Seed Orphan Care
Being a voice for the voiceless
“Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!”
Proverbs 31:8-10 (MSG)
We believe Orphan Care is gospel work!
“God has called us to be a defender of the defenseless because that is who He is. We are returning worship to God when we show His character to the world by championing the cause of the least of these.”
By living as an example and caring for the least of these we share God’s heartbeat with our society. We get to show them that:
God does see trouble and grief. He sees the one who inflicts pain and suffering.
He can be trusted to handle it. He helps the fatherless.
Whoever welcomes children, welcomes Him.
Whatever we do or don’t do for the least of these, we do to Jesus.
Orphan care is an expression of practical Christianity. We were all orphaned; spiritually separated from our father. Our world was dark and burdensome. But He didn’t leave us there! He provided a way to be reconciled; to have a permanent family. That is orphan care.
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.”
We believe Orphan Care is obedience!
It’s not a suggestion. God did not ask us to do this, he instructed us to, starting with the Israelites.
“You must not pervert justice due a resident foreigner or an orphan, or take a widow’s garment as security for a loan. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do all this. Whenever you reap your harvest in your field and leave some unraked grain there, you must not return to get it; it should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow so that the Lord your God may bless all the work you do. When you beat your olive tree you must not repeat the procedure; the remaining olives belong to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard you must not do so a second time; they should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt; therefore, I am commanding you to do all this.”
To care for the needy, the fatherless is a command. There is no other way to interpret this. To turn away and ignore or to turn a deaf ear is sin, even rebellion. This is not a grey area. Consider these Scriptures:
“You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.”
“Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
Isaiah 1:17 (NASB)
“Your officials are rebels, they associate with thieves. All of them love bribery, and look for payoffs. They do not take up the cause of the orphan, or defend the rights of the widow.”
“But that’s the Old Testament. Jesus came and so now we’re no longer held to those laws and commandments,” you say. Yes, Jesus came and gloriously followed and fulfilled the law. But Jesus did not only follow the law; He is the law! If we love Jesus, then we are to love the law. If we love the law, then we are to do what it says: care for the needy; the orphaned, the poor, the widow, the foreigner.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
We believe Orphan Care is the business of the Church!
Caring for orphans is not the responsibility of the state or the government of another country: it’s the work of God’s people. We are the Church, and that means you are God’s plan for the orphan. This is a command to the Church straight out of the pages of Scripture. Here are a few examples:
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’”
“From my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father,
and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow.”
Job 31:18 (ESV)
“Defend the cause of the poor and the fatherless! Vindicate the oppressed and suffering! Rescue the poor and needy! Deliver them from the power of the wicked!”
If any group of people should be easily mobilized to care for orphans, it should be those whom God has adopted, those who were at one time without home and hope in this world. No community of people in this world should be more attuned to the cries and groans of orphans than the dearly loved, adopted children of God. Therefore, we, of all people on Earth, should lead the way in caring for orphans in their affliction.
We believe Orphan Care is spiritual war!
“Orphan care is far more than a humanitarian effort or an issue of social justice. This is war. When you care for orphaned and vulnerable children, when you work to reverse this vicious cycle that Satan has so masterfully orchestrated, you are fighting against the devil himself.” Johnny Carr
Orphan care isn’t charity; it’s spiritual warfare and we should expect opposition inside and outside the church. For the cause of the orphan, we fight a very real battle against a very real Enemy – an adversary who is unequivocally committed to “steal, kill and destroy” that which God created to be good (John 10:10), including families. When we stand for what God stands for, the hopeless and helpless, we stand against what He opposes: the Enemy who is establishing a destructive foothold in the lives of families and children. It is a spiritual battle at its core.
In the war that is waged over the lives of the oppressed and orphaned, Satan is the true enemy and Jesus is the glorious Hero. That is spiritual warfare defined.
Contrary to what we may feel, we’re not in a struggle against governments, regulations, birthparents, poor caregivers or broken systems. There is a larger spiritual reality in operation; a spiritual battle is waging. There is a war in the heavenly realms for the lives and souls of the millions of orphans around the world.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”
This is the battle of orphan care. We fight today with the guarantee that one day the cause itself will be exhausted, the word orphan will be obsolete and all that has been fatally flawed and marred in this world by sin and brokenness will be made right by the full and final coming of Jesus. We are to diligently fight the battle of orphan care as those who have been eternally fought for by Jesus. He is the Hero, and we now have the privilege of participating in the victory that He has already secured and standing for those in the battle who cannot stand for themselves.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
2 Corinthians 10:4 (NIV)
God has given us authority over the threats of the enemy through our faith in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We believe Orphan Care comes with blessing!
We cannot ignore that by joining Christ in this work, He blesses us; both in the present and future.
“Then the Levites (because they have no allotment or inheritance with you), the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows of your villages may come and eat their fill so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work you do.”
“If you indeed obey the Lord your God …
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.”
Deuteronomy 28: 1-6
We believe Orphan Care needs continual study and examination.
Let’s be clear on who we are talking about. According to UNICEF there are 163 million “orphans” worldwide. Most of us, when we think of the term “orphan”, think of children without parents.
UNICEF and other agencies “adopted the broader definition of orphan in the mid-1990s as the AIDS pandemic began leading to the death of millions of parents worldwide, leaving an ever increasing number of children growing up without one or more parents. The terminology of a ‘single orphan’ – the loss of one parent – and a ‘double orphan’ – the loss of both parents – was born to convey this growing crisis.”
The number of vulnerable children worldwide is estimated to be 163 million. Some of these children have two living parents but are highly vulnerable because the parents are not able to afford their care, abuse them, neglect them, or are very ill.
Of those 163 million vulnerable children, only 18.5 million are “double orphans”. If we just looked at the 163, it would be our assumption that homes are needed for all of those children, but that is not the case. Nearly 90% of those children have homes and living family members. Their entire family needs support.
In the world today there are 143 million children who have lost one or both parents. That number is equal to almost half of the population of the United States.
Every 14 seconds an AIDS death leaves another child orphaned.
Every year 12 million children become orphans.
87.6 million orphans live in Asia.
43.4 million orphans live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In Ukraine and Russia 10%-15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
There are half a million orphans right here in our country. We don’t use the term “orphan” in the United States, but our society is not above this crisis.
Every day, 18,000 children die from causes we can prevent.
We need to take action. This our initiative.
Speak Up: “Being a voice for the voiceless should influence our worldviews, our morals, our politics and our practices. I’m convinced it is one of the greatest social justice issues of our generation.” Greg Stier
As a ministry of Seed Church it is our mission to embrace, embody and expose the Gospel within the realm of orphan care by speaking for, promoting and protecting orphaned and vulnerable children both locally and globally. It’s our desire to see every person discover and live out the call that God has placed on their hearts to care for the fatherless. Orphan care is the responsibility of every person: Not everyone can or should adopt, but everyone can care for children.
There is a lot we can do, but we should start with the passions we already have growing in our church body: adoption, foster care, trafficking, and orphans in Tanzania.
Promote Adoption: There are millions of children who need permanent families. They need the love and care of a mom and dad. Who better to adopt than those who have been adopted?
Promote Foster Care: These children have become “orphans of the living” through no fault of their own! They need our love, support and protection.
“Whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me. “
Promote Family and Prevention: “Man made orphanages for children, but God made the family for children.” Johnny Carr While orphanages, group homes and institutionalized care are compassionate responses to the needs of vulnerable children, research shows that a child thrives in a permanent family which lasts throughout their lifespan. Intact families prevent orphans. We need to also address the issues that rob children of families in the first place.
Protect Children: We are the watchmen. Be alert! From neglect and abuse to starvation and trafficking, we need to be ready to jump to their aid.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone tied around his neck and to be thrown into the sea.”
Our cause is for those who have no voice. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. These are not new concepts, but they are biblical. Our call is to follow Christ in obedience and faith. What will you do?
All Scriptures are taken from the NET Bible, unless otherwise noted.
Lindsy Wallace, ALightBreaksForth.com; ”Caring for Orphans as a Church”
Jason Johnson, jasonjohnsonblog.com; “The Real Enemy in Orphan Care”
WorldOrphans.org; “Theology of Adoption”
Saddleback Church; Orphan Care Initiative
Greg Stier; A Voice for the Voiceless
Johnny Carr; Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting
Tony Merida and Rick Morton;Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care