Sustaining the Adoption
OK. You've gathered the consensus of the church leadership and chosen a people. How do you integrate the adoption strategy into your church? How well your leaders are informed and enthused about the adoption will determine how much the adoption is felt throughout the life of the church.
The U.S. Center for World Mission has many<> mobilization materials and courses to help in the process of education. We highly recommend the Perspectives course, and for a Sunday school format, Vision<> for the Nations. These materials can be very helpful in continuing to educate and motivate your congregation.
As soon as the unreached people is adopted, the pastor will want to communicate to the congregation the vision of reaching the selected people with the gospel. Beyond that, the missions or adoption committee can help keep the adopted people at the forefront of congregations prayers and thoughts. For example, one committee went to every Sunday School class to explain the adoption concept and present the unreached people. They highlighted the project during the Vacation Bible School. They made presentations at the men's retreat, a women's prayer breakfast, a couple's conference, leadership meetings, and small group Bible studies.
The coordinator and committee must continually work to keep the congregation up to date and interested in progress. This may be done through articles in the newsletter, pulpit announcements, printed literature, inviting speakers familiar with the people, skits, and artwork. One church prepared a display in the sanctuary with pictures and artifacts of their chosen people surrounding an official "Certificate of Adoption," had an information center with brochures in the foyer, and rewrote the church's "Who We Are" statement to include the adoption.
Sending your pastor to visit your unreached people. If your church has multiple staff, try to send several of them over a period of time. The more leaders you assist in developing a passion for the people, the more self-sustaining the adoption will be over time.
Becoming involved with a network will naturally provide many opportunities to work on projects among the people. Enthusiasm for and commitment to the people will "rub off" from other churches, missionaries, agencies, and pastors involved in the network.
The coordinator who excels at creative planning and coordination will be most successful. In order to develop a cooperative relationship with various teachers and leaders, plan your announcements and presentations well in advance and clear them with the appropriate leaders.
In all of this the most important element is prayer. You will certainly encounter opposition in many forms. The enemy will not release the adopted people without a fight. What better way than to stymie the efforts of those committed to their deliverance? Through prayer God will break down the barriers and bring even greater unity within your church because of the adoption. Expect difficulties, but do not lose heart. It is important that you persevere. Your success will change eternity for many.
Material contained in this article was used by permisson from Bruce Camp and the US Center for World Mission. Material first appeared in "ADOPTION: A Practical Guide to Successfully Adopting an Unreached People Group." Please contact the US Center for World Misson to purchase this manual.