April 16th, 2013
Christy and I have learned that in Virginia over five thousand children are in the foster care system. And 1,300 of them are legally free to be adopted; they are ready and waiting for a family to call their own. To help you learn about the opportunity of fostering, sign up for Change Who Waits, a free two hour event on Saturday, May 11, 2013.
You’ll hear from current foster parents about the joys and pains of foster parenting, and you’ll hear stories from people that grew up in the foster care system. Be inspired and informed about the process to become foster parents. And connect with several foster care agencies that will be present and explore how to start the process of changing the future of these children.
What: Change Who Waits Foster Care Rally
When: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 10 am to 12 pm
Where: Cherrydale Baptist Church in Arlington.
Interested, But Can’t Make It May 11?
An additional rally will be held in Chantilly at nZone
on June 9, 3-5 pm. If you decide to attend one of these rallies, let us know! We hope to go too.
UPDATE–The Chantilly rally has been postponed till November 2013, for National Adoption Month. It will not be held in June as originally planned.
March 26th, 2013
Global orphan care.
And what individuals and the church can do about it.
These are the themes Summit9 in Nashville, TN, will explore on May 2-3, 2013. Come join a contingent of members from Grace Church of Alexandria who are going to strengthen our church’s heart for the orphan. This practical, gospel-focused event is for every believer, from families open to fostering and adopting, and believers who want to know how to care for fatherless children, to pastoral staff, and professionals in the orphan care field.
Location: Brentwood Baptist Church, 7777 Concord Road, Brentwood, TN, 37072
Conference Schedule: See the full schedule here.
January 27th, 2013
Description: Thoughts on life, love, our community, and the cross on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade.
October 30th, 2012
At Grace Church this Sunday, November 4, we’ll be observing Orphan Sunday with churches across the globe. As November is Adoption Month, we set aside the first Sunday in November to think about God’s heart for the fatherless and how it should stir his people to care for children in need. Come join us! Here’s what’s coming up–
Sunday, November 4
10:30 am Worship Service – Orphan Sunday Theme
Preaching, testimonies, video, and songs about our spiritual adoption by God and how this motivates our care for orphans.
Sunday, November 11
9:25 am Adult Bible Class – Panel Discussion on Adoption & Foster Care
Come with your questions at a Q&A with four Grace Church families who have adopted or provided foster care.
Sunday, November 18
9:25 am Adult Bible Class – “Ministering to Women With Unexpected Pregnancies”
A social worker from Bethany Christian Services will discuss how to minister to couples who find themselves in unexpected pregnancies and are considering abortion vs. adoption, or who have made an adoption plan for their child.
Wondering more about Orphan Sunday or why adoption and foster care are such a big deal at our church? Check out more info here. And take a look at this video explaining what Orphan Sunday is all about! I’ve gotta say–we’re honored that our adopted son is featured at 0:55 in this video!
July 31st, 2012
You’re Invited to the Alexandria Vision Dinner
Grace Church invites you to the Alexandria Vision Dinner on November 2, 2012. This is an informal dinner where our church will gather with other area Christians to:
- learn about the crisis of high teen pregnancy and abortion rates in Alexandria;
- hear how Sanctity of Life Ministries (SLM) is responding with a new gospel centered initiative;
- learn how churches and individuals can make a difference.
What: Alexandria Vision Dinner
When: Friday, November 2, 2012, 7 pm (6:45 pm registration)
Where: Alexandria Old Town Hilton, 1767 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Who: Hosted by Sanctity of Life Ministries
What: Includes a talk by SLM CEO Stan Kellner, a Q&A time, and there will be an opportunity to give at this event.
RSVP: by October 29 to Jillian Kain, Reservations Coordinator, 703.780.4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org (also let Pastor Jonathan Matías know so he can save a spot at the Grace Church table)
A Christian Medical Clinic In Alexandria
SLM is looking to turn their Alexandria pregnancy care center into a medical clinic with an ultrasound machine to increase its effectiveness in our city. When the SLM Fairfax office became a medical clinic with an ultrasound machine, the percent of clients who chose life grew by 40%! Since the Alexandria office does not currently have an ultrasound machine, women sometimes say they would rather have an abortion than travel to the Fairfax office to get an ultrasound. We can work together to change this! Goals for the banquet include raising $65,000 so SLM qualifies for a matching grant offered to them, equipping believers to pray for this initiative, and informing us how to volunteer in Alexandria.
Our lead pastor Jonathan and his wife are going to host a table at the dinner. If you’d like to join them, or you have questions, please let Jonathan know by writing him here. If you have a friend who would like to come with you, please let him know and he’ll save space at the table. Grace Church of Alexandria invites you to come learn how you can be a part of bringing the gospel to women in crisis and being a voice for the unborn.
July 11th, 2012
The last few years, God has been moving in the heart of our church family to take measures to confront the the global orphan crisis. It’s been amazing over the last 3 years at Grace Church of Alexandria to see that:
- two children were adopted internationally;
- one child was adopted domestically;
- one member got a job with America World Adoption, an adoption agency;
- one member works for the Christian Alliance for Orphans;
- several families are considering adoption or foster care;
- every 1st Sunday in November on Orphan Sunday, we have a service focused on God’s heart for the fatherless.
In addition, the Lord has drawn to our church:
- a member who was adopted transracially;
- a birth mother who chose an adoption plan for her child;
- a family who, when living in China, came across neglected children in an orphanage, so they volunteered their nights and weekend to minister to these neglected children, and later provided foster care for one child.
This is not something the pastors worked to bring about. Rather, this is just a way God has been working, stirring our congregation to be ”fathers to the fatherless” (Psalm 65:5) and “visit widows and orphans in their affliction” (James 1:27). As we’ve seen this moving of God’s Spirit, we’re working to cultivate Grace Church of Alexandria as a haven for families who are opening their homes to needy children, and to equip our congregation to take further action to show Christ’s love to orphans.
To this end, here are a few resources to inform you about the global orphan crisis and describe steps you can take to minister to orphans:
Open Your Eyes to the Global Orphan Crisis: The Christian Alliance For Orphans
The Resource Library of the Christian Alliance For Orphans introduces the plight that 153 million orphans face across the world.
Learn How Adoption Works: Operation Firefly
While Christy and I adopted a baby boy this year, we’ve continued blogging to give others a window into the adoption process. Check out our posts at Operation Firefly to see the ups, downs, joys, and tears of domestic adoption.
Hear How the Gospel Fuels Orphan Ministry: Together For Adoption
The audio and written resources of this ministry show show how orphan care in the U.S. and across the world flows from an understanding of the cross, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Consider Fostering and Adopting: Adoption Agencies
I highly recommend these agencies as you consider if God wants you to foster or to adopt children who need a place to call home. Both agencies work in the Washington D.C. region and across the country:
For more resources on ways you can make a difference for orphans, check out these posts by Grace Church of Alexandria.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 65:5-6 (NIV)
March 2nd, 2012
This year’s Christian Alliance For Orphans Summit wil be taking place in Southern California on May 3-4, 2012 with the them “Justice and Mercy Flow From the Gospel.” What a great theme chosen for this year’s gathering of orphan care advocates, adoptive and foster care families, and churches that are imaging forth God’s care for the fatherless!
Wondering what Summit VIII is all about, and why it might be for you? Check out conference details here:
When: May 3-4, 2012
Where: Saddleback Church, Southern California
What: a national gathering of Christians who care deeply about the plight of orphans and are open to doing something about it (pray, inform, adopt, foster, encourage adoptive families).
Cost: Early registration $109–159 / Late registration after March 31 $125-175
How to Register: Register here.
Also, check out Pre-Summit Intensives, Special Features, and Sessions designed for unique interests and needs. There are many avenues, including special content for pastors, women, and social workers.
Share news of Summit VIII via Facebook, Twitter (use #Summit8 in your tweets), and the new Summit blog. Our church inside the D.C. beltway is spreading word about Summit VIII since we’re a member church of the Christian Alliance for Orphans and believe God calls the body of Christ to the work of caring for the fatherless.
Dr. Russell Moore, author of Adopted For Life, will be a featured speaker doing two workshops, a book signing, and much-anticipated “Men and the Cause of the Fatherless” dinnertime conversation. Here’s what he has to say about how adoption and orphan care impacts church culture. We’re seeing what he says about adoption and church come true in our own local church!
February 20th, 2012
On New Year’s Day, to help us remember God will be gracious to us in this current year, I preached from Psalm 136 about how God has continually poured out ongoing grace for his people, and specifically in the life of our church family in Northern Virginia. I listed several works of God that we saw do in our midst in 2011. I’d like to share these answers to prayer in this post, as testimonies of God’s goodness to his people.
- Conversions: We asked the Lord for conversions in 2011, and the Lord opened one business professional’s eyes and she gladly received Christ as Savior and Lord! Numerous others have heard the gospel through evangelistic Bible studies;
- Mercy: A year ago we asked the Lord to provide one of our unemployed senior citizens a job and a good place to live instead of her flooded, mold-filled rental home. He provided a great place for her to stay & remarkably, a job at the front desk of her building. She’s got the shortest commute of anyone at Grace Church!
- Commitment: Here’s a neat statistic–in the last twelve months Grace Church of Alexandria’s membership has grown by 60%, for a total of 61 members. And our new members have been a tremendous blessing to the body, by the ways they love and serve others and by their enthusiasm for the gospel and God’s work in this congregation;
- Healing: We asked for to give healing to a baby boy adopted from China so he could walk, and now he’s tooling around here on his feet every Sunday after successful medical treatment;
- Maturity: Since we are a young congregation, we asked the Lord for families & leaders with more life experience than Garrett or me (we pastors of GCA are in our 30′s). The Lord provided several couples in answer to our prayer, and the church’s demographics have grown by adding mature and seasoned families;
- Relationships with Other Churches: We asked God to provide our church good relationships with other gospel-affirming churches in the community. And so Franconia Baptist Church is now letting us meet in their building as needed with no charge for rent, Engleside Baptist Church invited our lead pastor to present at their annual Missions Conference, and our pastors have been able to preach at several other local churches inside the Beltway;
- Financial Independence: As a church plant, we asked the Lord to give us progress to becoming financially independent from our sponsoring church, Heritage Bible Church. Offerings have just about doubled– we’re just a few months away from becoming a self-supporting local church;
- Adoption: We asked the Lord to open the door by Christmas Day for a member family to be granted permission from the Chinese government to travel to China and pick up the daughter they were adopting. God answered and opened the door for them to pick her up over the holiday and add her to their family!
The blessings of the Lord are too numerous to recount them all. Truly, God is good to his people!
Our Church Plant’s Newsletter
If you’d like to receive quarterly prayer requests, praises, and news concerning our D.C. area church plant via email , you can sign up at at this page. Choose the “Friends of Grace Church of Alexandria” newsletter.
February 14th, 2012
Curious about adoption? Wondering how to get started? Want to know practical ways to serve families who have adopted a fatherless child into their home?
A one day orphan care and adoption workshop called “If You Were Mine” will be held in the D.C. area on Saturday, March 17. It is a great way to start answering your questions about loving orphans like God loves them.
- God’s Heart for the Orphan
- The Christian and the Orphan
- Testimonies From Adoptive Families
- Making Basic Decisions
- Evaluating Agencies
- Investigating Funding Options and Paperwork
- Completing Your Home Study
- Discovering Your Child
- Welcoming Your Child Home
- Finalizing Your Adoption
- Q&A With Adoptive Families
Time: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Childcare: limited free childcare slots available (up to age 6)
Lunch provided: no childcare provided during the lunch break
Cost: Early Registration (by February 26) is $15/person; $25/couple
Regular and On-Site Registration (After Feb. 26) is $20/person; $30/couple
Conference Brochure: download it here
Register: Register here.
Christy and I got started on our adoption journey by attending an adoption conference in 2010 hosted at a church. Perhaps God will use this event to stir your heart and show you how he would have you “visit the fatherless in their affliction” (James 1:27).
Our church is part of the Christian Alliance For Orphans, and we heard about this event through the Alliance. If your’re a pastor or orphan care advocate, I suggest your church consider joining the Alliance (it’s free) to get your congregation connected locally and nationally with other orphan care minded churches.
October 11th, 2011
Worldwide, over 143 million children are orphans. That is more than twice the total population of the country of Mexico!
So, as a church, what can we do about the global plight of orphans? This Sunday, October 16, if you come to Grace Church of Alexandria, you’ll hear about God’s heart for the fatherless and what we can do about it. Our worship gathering will be focused on Orphan Sunday. Join us for:
- testimonies from orphan care and adoption advocates;
- Scripture readings and prayers about God’s love for the fatherless;
- a video about the global orphan crisis;
- a handout with resources on orphan care;
- and a practical sermon with steps you can take to minister mercy.
Churches traditionally observe Orphan Sunday on November 6. Since a guest speaker was already scheduled at our church for that day, we’re dedicating this Sunday to consider how the gospel motivates us to care for those who have no voice to speak up for them. Join us, 10:30 am, Sunday, October 16.
Don’t miss “Live From Kansas City,” a live webcast on November 6 of guided prayer and global worship for the fatherless. You can also learn more about Orphan Sunday at the web site of its sponsor, the Christian Alliance for Orphans.
In addition, here are three resources about orphan care:
- 2010 Orphan Sunday sermon – “Adoption and The Glory of God;
- past blog post with adoption and foster care resources.
10/19/11 UPDATE: I should also recommend Safe Families, an emergency foster care organization that operates nationwide. They pair families up with at-risk children from homes in crisis who need a temporary place to stay for days or weeks while their family stabilizes. A worthy organization to get involved with.