Are We Doing Our Part?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in distress
and keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 NIV
This verse speaks to the heart of God. The church plays a vital role in being a part of the answer to problems we face in our society, and this does not change when it comes to the subject of foster care. As a pastor, I have realized that we can become so focused on the “church” that we lose touch with the present needs facing our communities. I do not feel this is intentional, but the church must take a step back and ask the question – “Are we doing our part?”
In James 1, we look at the context in that verse 27 was written. We see that James was admonishing the church to not just be hearers of the Word but be doers. The church can no longer afford to hear about the problems and challenges we face as a society and speak to it, but rather the church must be launched into activation and move towards action. The church must also realize that no one church can solve every issue. H.E. Luccock said this, “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” The church needs to come together to partner with those in their communities who are making a difference.
Almost one year ago, my wife and I watched the movie Instant Family, a movie inspired by actual events that tells the story of a couple who entered the world of foster care. During this movie, God began to stir something in our hearts for the foster care community. We knew this was more than just something personal, but this stirring had something to do with our pastor’s local church. Not long after this, God connected our paths with Kim Bigler, Founder of James Samaritan (a faith-based nonprofit reaching the foster care community in the Covington area). She brought to my attention that the Covington region accounted for almost 25% of the foster care problem in our state. I was aware of the need but failed to realize until this moment that need was so great in my very own backyard. This awareness was a defining moment that prompted us to go all in.
Since then, we have partnered with James Samaritan in local outreaches, participating in Open Table (a mentoring program for foster children and biological parents), and bringing awareness to our church on how they can get involved with becoming foster parents. I am currently serving as an active board member with James Samaritan to reach out to other local pastors and cast a vision for making a difference in the foster care community. I honestly believe that every church can do something. We do not need to get overwhelmed in our efforts to meet every need. Instead, as Andy Stanley quotes, “Do for one what you wish you could do for many.”
I conclude with what I started with – James 1:27 is the heart of God. If we believe this to be true, then it is not an option but rather a command for the church and for believers of Jesus to get involved. What will you do?