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Advocacy

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How To Get Your Church Involved in Orphan Rescue.

."We want to do more to help orphans. How can we convince our church to get involved?" This is the most common thing people ask me when it comes to my role with World Orphans. I have been asked this by friends, strangers, and even church staff! Most of the time these people are adoptive parents who are passionate about rescuing vulnerable children. All of a sudden, they are reading the Bible with fresh eyes and God's heart for the orphan leaps off the pages. They wonder, "How is it I have never noticed this before?"

To answer their loaded question, I always put my pastor hat back on; it has only collected a tiny amount of dust. I then remember all the times people came to me wanting the church to do something else. Most of the time what they were really saying was, "Pastor, this is important to me...but I want you to lead this."

I empathize with church leaders, I really do. At the same time, pastors (and I include myself) need to hear the voices of the flock they tend. Some of those sheep might actually point out where the church is failing to reflect God's heart.

Here is what I do when I am approached with this question: I tell them, "Before you approach your pastor, I want you to gather your friends and family; especially those who share your heart for the orphan (this could be your adoption Facebook group, co-workers, other students on campus, etc.) Together you start a Rescue Team."

Maybe your group will:

  • Sign-up for a World Orphans short-term trip (Journey 117) to one of our projects around the world.
  • Raise money for a World Orphans project by running a Rescue Run, holding a neighborhood garage sale, starting a social network campaign, etc. Our OATs that have done this so far have all raised between $5,000 - $15,000!
  • Come up with your very own idea that will benefit orphans and vulnerable children!

After your OAT completes the study and decides on an action step, THEN you take your pastor out for coffee (you pick up the tab, we pastors like that) and share what your group is doing. Your pastor will be encouraged to hear about people in the church who are proactively putting legs to their faith and will want to encourage you and your OAT too. Be prepared to offer suggestions for how the church can take next steps in the orphan crisis, such as taking part in Orphan Sunday, inviting a World Orphans staff member to speak to the church and church leaders, sending your pastor to the Together for Adoption Pastors Conference, etc.

Here's the thing…we pastors love to get behind people in the church who take action.

We at World Orphans want your Orphan Advocacy Team to succeed, and we stand ready to help you in any way we can. But you have to make the first step and get signed up!

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Meet The Team - Matt Mehaffey

Name and position with World Orphans.

Matt Mehaffey, Director of Advocacy.

What attracted you to your current position?

My wife and I adopted two boys from Taiwan and through that journey God opened our eyes to the global orphan crisis. Soon after we were connected with World Orphans because of our shared passion for helping vulnerable children through the local church.

Where do you live and who do you live with?

Janie and I live in Orlando, FL with our two boys, Chase and Jackson.

If you could give your 18-year old self one piece of advice what would it be?

Never stop being a learner.

List three unique experiences in your life.

1. I was a contestant on the NBC prime time game show The Weakest Link (I placed 2nd).

2. Five months after bringing home our first son from Taiwan, the orphanage called to tell us Chase had a baby brother who wanted to come home too. So we adopted two brothers in less than a year.

3. I once rode in an elevator with Milli Vanilli.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

My hobbies are all over the map. I enjoy photography, writing, painting and drawing. I also like watching and playing sports. I am always reading at least three books at any given time. But hanging with my family at Walt Disney World is my favorite though.

One thing you always have on your person is...?

Nikon 7000 DSLR.

Other than the Bible [duh] what is the best thing you have read in the last year?

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

The suite in Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom!

Follow Matt on Twitter at: @mattmehaffey.

Read Matt's blog at: www.DaddyMatt.com.

"Meet the Team"

is a weekly blog series showcasing the people who make up the World Orphans team. Every Thursday morning, grab a cup of coffee and meet another team member who is using their unique talents and gifts to care for orphans and strengthen churches in the U.S. and abroad.

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