David C Cook publishing is well known for their books and music, but not many people know that they are actually a nonprofit using a considerable amount of their proceeds for global ministry.
Recognizing that orphans and hurting children need more than food, clothing, and shelter, David C Cook created Half a Child to meet children’s spiritual and emotional needs, too. James 1:27 admonishes us to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” For Half a Child, this means working with children one-on-one and ministering to their unique circumstances.
When people talk about orphans, they talk about adoption, but the sad reality is that most orphans will never be adopted. We must not forget to care for them, particularly those who have been abandoned, abused, or betrayed.
After the Haiti earthquake, David C Cook noticed that trauma counselling distinguished the Christians from other humanitarian groups. Through focus groups across India, they also learned that childhood counselling is one of the major missing pieces.
So in response, they created J127, a curriculum for the developing world by the developing world. It is designed for 8 to 11-year-old orphans and features almost 500 sessions (3 times per week for 3 years). It weaves Christian teaching beautifully with collegiate-level counselling approaches but all in a way that is easy for kids to understand.
Currently, it is being extensively tested in India using trained and paid workers.
However, variations of it are also being used by the Church of Uganda (12 million members) and by 17 denominations in Bangladesh, including Presbyterians, Baptists, Pentecostal, Anglicans, The Salvation Army, and Reformed churches. They change the culture but not the theology of the program for each country. In fact, J127 functions well across global denominations and theologies. Rarely, has theology been an issue.
The intellectual property for the J127 curriculum is free of charge. However, those wishing to use it must be willing to be trained in how to use it and willing to share in the cost of printing and distribution. This customized curriculum approach involves teacher training, cultural tweaks, new lessons based on needs (i.e., lessons on child sacrifice in Africa), and rebranding if necessary.
The Story of Jesus
Half a Child also distributes a simple comic version of The Story of Jesus. In fact, they’ve already distributed over 30 million copies of it through 1-on-1 relationships.
While certainly challenging, it is exciting to see that is possible to raise the bar for 1-on-1 discipleship and still have high numbers.
You can learn more about these initiatives and how to get involved at GlobalChurch.com.