of how local churches have become Kingdom entrepreneurs impacting the foster care system thru, fostering, mentoring, adoption and foster training, forever family recruitment and advocacy.

The Church & the Financial Challenges of Adoption (Jason Kovacs, Austin Stone Community Church) - The number one obstacle to adoption for most couples is the cost. This session will explore how the church can help support families and overcome the financial challenge of adoption. Practical resources will be shared as well a model for how churches can start an adoption fund.

The Gospel and Birthmothers: Ministry to the Woman Choosing Adoption for Her Baby (Stephen Story, Covenant Care Services) – Not everyone is quick to embrace the adoption of children as a good and desirable thing. Some of that opposition is based on the real or perceived abuse of birthmothers in the adoption process. Even for those who desire to honor a birthmother, it’s not always easy to know how to relate to her in a way that is helpful. A proper understanding of the Gospel has tremendous implications for how we think about birthmothers in general, and how we minister to them in particular.

The Pastoral Application of Adoption (Dr. Tim J. R. Trumper)  – Working from a summary of the salient biblical features of adoption—chiefly Paul’s exclusive, metaphorical, Trinitarian, redemptive-historical, and eschatological use of huiothesia—attention is given to the rich array of its spiritual and practical applications. Many of these spiritual applications are not new, having been worked out in the sixteenth-century by John Calvin, the theologian par excellence of adoption. Nevertheless, fresh expression is given to them in light of the present, to which are added up-to-date practical applications for personal, communal, and pastoral use today.

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