A Movement for the Voiceless
Vision is “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom” (Oxford English Dictionary). Habakkuk 2:2 says, “And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.’”
11 years ago, God gave us a vision for church-based orphan care that launched us on an incredible journey. When we saw the overwhelming problem of 400,000 kids in U.S. foster care, God pointed out the solution: 350,000 churches.
The vision we saw was of such great magnitude that writing it down felt overwhelming. But the biggest question remained, “How in the world do we get those kids into the families of these churches?” when most Christians don’t know there is a need and most pastors have never been trained to navigate the foster care system? To add to the conundrum, we were new to this space, learning as we went. We found ourselves with crystal clear vision but a strategy that God seemed to be revealing piece by piece.
When we began, foster care and adoption ministries were few and far between and there were no networks of churches joining forces to help kids find families. Over the last decade, however, we have seen God work miracles. The number of churches, networks, and missionaries involved in foster care and adoption has grown exponentially! We have seen firsthand the power of collaborative effort within the “Big C” Church. Across denominational, geographical, and demographical divides is God’s Church moving together toward a common goal: to see more hurting children find healing homes.
It all started with one trainer engaging, equipping, and empowering one church at a time to serve the kids in their one community. As we grew, so did our capacity. God gave us favor to begin training networks. As of today, Backyard Orphans has had the privilege of helping 15 networks (each representing between a dozen and 600+ individual churches) launch a formal orphan care ministry!
Vision, collaboration, and multiplication. We’ve seen these themes woven throughout our journey, but three weeks ago we experienced them like never before at the launch of the Assemblies of God Foster Care Network (AGFCN) Conference! Check out this highlight video!
Walking into the sanctuary on opening night of the conference was electric. Nearly 300 church leaders from 38 states (including Hawaii and Alaska!) and 41 networks were represented! The effort to put on an event like this allowed 27 different foster care organizations to collaborate together to serve the churches.
The service kicked off with an excitement that is difficult to explain. We were standing in an answered prayer. “Revival will come from this conference, from the kids represented in this room,” proclaimed many leaders in many different ways. It was the start of something huge and everyone present could feel it. History was being made.Many giants of the faith had believed for years that God would create a network for church leaders such as this, including the Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services for the State of Texas, Jaime Masters. “We don’t pray without following it up with action…The Church should be a refuge and a safe place. Is it?” The commissioner charged all Church leaders with these and other powerful words. Don’t miss watching the full video below!
In unity, every church leader in the room was praising and believing God for His vision to come to fruition: that one day there would be more families waiting on children than children waiting on families.
It was not just a moment, it was a movement for the voiceless. Hearts were stirred. New ministries were birthed. Long term ministries were given fresh vision. And everyone left ready to start something.
We believe God will continue to build on the things He sparked in October 2022 at the AGFCN Conference. Next year we anticipate being joined by even more pastors, churches, and networks. We believe all 13,000 Assemblies of God churches can and will do something for the 400,000 kids in U.S. foster care. We can’t wait to see what God will do through you November 30th – December 1st, 2023!
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Founder and Chief Executive Officer
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