ACTION STEPS for Churches
Our church (and I as an active member of our church and the Body of Christ) accepts the challenge put forth by The LUKEWARM Initiative and we:
· agree with and will adhere to the ‘12 Articles of Christian Family Faith’ as submitted by The LUKEWARM Initiative.
· We are committed to supporting at least one family, every year, in caring for an orphan and essentially becoming permanent (when possible) ‘immediate’ and ‘extended family members’ to that child.
· We commit to intentionally praying for each new family and each adopted child, leading up to, during, and beyond the adoption process.
· Once our church adopts the initiative, we set a day for prayer & fasting to prepare us to do God’s work in the hearts of Christian married couples, families, our church, other churches, the Body of Christ as a whole, and in the lives of the children who will be adopted. (Some churches may choose to do this day of prayer & fasting before the church adopts the initiative.)
. We will pray regularly (at least weekly), individually, and corporately, for God to choose, guide & mature, and sustain our new adoptive family, each year. We will pray for specific and general prayer requests communicated by the adoptive family. We will pray for our Holy Spirit’s guidance and protection for the family/adopted child. We will pray for the adopted child to grow to choose Jesus as Savior and Lord and to be used by God to do great things for His glory and honor. We will pray that God will use each adoption to bring our church and community closer together in Jesus and that He will not allow Satan to divide the family, our church, or the Body of Christ over matters related to each adoption.
· We will select a committed ‘Point Person’ from within our church who displays a passion for the purpose of The LUKEWARM Initiative, agrees with and abides by it’s ‘12 Articles of Christian Family Faith,’ and shows maturity in his or her Christian life as an imperfect, humble Christ-like example to others. This person will be trained to be the ‘point of contact person’ to point people with questions and needing information, toward the appropriate resources. This person will take the burden of any work off the shoulders of the pastor and leadership team (eg. deacons, elders).
· We commit to having a ‘new’ ‘24/7 Family’ each year who commit to supporting the ‘new’ adoptive family/new adopted child for that year. Some, none, or many within the 24 may be the same people committing again the following year(s). The ‘new’ adoptive family may, in some instances, be the same family adopting again (if they are actively interested and there is no other family who has completed training and had their application accepted by our church), but will most likely often be a different adoptive family.
· We commit to supporting adoption through foster care (which is inexpensive and sometimes costs almost nothing) and to doing a ‘24/7 Family’ team-building work day for a widow in need at her house. This widow may be from our church or community. We will build and continue to strengthen relationships with the widow, the orphan & the adoptive family, and with each other as the ‘24/7 Family,’ using this work day as a ‘launching pad’ for new relationships and for strengthening existing relationships. The adopted child is of course included if that child is old enough to safely participate in the days’ relationship building experiences at the work day for the widow.
· We commit to making domestic or international adoption a more realistic financial goal (adoption through foster care is inexpensive, but domestic and international adoption is expensive) for our LUKEWARM Initiative Potential Adoptive Family (when that family does not adopt through the foster care system, which is quite inexpensive and sometimes costs almost nothing), by each of the 24 committed ‘extended family members’ participating as the core team of a Both Hands (www.BothHands.org) project. This project helps a widow with practical needs in and around her home, while at the same time raising funds for the family’s domestic or international adoption. The ‘24/7 Family’ and the adoptive family are coached by Both Hands how to get friends and family members to sponsor them as they do a work day to help a widow, and 100% of funds raised go toward saving a life through adoption (the average domestic adoption costs about $30,000+). Both Hands projects raise, on average, about $12,000. Churches use www.lifesongfororphans.org through the Both Hands organization to simplify and separate the financial process away from being directed through the church. When a family is adopting through foster care, a similar work day for a widow will be done, without the Both Hands fundraising aspect (see below in the section: What steps (in order) do we take once our church commits to The LUKEWARM Initiative?).
· We will conduct prospective adoptive family interviews, lead by a selection committee (or existing church leadership team). Families (faithful Christian couples who show interest in, and evidence of, Christian growth) interested in being our church’s LUKEWARM Initiative family each year may communicate interest, but will first need to be approved by a state- (or province-) approved adoption agency or adoption through a foster care agency. This agency will provide the required screening, home-study, and necessary training, counseling, and other necessary requirements. We will not ‘pencil in,’ nor ‘put in a good word for’ a couple before they have met the necessary requirements, because if more than one couple is interested that year, it could bring about division among the church. Once a married Christian couple has met the state requirements and been approved by a state-licensed agency, our church will receive their application to be our church’s adoptive family (or families in larger churches with more than one group of 24 ‘extended family members’ committing). When more than one family meets the requirements of, and are approved by, a state-approved agency and submit an application to our church for a given year, applications will be processed on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis. Families who are ‘2nd or 3rd in line’ (if that occurs) for a certain year will be placed at the top of the list for the following year. Interested families can go through the training and approval through an agency prior to the year they want to apply to be our church’s LUKEWARM Initiative Adoptive Family.
See ‘ADOPTIVE FAMILIES’ section for more specific requirements to be accepted by our church as the LUKEWARM Initiative family in a given year.
· We will require Christian mentorship and accountability of our adoptive family, related to the ‘12 Articles of Christian Family Faith.’ Active teaching/ supporting/ encouraging growth of Christian relational and spiritual maturity – this is a requirement for our church to provide and for our adoptive family to agree to participate in, prior to being initially selected. This can be accomplished through an existing church program or through use of existing Bible studies.
· We will directly influence and ‘sponsor’ 3 other evangelical Christian churches to adopt the LUKEWARM Initiative’s challenge. Their church name will be added to ours as being ‘sponsored’ by us once they join the initiative. We will promote The LUKEWARM Initiative to other churches, until we have ‘sponsored’ at least 3 churches, by communicating this life initiative through traditional and creative means (eg. in conversation with other Christians, ‘sharing’ The LUKEWARM Initiative on social media, or even doing things such as organizing a community event or 5k walk/race to get the word out about Christian churches helping their families adopt children in need).
What steps (in order) do we take once our church commits to The LUKEWARM Initiative?
· Once your church adopts the initiative, they set a day for prayer & fasting to prepare them to do God’s work in Christian married couples, families, your church, other churches, the Body of Christ as a whole, and in the lives of the children who will be adopted. Some churches may choose to do this day of prayer & fasting before the church adopts the initiative.
· Once the church has accepted the ‘12 Articles of Christian Family Faith’ and agreed to the LUKEWARM Initiative ‘Action Steps,’ your ‘point person’ then emails your church’s name, church leaders names, and point person’s name, to The LUKEWARM Initiative. Those names are then added under your church, to a list of other churches in your state on www.lukewarminitiative.com. You gain access to all necessary information, resources, and links to tools, all for FREE.
· ‘Point person’ who has a passion for The LUKEWARM Initiative’s purpose, works through self-training information preparing to receive interested commitment from 24 people and at least one couple who is likely already interested in adopting a child, but may have been overwhelmed by going through the process ‘alone’ in many ways (spiritually, emotionally, financially, practically).
· Pastor and/or ‘point person’ presents The LUKEWARM Initiative to the church body, encouraging, challenging, and then inviting at least 24 people to seriously consider actively committing to support an adoptive family/adopted child. This happens once a family has gone through a state-approved agency (this may take 2-3 months or less), and had their application to be your church’s LUKEWARM Initiative family for that year accepted by the existing church leadership or a selection committee, or a combination of both. Pastor or ‘point person’ also invites couples who have been considering adoption to pray about whether God would have them adopt a child now, next year, in the years to come, or close the door for adoption, but support the initiative and adoptive families as part of the ‘24/7 Family’.
· Interested couple(s) go through state- (or province -) approved adoption or adoption-through-foster-care screening and training/approval requirements process, then upon completion/approval, submits their notice of approval along with application to be our church’s LUKEWARM Initiative Adoptive Family for that year.
· Couple(s) applying is interviewed by church leadership or selection committee or combination of both. They are approved to be the LUKEWARM Initiative family for that year, on a first-come, first-serve’ basis, if they display evidence of Christian lifestyles.
· Each year, the Pastor or ‘point person’ presents the new, approved LUKEWARM Initiative potential adoptive family to our church family. An invitation is given for 24 people to prayerfully commit to actively being ‘extended family members’ to that family and the child who they will adopt. They sign on/commit after reading and understanding their role well, by adding their name to the ‘24/7 Family’ list that the point person compiles. Later on, 7 of the 24 further commit to essentially being permanent (when possible) ‘immediate family members’ to the adopted child, if interested and able, when asked by the adoptive family/adopted child.
· The 24 do this by going to www.lukewarminitiative.com, carefully reading the information for the group of 24 and committing to the Action Steps, including the 12 Articles of Christian Family Faith, by signing a printed out version of both (kept by the point person). The point person then emails the 24 names who have signed, adding them to the names of pastors/church leaders, the hopeful adoptive parents, and the point person’s name, to The LUKEWARM Initiative. Their names are then added, by The LUKEWARM Initiative, under your church, under your state, on www.lukewarminitiative.com. Some computer illiterate individuals and people without access to a computer or internet will need assistance from other church members to do this.
· Once the church leaders, hopeful adoptive parents, point person, and at least 24 people have signed on under your church on www.lukewarminitiative.com, your church has actively accepted the challenge set forth by The LUKEWARM Initiative, and is ‘live.’