If I Were the Pastor
Back in the day when I served as a youth pastor and then later church planted and served on staff at a larger church, we had a little routine when people would start sentences with “If I were the pastor…”.
We’d roll our eyes.
Most pastors have a similar routine. They may be more gracious than I ever was, but inwardly, when they hear someone announce what they would do if they were the pastor, they’re fairly dismissive, because generally, that sort of input is reactionary and not helpful. People announce what they would do if they were the pastor in reaction to what their pastor is not doing…and of course, because they’re not having to actually do it anyway.
With that preface, I’m going to tell you what I’d do if I were the pastor and I’m going to tell you why. I think this applies to pastors of all sorts – large churches, church plants – wherever you are in development or achievement.
If I were the pastor, I’d promote adoption.
If I were the pastor of a church, I’d make sure my people knew how, knew why, and had help doing it. Why?
Adoptive families flock together.
This is probably the most carnal reason to promote adoption, but it’s true. You never find a solitary adoptive family in a church – you either find zero or you find a lot. If someone in a church can break past the confusion, disinformation and financial barriers to adopt, it gives others confidence to do the same.
Honestly, a church planter could build a congregation this way. Granted, a lot of the attendees would be knee high, but Jesus seemed to have a soft spot for those kind anyway.
Additionally, adoptive families find one another. They have similar challenges and experiences, so they’re going to do life with people who have walked their road. They might as well find that life at your church as the guy down the street.
Adoption teaches our younger ones that reality exists outside of themselves.
I have four children that are small enough to be entirely convinced that the entire universe revolves around them. The older three – and myself – are generally aware that there are valid needs outside of our own, but occasionally lapse.
Adoption is a great way to teach young ones – our children and new Christian converts – that there are people in the world who are in need and it’s our responsibility to help meet those needs. Confronting that reality turns a family and a church inside out. This is why many families start thinking they’ll adopt a child and end up adopting three – once they’re exposed to the need, it’s hard to lay awake and night and worry about the lives of your favorite tv show’s characters. You’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Adoption is part and parcel of the Gospel.
James 1:27 refers to it as the measure of pure religion. The inference is clear – without caring for the orphans and widows, we have no right to claim we’re actually doing church.
We’re at an interesting point in church history, where the plummeting price of technology and an increasingly individualistic society has led to an explosion of congregations where the package is the product. If you ask people about their church, you’ll hear more about how the Gospel is presented than what is actually shared…because there’s more energy behind the mode than anything else.
Understand, I’m for using the latest and the greatest. Why not? But not at the expense of the greatest message of all time. I long for the day – and we’re getting there – when our churches are as convinced of their need for an adoption ministry as they are their need for a coffee shop. (For clarity’s sake, I’m in favor of both, but certainly in that order.)
So, there you have it. If I were the pastor, I’d promote adoption.
And I’d probably lose the comb-over.
And tell the youth pastor to try and quit dressing like the kids. It’s not convincing and they’re embarrassed for him.
Married since 1989, Randy and Kelsey have spent their entire adult life in ministry as youth pastors, church planters, pastors, and prayer missionaries. They live in Kansas City, Missouri where, in addition to starting and serving with The Zoe Foundation, they serve as prayer missionaries with the International House of Prayer and on the leadership team of TheCall. They are proud parents to 3 sons and 4 daughters. Randy regularly blogs on ministry, family, and adoption issues. Go check his blog out for a good read.
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