A PLAN TO MATCH PASSION
In Kansas City, Missouri, one foster family’s passion sparked a movement at Evangel Church. After years of fostering, they had reached their capacity. They knew they wanted to do more, but what would that look like? Could their church be the solution?
“There is something about the vastness of nature that makes me pause and stand in awe.
To look out at the ocean as if it stretches on forever, no end in sight–it’s overwhelming. To lay my human eyes on something so beautiful and so big turns my heart to the Creator. The same creator who formed the world with equal parts detail, grandiosity, and beauty made me. And he made us in His image, knowing full well of our sin to come. But because of His love, wider than any ocean, He made a plan to bridge the chasm. That bridge was our adoption (Romans 8:15).
I view orphan care in this same vastness. Just like the ocean, there is no beginning or end in sight. It’s overwhelming, but in a way that often cripples rather than inspires. It causes some to turn away because the heartache is too big. Others become overwhelmed before they get started. Even those who say “yes” may wonder, am I truly making a difference in this grand landscape of trauma, generational sin, inequity, and heartbreak?
This is how my husband and I felt ten years ago. We had fostered thirteen children, adopted four, and the trauma we were working through with our kids required us to make the tough decision to close our home to foster care. God was calling us to focus on our four forever children as they walked the healing journey. While we knew it was the right decision at the time, we always wanted to do more for more children. Alone we didn’t have the capacity, but we wondered, what if others joined us?
That’s when we realized that the Church is the solution! There was never a group of people more gifted for orphan care than our local church. As a whole, we could do exponentially more than our family could do alone. We were excited by the idea, but we didn’t know where to start or how to equip and support those who felt called to this space.
When we met Backyard Orphans, they presented us with a plan that matched our passion! They guided us in developing a foster care, adoption, and support ministry. My orphan care dream had come true. They flew in to help us create our ministry and leadership structure. Then, they flew in again to help us officially launch the ministry on Orphan Sunday 2019.
Launch Sunday was everything I could have ever dreamed, and that’s an understatement! We had 91 individuals say yes to orphan care at our informational lunch that same day! That’s 91 people who accepted the call to foster, adopt, or provide support in some way. Wow!
Four months later, in March of 2020, everything came to a screeching halt. When the world shut down, our grand plans to move forward were put on pause as we all navigated the impending pandemic. There were no gatherings, no foster care trainings, no agency home visits. But, as you can imagine, the needs of families in crisis didn’t pause in 2020. In fact, the needs greatly increased. That’s what makes orphan care ministry even more important today!
Now, as of September 2022, we have 151 people involved in our foster care, adoption, and support ministry here at Evangel Church! Each individual is involved in one of our various teams:
- Our Food Team provides meals to foster and adoptive families who have welcomed a new child home or who are going through a tough season.
- Our Respite Team provides childcare for foster and adoptive families.
- Our Advocate Team guides new families through the process to foster or adopt.
- Our CarePortal Team works upstream to meet the needs of families in crisis in our community and within our church.
- Our Prayer and Encouragement Team partners with foster families through intercession, prayer, support, and encouragement.
- Our foster and adoptive families have, or are in process to receive, their license from the state to welcome children home.
We are elated to report that since the launch of our ministry in 2019,
- 4 new families have become fully licensed foster homes,
- 7 families are being wrapped around by our support teams, and
- 13 children in foster care have been welcomed home by a family at Evangel Church!
Church, it’s time to step into orphan care. Just as God made a plan to bridge the chasm of our sin, every church can make a plan to bridge the chasm for hurting families. It is far too vast for one family or one church to bridge alone. It requires the whole Church doing something. When we work together, what once was overwhelming can become manageable. Together, we can offer hurting children the kind of adoption God offered to us.
Evangel Church, Ministry Assistant to Lead Pastors
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