I don’t see very many widows in my children’s ministry. And in our small church there are no “physical” orphans. But there are several “spiritual” orphans. “Spiritual Orphans” are people that have no spiritual discipleship within their family. Some of their families may come to church but don’t live the life Jesus calls us to live, and others don’t bother coming. I’m not speaking of salvation, per se. I am talking about a family member in an orphan’s life that is truely walking out Jesus’ calling. Not someone that is perfect, but someone that is following the perfect one, Jesus, with all their heart. The practical application of the biblical principles are caught more than taught. The knowledge can be learned, but how it plays-out in real life is more easily followed when it’s been demonstrated. Spiritual Orphans are not limited to children; though, adults are more likely to seek out mentors. Titus 2 calls older men and women to be mentors and help disciple younger men and women. All ages should follow this call–from top to bottom. Older women can look for middle aged women, and middle aged women should seek out young women. Same with the guys. Also, teens can help younger kids (with supervision of course).
How to Find Spiritual Orphans?
Children: Most of these kids act out in inappropriate ways in class. Be sure! Not all disorder is from a Spiritual Orphan. There are very gregarious children that are very well mentored and still in training. Remember the question for Spiritual Orphans is, “ how do I apply the teachings of Jesus.” The problem is that they don’t have an example. They could be quiet or loudly inappropriate; however, the best way to know them is to ask questions, get to know their parents, and pray for discernment. As you look you will realize that this is a larger problem than you knew.
Adults: They are usually the people that look completely over stressed and frantic (especially if the have more than 2 children). Mostly because they are trying to live both for the world and for Christ. They may not even know that there is a more peaceful path. They aren’t sure what to give up and what to embrace.
Older Adults: These are the hardest group to reach. They have enough time to do both their things and God’s things. –So they think. It is so hard to reach them because they look around at all the “retired people” and compare themselves to the wrong mark. They have forgotten that all time is the Lord’s, and they are comfortable.
How to minister to Spiritual Orphans?
Children: Have helpers (any older age) in your class that can sit with challenging children and especially children that have no family discipleship. As much as possible, try to match their personalities and keep them together each Sunday. This will help them develop a relationship. In my small church, I can personally greet the children each Sunday and even ask how they are doing. Craft time is a great time to interact with the children. I am also friends with a lot of the parents, so I can invite them to a play date.
Adults: People don’t want to know what you have to say until they first know that you love them. And quite frankly, I can’t hear what anyone has to say, until they help quit the children. Talking is a great way to get to know each other, but helping tells them you love them. You must step into the craziness that is the life of a young mom. How does it go:
- Get to know each other
- Loving help
- Talk about life and give practical advice on how to live more like Jesus
Older Adults: Pray and be a light. And if you are older be an example. Thank you, to all those who are living God’s call in your life. You are running the race well, and are an example for me to follow.