For Matt Capps, adoption used to be an “abstract category” that didn’t really apply to his life. Then he and his wife, Laura, saw their world changed forever as the couple from North Carolina adopted their son, Solomon, – now 2 years old – from Ethiopia.
Even with Capps’ personal connection to the needs of orphans, he contends ministry among those children who do not have parents or are neglected should be on the radar of all followers of Christ.
“As Laura and I prayerfully decided to adopt, the orphan crisis became a life-changing reality,” said Capps, an associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
Matt Capps, far right, seen here with his wife, Laura, and their adopted son, Solomon, will facilitate the Adoption & Orphan Care breakfast and panel discussion June 20 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. Breakfast begins at 7 a.m., and the panel discussion starts at 7:15. Russell Moore, Johnny Carr, Tony Merida and David Platt will discuss the theological foundation for caring for the fatherless. The event is sponsored by the North American Mission Board and Together for Adoption.
“Our son, Solomon, is such a blessing from God. My heart not only overflows with love for him, but the reality of our adoption in Christ sits deep within my soul like it never had before.”
Capps will facilitate the Adoption & Orphan Care Breakfast and Panel Discussion June 20 during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in New Orleans. The free event will be held 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. in Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and is sponsored by the North American Mission Board and Together for Adoption. The purpose of the event, said Capps, will be to gauge the interest of Southern Baptists in the topic while also creating awareness of orphans and neglected children.
The panel will include pastor Tony Merida, co-author of Orphanology and pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh. Other panelists include Russell Moore, author of Adopted for Life and dean and a vice president at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.; Johnny Carr with Bethany Christian Services; and David Platt, an adoptive parent, author and pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.
“I figured these four would be great to get on the panel to talk about what is the call for us as a convention,” said Capps, who will facilitate the discussion. “How are we supposed to respond as a convention? That’s the main aim.”
In 2009, Moore (one of the panelists mentioned above) brought before the SBC a resolution to promote adoption and orphan care. The resolution, which was overwhelmingly approved, states: “That we encourage local churches to champion the evangelism of and ministry to orphans around the world, and to seek out ways to energize Southern Baptists behind this mission.”
“In their book Orphanology, Merida and [co-author Rick] Morton argue that the church is the most powerful force in the world,” Capps said.
“That is an important point if we’re not only about proclaiming the gospel but also reflecting the gospel. We have to take serious the problems of the world and heed the call to orphan care.”
Worldwide there are estimated to be about 145 million orphaned children, Capps said.
“That is about 40 percent of the U.S. population … children without parents,” he said.
In North Carolina, alone, there are thousands of children in foster care.
“The number changes weekly,” Capps added.
“Where I’m located right now there [are] approximately 800 children in foster care, just in one county.”
Capps contends the Southern Baptist Convention has the resources and people to make a difference with this issue.
“With the amount of Southern Baptist churches we have in the state, I think if every church adopted one child,” he said, “we could pretty much wipe out foster care.”
There also is an opportunity for church leaders to minister to couples who have or are planning to adopt.
“If you’re a church minister thinking about adoption, or just have a heart for orphan care, I think this is going to be a good equipping event just to kind of give you a basis of knowledge that you can work with,” he said.
“It’s been great to see this become something we’re at least willing to talk about in the convention.”
The first 200 attendees at the event will receive a copy of Orphanology by Merida and Morton, and Reclaiming Adoption, edited by Dan Cruver.