This is a guest post of a friend of mine named Ken Gross. Ken has a heart for worship, and for responding to God's call on his life. In this post, Ken shares and interesting bit of logic tied to taking care of Orphans (i.e....James 1:27). Thank you for sharing Ken!
Christian Orphan Policy
I was reading a book recently and I ran across a term called replacement birth rate. This is the rate of live births a nation has to have to replace its population. The number for the modern world is about 2.1, meaning that we need to have an average of 2.1 babies born per child bearing woman to keep a population where it currently is. The US is about on target, but Europe runs at close to 1.5, meaning their population is doomed to decline unless they change it or have significant immigration from somewhere.
Obviously there are many implications to these kinds of demographics, and I started wondering how this applies to the Christian community. What is our replacement rate, and even if we replace, are we “training up a child in the way he should go” (Pr 22:6), meaning will he or she end up as a Christ follower? Even if we have the average replacement rate and all our children accept Christ, aren’t we just holding our own? I know that this ignores any fruitful evangelism we might succeed in here in the US, but are we successful at that? Based on the decline in church attendance here in the US, we are not succeeding at either moving our children toward Christ or helping our neighbors, “see the light”.
Now, let’s take a little leap here. Consider this verse from James:
James 1:27 - Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. NASU
It appears that God the Father is particularly sensitive about widows and orphans, which means we ought to be too! I will leave the consideration of widows for another time, and focus on orphans; children without parents.
In looking at the need to improve our “Christian replacement rate”, there is one way the great commission (Mt 28:18-20), and the desire to obey God in taking care of orphans, can be tied together. If Christian families adopted more orphans, there would be fewer left in the world, this would please God. If we were somewhat successful at pointing these adopted children toward Christ, we would increase the size of the Christian community in the US. This is a win-win situation in the context of scriptural obedience.
The only loser would be our pocketbooks, and this is where it gets interesting. If Christian families that cannot or are not willing to adopt orphans would financially contribute, it would go a long way to helping the families that would be able to adopt. If we adopted a simple personal “Christian Orphan Policy” at the family or individual level we could see some interesting results.
Each adopting family would have a policy of adoption and financially contributing whatever their resources would allow. Each non-adopting unit (Family or individual) could have a policy of contributing a small sum of money over and above their monthly tithe, they would have to pray about this and eventually figure out what small sum was appropriate. In this article I am going to use $10 per month.
Another consideration I would make is to restrict such giving to local situations, for example at individual churches or having a loose partnership of like minded churches within a community. This would avoid the inevitable financial and operational drag that comes with excessive oversight and distant decision makers. Mostly it would make the giving up close and personal.
Let’s take a medium size church of say 500 hundred giving units, it might be 400 families and 100 teens and singles, but it could be any combination. 500 giving units at $10 per month is $60,000 per year. When we add in gifts and grants that are frequently available from other sources, we end up with a significant sum of money. That would go a long way to helping the adopting families within that church. This small gift system could facilitate adopting as many as 5 children a year from overseas or more than 10 a year locally.
A small sacrifice for each of us, but very effective in its outcome. Just something to think about.