Staring the week with a guest poster with an important message for the church about Orphan Sunday. Jedd Medefind is the Executive Director of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. One day, I dream the church will celebrate No More Orphans Sunday. But until then, Jedd and I are going to go start fires.
WATCH OUT FOR THE FIRESTARTERS
Friends who battle forest fires tell me it never gets worse than when fire takes flight. Of course, a firefighter’s heart starts pounding anytime wind gets blowing behind a fire. But when burning particles start soaring and setting new blazes hundreds of yards beyond the fireline, there’s not much to do but get out of the way. The mountain is going to burn.
In the forest, this kind of conflagration is tragedy. But when the Church is lit up by a blaze like this, it’s magnificent. And the truth is, from what I see and hear from Christians around the country, that’s just what is happening. In big cities and small towns and everything in between, hearts are sparking with God’s call to defend the cause of the fatherless, lighting up with desire to make the Gospel visible in loving service to the orphan.
It is no longer just the full-time advocates trying to push the fireline forward, struggling to get others to care. Yes, these veterans are still faithfully about their work. But joining them now are thousands of newcomers—students and businesspeople, pastors and homemakers. The fire is taking flight.
Each of these firestarters has their own story. Some are adoptive parents, woken by the adoption process to the countless other children yet left behind. Some have encountered Christ in the eyes of an orphan while on a short-term mission trip or mentoring a foster youth. Others have simply been struck by Scripture, seeing for the first time the parallel between God’s love for us and a Christian’s love for orphans.
You get a bit of a visual of this at www.orphansunday.org. The Christian Alliance for Orphans designated November 8 “Orphan Sunday” as a day for these street-level advocates to spread their passion to the churches and communities. On the Orphan Sunday map, you see where fires are being lit. There are sermons…prayer gatherings…movie discussions…art shows…a youth group planning a 5 K run that includes carrying a bucket of water to spotlight the toil many global orphans face. In the weeks ahead, the map will expand further as churches sign up to show the Live from Nashville! national event.
Orphan Sunday is just one vivid snapshot of a fire that’s expanding in a way no human could orchestrate. The local firestarters are fanning embers in their Bible studies and creating a bit of friction in their congregations. Blogging. Forming orphan ministries in their churches. Aiding adoptive families. Mentoring foster youth. Pairing their home-groups with orphan homes abroad.
The results are transformative. Transformative for orphans, of course, as they experience tangible love. And for the people who open their lives to love them. But also for the broader Church, as well, as it sees the well-contained, self-warming campfire of polite religion become the blaze of selfless abandon to Christ. There’s no way to tell exactly what God will do with it all. But those who’d prefer the Church keep cool with a comfortable, just-show-up-on-Sundays Christianity had best get out of the way. The mountain is going to burn.