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Adopting a family, a “new” yet old outreach path

Here’s a mental twister to get you thinking–If Christ is your life, and we are called to share Christ with others, doesn’t that mean you should be sharing your life with them?

That’s the transitive property at work for all you math wizards out there.

And in our disconnected and distracted society, there are few things more powerful and impactful than sharing your family life with another family. After all, more and more families are living without any knowledge or engagement with a local church, and as a result, have fewer relationships of any real depth outside their immediate family.

All of this creates a household of isolation and loneliness that these men and women, whom God loves deeply, simply cannot solve without Him. 

As Christian families, we exist on this earth to step into this need. We want to reach hearts with the gospel. We want to preach Christ to the nations. We want to be a light in the darkness.

And that often starts with simply sharing a meal with another family.

Costly and Personal

Many well-meaning Christians will raise their hand and proclaim they are willing to die for Christ, but the real question is “are we willing to endure a potentially awkward get-together for the sake of the gospel?”

The decision to invest family time and energy into adopting another family and caring for them is costly and personal—“free time” is precious. They may disagree with how you live your life, or think you disapprove of how they live theirs, and all of that assumes they allow you to get close enough to them.

Building a relationship with another family may happen quickly or it may take years, but regardless of how long the relationship takes to develop, the impact of a family coming to know the Lord will echo for generations—and that should be our constant encouragement when our offers are rejected or our times with other families are strained and difficult.

The Layers of Family Adoption

There’s no step-by-step guide to life-on-life discipleship of another family. If there was, and you were to follow it, it would probably come across as stiff and impersonal. 

But for the sake of being practical, here are some thoughts to guide you as you seek to grow a relationship with a family you want to minister to. Again, this is a list of ideas, not a checklist to complete:

Layer 1 - Initiate
  • Have them in your home for meals, games, dessert, or any other creative ideas you can think of.
  • Serve them by offering to help often.
  • Know basic information about them: names, kids, jobs, childhood, etc. 
  • Pray for them regularly. Pray for wisdom for how to best deepen the relationship and share Christ.
  • Share your life with them. Look for organic ways to have regular contact that is not as intense as having them over for a meal (dog walking, child play date, pickleball, child sports league, fantasy football, etc.) 
  • Invite them to help you by asking to borrow a tool or a good old fashioned “cup of sugar.”
  • At some point, talk about God by having “God conversations” that reveal who He is using Scripture in brief ways.
Layer 2 - Respond
  • When the adoptee initiates contact, follow up immediately.
  • Introduce them to some of your Christian friends.
  • When the adoptee asks for help with something, go above and beyond in meeting the need.
  • Clearly present God, the Word, and the Gospel over the course of many conversations.
Layer 3 - Call to Faith
  • Study the Word together, and understand that you will usually need to invite them to do this (on a one-time basis or over several weeks).
  • Invite them to church.
  • Call them to belief.
When Progress is Difficult

Be warned. Oftentimes, you are going to have to work to keep the connection going. If the family you are trying to reach is unreceptive or unresponsive, you have 3 tools at your disposal:

  • Be available.
  • Pray for them.
  • Set a reminder for yourself to follow up every six months to see how they are doing.

Keep yourself encouraged to press on with resources like The Gospel Comes with a House Key or verses like Galatians 6:9-10. 

Lord willing, the family you “adopt” will someday receive an even better adoption into the “household of faith.”

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” 

Galatians 6:9-10 ESV

Baptist Church Planters exists to help church leaders build healthy disciple-making churches. If you need support or resources to generate real and sustainable fruit in the life of your church, please reach out to us today. We’d love to help.

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