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What We’re Doing Right {Not another article how the church and it’s people have it all wrong}

The church.

The people.



Orphan Care.

The poor.

The world.

All of these–require a key thing to do things right. It’s what Jesus came for. It’s what He died for. And it’s a single word.


It seems like every time I open my computer, Facebook or whatever–there’s another article being circulated how we, the church and it’s people are screwing everything up. How we are hurting more than helping by giving and going. How to take apart a ministry to see if they are serving right. 5 things you should be looking for. Missional community being desired but it doesn’t work because everyone is too busy. Mission trips are bad. Mission trips are good. The church has orphan care all wrong. Organizations plan conferences to discuss, discuss and discuss some more…and it makes me think of that boy who went fishing.

Because y’all. There are people fishing–but they are too busy to share. Too busy to tell. Too busy to shine the light on themselves to say LOOK and see what the Lord is doing–and it is GOOD.

So there was this boy who wanted to fish. He LOVED fish. He talked about fish. He dreamed about catching fish. So he decided to invite people who were professional fish catchers to a building to talk about fishing. To learn how to fish. To talk about how not to fish. Others who loved fish came. LOTS came. It was such good banter that they decided to get together more and invite more to talk about fish…how to bait the hook…how to cast the pole–how to find the deep holes…and catch A LOT OF FISH. Their ideas were good. And they were right on some of their strategies–like an empty hook rarely catches fish. There are right and wrong ways. They were so excited about their ideas–they came home and wrote articles to tell others how to catch fish and how not to catch fish. The only problem was though–no one caught a fish that weekend.  And maybe next week they could–but there is another meeting about catching fish–so it will have to…wait.

The church.

The people.



Orphan and Widow Care.

The poor.

The world.

Y’all. I think we are talking more about the fish. More about the bait. More about how the ones fishing are doing it all wrong–than actually fishing ourselves. BECAUSE. Because if you have time to talk about the wrongs–if your hands are deeply in the buckets…full…you have no time…NO TIME…to talk about the methods. YES. Yes, there is wisdom in taking things apart and in learning from others–“when helping hurts”. But if we leave out the good–if we fail to delight and celebrate where and how He is working–then just maybe…we are the ones who have it backwards. The Lord IS doing AMAZING things in His church, through His people, through community, in missions, in orphan care, through the poor and in the world. I believe the enemy works MORE in us writing articles about how everything is wrong rather than shining light on what Jesus is doing and what is working and running right.

When you choose to write publicly about everything that is wrong–are you also writing about what is right? Because when I look around–y’all–I just don’t see all the failure. Yes, I see where man fails (because we’ve kinda had that figured out since the beginning)–but more than that–I do see where things are happening in all of these areas that are true miracles (where He works through even our failures for His glory and good–and oh my…it’s AMAZING!). There is absolutely no way you could have your hands in these and NOT see it…or not share it.

And God is good. He is alive. And oh my glory–is He ever working in these areas. You might be discouraged every where you look seeing articles of people taking everything apart. It brings fear. You feel like you don’t know enough to know how to help the poor or you just got majorly intimidated if you try to do orphan care you will do it wrong–SO…you decide not to do it at all. But y’all. That is the enemy. And this one–he will not win. (Okay. So now I sound crazy and I’ll get a few comments and unkind remarks for that boldness;). I’ll take it though.:).

Tonight. I just wanted to say a few amazing things that I see happening RIGHT here…right here around me.

The church. I ran into a homeless lady not too long ago. We had a sweet conversation. We spent some time together–I called my church. They acted. They looked after her. They did more than I could with 5 littles ones in my home. Later I ran into a couple needing help–I led them to my church–and without anyone seeing…with the world taking them apart…the church quietly found this family a place to live, provided for them until they could get on their feet–so they would not lose their dignity. No big screen story. No testimony to pat the church on the back. And I only discovered the helper to this family–the church–through running into them. Wow. We can go to this church…and complain that it’s programs don’t meet our needs. But when the needs of others are desperate–they are there. Unseen. Unblogged about. Over and over, it’s taken apart. This church. The church and it’s people–Jesus came for and died for. It will never meet our needs because it is not Jesus. But if we knew what the church was up to–we might be surprised. It’s good. I’m amazed. And I’m thankful.

It’s people. I shared a need a few months ago. There was a little boy in Zambia who attends our school. We needed to raise $5,000 for his chemotherapy. On a recent mission trip (YIKES! Those things I’ve read aren’t done well recently) a trip goer spotted a lump on one of our boys legs. We are Zambian run–so this isn’t something they see often. We had it evaluated. It was cancer. And how does an orphan get his his cancer treated? Hmmm. Oh my heart. I shared the need. Next day–I received a phone call. From a couple in California. A busy couple with a new baby–who wanted to pay $5,000 for cancer treatment for a boy named Shadrach they would never meet. This, y’all, is orphan care done right. Take it apart left and right–but this boy will live. He has a chance of life now–and so far his treatments are successful, and we are seeing improvements. A busy newlywed couple across the country who have never laid eyes on this boy…the church…it’s people…the body…they are rising up and doing something. It may not be perfect. But it’s the best we can do. And we are doing what we can–the best we can. God is working. And it is good.

Community. I’m in a small town in north Atlanta. Big city. But it feels like little community. My husband has lots of single friends. (Ladies–if you are in Atlanta–you totally need to come hang out with us;). But seriously–we decide to go to this little community group full of single folks. Believers. Meeting weekly. And I’m amazed. About 75 folks are getting together in a house–bringing potluck every week. Now we are a part of that sweet 75. We might be the only married couple there–but it’s community and it is sweet. We huddle together as we sing worship on Monday night. We dig through God’s Word. We encourage one another. And it doesn’t matter that we are in a different place than all these folks–because it is community…missional community…and it is sweet. A couple of people felt led to try for a heart dream of missional community–which now results in shoulder to shoulder Monday nights…with lots of laughter, a house full of prayers and I have like 75 babysitters now for my crew too;). These community groups, missional community groups, are happening all over. No they are perfect. No–your community might not have one. BUT if this is your desire–y’all there is sweetness in them–so don’t be afraid to start one. Don’t worry about what it needs or doesn’t need or how folks might not come or how someone might take it apart. If missional community is the desire of your heart, instead of complaining–pray about stepping out in faith–finding others to join you and trying one in your home no matter how big or small it might be.

Orphan care and widows. I watch my friends down town caring for social orphans. They sold their home. They live in the city–in the heart of Atlanta. Caring for kids. Taking risks. And loving big. Every day. Their 3 year old’s bike is stolen off their front porch and crazy things happen. But they are doing their calling well–and it’s amazing to me. I watch the Jones’s. A family in their late 40’s here in Atlanta serving with Wiphan. Tirelessly they serve. Running a ministry across the world. Employing widows to foster and care for orphans—teaching widows to run small houses as house moms…orphans now cared for–someone to watch over them–and widows who had nothing now with a job and purpose. Developing a skills training program for these widows–100% of the widows have received employment in their community after graduation. AMAZING. Unheard of right? Not really. This stuff is happening all over the world–just no one is blogging or writing about THIS part. Why? When your hands are full–you have little time to document–and certainly no time to take it or every other ministry apart. You see what is wrong when your hands are in it…so you don’t need anyone to write online to tell you how it’s all wrong. I promise you that those aren’t the people reading those articles–but instead folks who might want to jump in–but who are now discouraged. There are amazing, amazing, AMAZING things happening. I believe too many, TOO MANY, for those with their hands in it to even stop to write about. It’s exciting–truly exciting–to watch and be apart of! Recently we had an orphan taken away by an aunt from the school–it was a sketchy, scary situation–and when she found freedom–she had a safe place to run. She knew exactly what city, what school to go to–where to find safely…where she would  be cared for without expectation. Monthly, our sponsors, give–and they miss out…because they don’t get to see WHERE their money is going to. Oh my–but if they could…how blessed they would be! Yet monthly, they give with faith and with joy. There are 450 orphans off the street in a very imperfect school–but daily they are safe and off the streets. And God is good.

The church y’all–is alive and well–shining light in the darkness. Serving Him–running with Him–following Him–it’s such an exciting place to be! He is alive and well–more than well–overflowing in His goodness…healing the sick (I am one of them!)…empowering the weak…watching over the poor…being a Father to the fatherless! Truly–so much good is happening–and if we read the articles instead of jumping in…we might just miss it! If we let their pessimism of how the church and it’s people don’t know how to serve and how they are screwing it all up–then we might be frozen and scared to serve…and the enemy gets just what he wants–a bunch of His people with so much potential and gifts filled with fear to live out their calling to allow Jesus to work big and mightily through them. There are so many following the Lord–building and investing in relationship here and across the world–people slowing down–listening–hearing–acting–loving. It’s such an exciting thing to watch. I believe the Lord is working more–right now–in our day–than ever in history. Just open your eyes and see–look for Him and you, too, will see. And it is GOOD!

Be encouraged. Get excited. Step out in faith! He will provide! He is with you. And He is so good!!

Thankful to be a small part of His great big plans!




Sarah - October 10, 2013 - 8:08 am

Andrea, thanks for writing this! Very encouraging and refreshing to see positive talk about the church. I find it to be true that all too often there’s too much talk and not enough action. It’s amazing that God’s work prevails despite anyone’s lack of involvement or disagreement – which is a testament in itself to God’s goodness! Praise God!

Jennifer - October 10, 2013 - 8:40 am

Yes, yes, and YES!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I am so weary of the judgment and negativity and finger pointing. This is so timely.

Becky Gerig - October 10, 2013 - 8:55 am

I’m crying over the fact that someone took time to write this! Truth! What a breath of fresh air!

Stacy - October 10, 2013 - 9:22 am

Great job!!! Way to be bold. This is truth. We have been focusing too much on people’s issues and mistakes and when we do that, it takes our eyes off of Jesus. We are called to share his love, not point out everyone’s mistakes and try and fix them. This does nothing but cause hurt and like you said, fear. We are all human, and we will all fail from time to time. I believe it breaks Gods heart more than anything to see the church divided and see Christians focused on other Christians mistakes and trash. We all have some sort of trash that Jesus already paid the price for! . We need to get back to sharing His love and fixing our eyes on Him and not nitpicking others mistakes so much! This has been on my heart a lot lately as well. Great job!

Jeff Seevers (@jseevers) - October 10, 2013 - 11:45 am

“I want to pick a fight because I want someone else’s suffering to matter more to me. I want to slug it out where I can make a meaningful difference. God says He wants us to battle injustice, anyone who gets distracted with the minutiae of this point or that opinion is tagging out of the real skirmish. God wants us to get some skin in the game and to help make a tangible difference.” – Bob Goff #lovedoes

Lauren Casper - October 10, 2013 - 11:47 am

Amen. Thank you Andrea!! LOVE YOU!!!

Erica - October 10, 2013 - 2:06 pm

This means so much to me! I have been so discouraged lately with all the negativity towards the church and adoption. And, a small part of me wondered if I was doing the wrong thing (the enemy). This spoke so much truth and gave me so much encouragement that “yes”, God is for adoption!

Jeanine - October 10, 2013 - 8:45 pm

You are NOT crazy, you are RIGHT, sister! The enemy’s most successful tactic is to destroy the church from within! Way to preach TRUTH!

jenniferb - October 10, 2013 - 9:28 pm

Thank you for being a voice for so many! I have heard enough negative, unproductive, self righteous, attention seeking, chatter. So sad to see the enemy using believers to stifle the good works of their brothers and sisters are doing!

Beth Templeton - October 10, 2013 - 10:35 pm

Andrea, you have spoken so well of the Bride. We must never forget that the Church (even the ones we disagree with!) is who Jesus died for–the ones he is coming back for. I so appreciate how you are honoring His Bride, for I believe it is never in Jesus’ heart to dishonor the ones he loves, as is so common. Well done friend!

Shilo - October 10, 2013 - 11:10 pm

YEAH! Standing and cheering… and some tears of celebration. Thank you, thank you.

Kathy Vaughan - October 11, 2013 - 1:52 am

Thanks so much, Andrea, for this. When I read all the negativity that’s circulating, I wish people could come and see what God is doing where I work in Uganda. And everywhere the stories are repeated. He is the Redeemer, and He is at work redeeming His lost world, calling people from every nation to Himself, and using His imperfect church to do it.

Jennifer - October 13, 2013 - 4:43 pm

So exactly what I needed to hear!

Carla - October 16, 2013 - 6:22 am

This is so encouraging to me! I wrote you an email about how I was fearful about adopting for the wrong reasons. Really, it was just the enemy putting people in my path to discourage me.

I needed this today! <3

Marci - October 17, 2013 - 9:20 pm

You nailed it with this post,Andrea. God is doing such good work through the Holy Spirit with you and your family. Saying ,Yes, My Lord…is action packed. One day years ago 20 or so , we got a call from David Hicks. He was watching 2 girls struggling using a pay phone . He pulled over to help them . They had suitcases with them . They were from Antigiua. They were legally here but clueless of how to cope with life in America. That one intersection was more cars than they had seen in their lifetime. Dave call me and and shared that these girls had no place to stay . He was going to his church to ask for anyone to give them a home to stay in until they got there feet on the ground. He wanted to know if we could put the girls in our home until the church responded. I VERY reluctantly said yes. I truly wished I had not picked up the phone (no caller ID’s ) Dave said , you and Doc have a big home and it sure would be a blessing …Mary and Dave had refugees staying in their home. I told Doc that night and assured him it was temporary.It ended up years and years that they lived with us . We sent both of them to nursing school ,they both got married. They also had other church friends of theirs move in . AT one time we had 5 Antiguan’s . They all had jobs . They lived with us for almost 10 years and one never left so she is going on 19 years. No rent is charged, they are family. You , Andrea , are such a cool person. You do it ,girl .