Adoption is a buzz word in many Christian circles these days. We know that the church is to care for widows and orphans. Hundreds of church families are doing what they can to care for them. There is a group of orphans that is frequently overlooked-spiritual orphans.
A spiritual orphan is an individual who is lacking a spiritual parent in his/her life. I say individual because this could be a child or an adult. Please do not misinterpret the word spiritual. It is a direct reference to the soul of man. “Spiritual” meaning “with God.” God reminds us in Romans 8 that you are either with Him or against Him. The soul of a person is what we are holding in highest regard.
Just like an orphan needs a parent to take care of his/her needs, a spiritual orphan needs a spiritual parent. A spiritual parent is someone who can teach a spiritual orphan who God is and how He desires a relationship with him. This is a practice of walking through life together-sharing experiences past or present with the purpose of a closer relationship with God. Often in the church we call this discipleship.
God intended this to be the relationship between parent and child. No one can speak to a child’s heart like his or her parent. God gave specific instructions for mothers and fathers.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
– Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Unfortunately, we find it far too common that parents do not follow these instructions, thus leaving the world with plenty of spiritual orphans. I have seen this first hand working in youth for over a decade. Far too common our church families, like the rest of society, are handing over what is jurisdictionally theirs with the thought process that they can pay someone to do this because they are a professional at it!
It is difficult to be a spiritual parent. Not only do spiritual parents need to pour all that they are into the spiritual orphan, but they also need to seek ways to restore what God originally intended. They must seek to encourage and equip the parents back into the role as the primary disciplers of their children.
7 Places to Find Spiritual Orphans
Where do we look for these spiritual orphans? First, we should begin in our homes. Then we should look in the church and in the community. Here are some places you might look to find spiritual orphans who need you:
1. Family Members
2. Extended Family Members
5. Children Ministry
6. Youth Ministry
7. Sunday Morning Worship
Every day we need to have our eyes open looking for these orphans and seeking way that we can love them. If God opens the door for this relationship to grow, then we have the opportunity to form a spiritual adoption. Spiritual adoption is a biblical idea; after all, it is what Christ did for us. The Bible also recorded lots of other spiritual adoptions. Such as:
• Paul & Timothy
• Naomi & Ruth
• Josiah & Hilkiah
• Mordecai & Esther
• John Mark & Barnabas
• Eli & Samuel
• Nathan & David
• Elijah and Elisha
• Jesus & the disciples
What great examples spiritual adoptions can look like. I will speak more to specifics of spiritual adoptions in a future post.