Over the past months, I have been asked to speak several times on the plight of the spiritual orphan. We are in a time in which Evangelical Christianity in America is rapidly thinking and considering the care of orphans at an amazing rate. Adoption, both domestic and international, have exploded. Being foster parents to hurting or abandoned children on the rise. Churches are beginning funds specifically to help families meet the cost of adoption.
Believe me when I say I am thrilled this movement is happening. But that is not orphan-care I am talking about. I am not speaking of literal orphans, as in the ones living in orphanages or in the foster care system. These children must be carried for, but these are not the ones I am trying to call Christians and churches to remember.
I am pleading for the spiritual orphan. Spiritual orphans are boys, girls, and teenagers who live in homes with NO believing parents. Neither mom nor dad, or mom and step-dad, or dad and girlfriend, none of them are believers. These children have NO biblical, spiritual, or Christ-centered influence in their lives. They live in every city, town, community and neighborhood. While there are churches on nearly every corner, these children are slowing being forgotten.
The culture says we can’t bus them in anymore or have people cruise the apartment complex and pick them up and bring them to church. Churches and caring Christians have to have permission slips and medical release forms for everything. There is a real fear of child predators and abduction among most families. Even a backyard Bible club in a neighborhood is viewed as some suspect cult trying to indoctrinate unknowing children.
Because of these cultural dynamics and a thousand others, more and more children and teenagers are being forgotten. It becomes too hard to find a way to connect and reach them for Christ. Churches tend to only want children and students who have believing parents.
But we must reach them for Christ sake. And when they do come to faith in the Lord Jesus, we must care for the spiritual orphan as our own family. They are our adopted little brothers or little sisters in Christ. They have no mom or dad to care for their spiritual needs. They have no parent to pray with them or read them a Bible story. They have you! You, their church family. Their older brothers and sisters in Christ. Their only Christian family.
Please, please remember the spiritual orphan. I was one of them.