On May 3rd and 4th, 1,500 people from 46 states and seven countries will gather at the Orphan Alliance Summit in Lake Forest California to continue their commitment to the millions of children around the world who go to bed each night without knowing the love of a forever family.
This will mark the eighth year of the Summit, bringing together Christian leaders and organizations from near and far under the umbrella of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, all with the same goal in mind – motivate and unify the body of Christ to live out God’s mandate to care for the orphan.
I’ve had the good fortune of participating in every summit since its inception in 2004, when 30 Christian leaders and more than 20 adoption agencies - including Bethany Christian Services – orphan care organizations and Christian media outlets came together in one place for the first time. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget…especially given how far the Summit has come since then. When we left that first Summit, after countless hours of intense discussion and planning, one thing was abundantly clear to every participant…God was at work. On the eve of the 2012 Summit, I’m happy to say that tremendous progress has been made since 2004, but we still have substantial work to do in order to help the millions of vulnerable children throughout the world.
The Christian Alliance for Orphans views the Summit as an opportunity to: motivate believers and churches to care for the orphan; connect believers with resources to provide care for orphans; encourage orphan care providers and advocates toward unity, model a biblical standard of integrity, accountability, and transparency; and proclaim with one voice God’s mandate to care for the orphan. It is these objectives that the Alliance’s leading family preservation agencies, including Bethany, FamilyLife, LifeSong for Orphans, and Family Life's Hope for Orphans, strive to meet in their daily operations and promote during interactions with members of the Christian community.
In the early days of its inception, the Alliance established a series of core principals to help guide us in our mission. These principals, focusing on responsive love, the commitment to the whole child, priority of family, and family preservation, among others, are just as crucial today in leading the Alliance as when they were first introduced. They also play a primary role in the direction of the Summit each year, including event speakers and breakout sessions. This year’s roster of speakers is as impressive as it is long, and features notable leaders in the Christian community, such as Russell D. Moore, senior vice president for Academic Administration and dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, and Dr. Dennis Rainey, president and cofounder of FamilyLife – a subsidiary of Campus Crusade for Christ.
I’m hopeful that readers of this blog have an opportunity to experience the Summit, directly or indirectly, at some point in their lives. It truly is one of my favorite times of the year. I look forward to updating you in the coming weeks on outcomes from this year’s Summit, so please stay tuned.