The Life Cycle of Renewal is an annual rhythm designed to help us engage with Christ’s renewing work in our city, our world, and our lives. While poverty is often defined in solely socioeconomic terms, we are each created in the image of God with innate value and dignity and this intrinsically valuable personhood is not only affected by economic and social systems, class, and material wealth, but also by relationships, spirituality, culture, family, and opportunity. Brokenness in any of these areas creates poverty. We share a mutual poverty in which we can identify with one another.
Christ, in his love for us, identified with our poverty, died to set us free from the yoke of slavery, the curse of sin and death, and to make us whole as part of his family forever. He continues to make us whole — this is our personal renewal in Jesus, our poverty redefined as he moves us into flourishing! He meets us in our brokenness and calls us beloved. He meets us in our isolation and shame and calls us sons and daughters. He meets us in our slavery and sets us free. He meets us in our lack and woundedness and heals us, provides for us, and builds us up in his kingdom.
As we receive and experience this renewal from Christ, we then pour it out and minister renewal to the city of Los Angeles. We love because Christ first loved us.
We are created in the image of an adopting father. Which means that we are not just an adopted people, but an adoptive one.
This will look different for each one of us. Maybe we can do actual legal adoption. Or foster care. Short term respite care. Maybe we companion with someone who is experiencing homelessness and has no one to talk to, so we adopt them as your friend. Maybe our community group wraps their arms around an adoptive or foster family by running, errands, babysitting, providing meals. Maybe we mentoring youth in high-risk situations who don’t have a positive adult role model in their lives. There are lonely people in LA that need family. LA is voted the most lonely city in America. But we are the family of God!
Families in Our Family
We’ll be sharing short videos of some of those in our church who foster or adopt as a way to better understand their stories, their needs, and the needs of our city, as well as our own story of being adopted as children of God:
During the Adopted months of the Life Cycle of Renewal, there are many ways to participate in acting out of our adopted and adoptive identity as the family of God:
Empowered to Connect
We hosted a free two-day simulcast conference for anyone interested in interacting in any capacity with adopting families or children in the foster system. Participants were equipped with a holistic understanding of a child’s developmental needs, as well as tools and strategies to effectively meet those needs, build trust, and help that child heal and grow.
Adopted Sunday was a day for us to focus on children in the foster care system, those who have been or are in the process of being adopted, their families, and those that work alongside such children and families by learning more about the foster care system and crisis in LA, meeting and engaging with local partner organizations that tackle these issues every day, tangibly and financially supporting our second annual Royal Family KIDS Camp, and getting more information about upcoming RLA outreach and service opportunities.
Princess and the Police Officer
Reality LA partnered with Hope Central Watts Church and the Los Angeles Police Department to host a father-daughter dance for 5th-grade girls attending elementary school in Compton. Girls who don’t have a father figure to invite were paired with dashing LAPD officers as their escorts for the evening!
Foster Love Supply Drive
A simple way we participated in the adopting work of God was the Foster Love Supply Drive, where we collected items for our partners at Foster Love LA. They are an emergency resource closet serving foster children and the families who love them. With over 35,000 children in the foster care system in LA, that’s a lot of packages!
Royal Family KIDS Camp
RFKC was a 5-day camp specifically for children ages 6-12 in the foster care system. The week included zip lines, nerf wars, skits, incredible music, unbelievable photos and recap videos each day, fresh-baked cookies and stories with “Grandma and Grandpa,” tea parties, times to talk about Jesus, meals with songs busting forth out of nowhere, a talent show, and so much more.