What exactly is Orphan Sunday?
God birthed Orphan Sunday through the generosity and compassion of His people in Zambia. In 2003, during the height of the AIDS crises, a Zambian pastor pleaded for his congregation to care for the AIDS orphans in their community. The members of the church were poor themselves. But as the service ended, one after another stepped forward with money, food and other goods. Some even removed their own shoes and placed them in the offering for orphans.
This movement to care for orphans spread throughout Zambia. In time it reached the United States where the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), an alliance of churches and Christian organizations caring for orphans and vulnerable children, began promoting Orphan Sunday in the US.
Today, hundreds of churches around the world unite on the second Sunday of November to remember the orphan and to encourage their people to care for them in Christ’s name.
How is the Evangelical Free Church of America involved?
GlobalFingerprints, the child sponsorship arm of the Evangelical Free Church of America, is partnering with CAFO to promote Orphan Sunday. On the second Sunday in November, many EFCA churches will highlight GlobalFingerprints and encourage their people to sponsor children.
Tell me more about GlobalFingerprints
GlobalFingerprints was launched in 2006 to help the Evangelical Free Churches of the Democratic Republic of Congo respond to the overwhelming number of AIDS orphans.
Today, GlobalFingerprints serves nearly 3,500 children in 10 countries. When a child is sponsored, GlobalFingerprints ensures their educational, medical and nutritional needs are met. Even more importantly, they make sure the children learn about Jesus and are connected to the local church.
What makes GlobalFingerprints unique is its connection to ReachGlobal, the Global mission of the EFCA. GlobalFingerprints not only helps children in great need, it also helps plant and strengthen churches. In some cases, GlobalFingerprints provides church planters access to areas they could not reach otherwise.
Why should our church partner with GlobalFingerprints on Orphan Sunday?
One important aspect is discipleship. The Bible instructs His people to care for orphans and the poor.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…(James 1:27)
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. (Proverbs 14:31 (NIV))
You want your people to follow the scriptures. But most Christians have no idea where to begin helping the poor. Child sponsorship through GlobalFingerprints is one simple way they can respond to the Bible’s call to help the poor and orphans.
Encouraging your congregation to sponsor children through GlobalFingerprints on Orphan Sunday has another great benefit. It engages your people in missions. When a member of your church sponsors a child, they have a connection with what God is doing in another part of the world. As they pray and support the child financially, their heart for the world will grow.
Of course, your people aren’t the only ones who will be impacted! Your involvement in Orphan Sunday will also transform the lives of children. When someone from your church sponsors a child, that child will receive an education, proper nutrition and medical care. Most importantly, they will learn about Jesus and be connected to a local church. What a privilege and joy to be part of God’s work in transforming children! (See our blog for stories of transformed lives – globalfingerprints.blog.)
So, what would it look like for our church to participate?
At the most basic level, you will show the GlobalFingerprints video which features an orphan helped by child sponsorship and encourage your congregation to sponsor a child. Volunteers will staff a table in the foyer to answer questions and register people who are interested in sponsoring a child.
For greater impact you might consider running a GlobalFingerprints campaign over several weeks. With a campaign, your church sets a goal to sponsor a certain number of children, maybe even in a specific country, and promotes sponsorship for several weeks. (Perhaps from Orphan Sunday to Thanksgiving) This gives your church the opportunity to pull together to make a much larger impact in one area of the world.
What’s described here is just the beginning. You could theme the entire service to God’s mercy, add programming for the children or encourage the youth to do a fundraiser to help the poor. The possibilities are limitless.
This may seem a bit overwhelming. That’s why you might want to appoint someone in the congregation (perhaps even someone who already sponsors a GlobalFingerprints child) to coordinate the event. GlobalFingerprins will help recruit that person and will provide them all the support and resources they need leading up to Orphan Sunday.
What will GlobalFingerprints provide?
GlobalFingerprints will provide everything you need for your Orphan Sunday promotion.
- Sample announcement
- Background slides
- Bulletin inserts
- A guide for your Orphan Sunday coordinator
- Support for your Orphan Sunday coordinator
- GlobalFingerprints t-shirts for workers
- GlobalFingerprints give away items
- GlobalFingerprints brochures
You will find copies of the most recent Orphan Sunday materials here.
What’s the next step?
GlobalFingerprints would love to partner with you to help children in great need. Working together, we can see God transform the lives of hundreds of children.
If you have questions or want to register to join the effort, please contact Greg Norwine at firstname.lastname@example.org.