On January 10, 2022, the Georgia Bulldogs claimed the title of NCAA National Champions, defeating Alabama with an impressive final score of 33-18. This win sparked a spirit of celebration for all Georgia fans, and prompted a congratulatory text from our Founder and CEO, Eric Porter, to his former college roommate, Pastor Carl Nichols. One simple text about college football opened the door to a conversation about orphan care in the church, both the importance and the challenges of it.
Pastor Carl leads Relevant Church in Locust Grove, GA, just outside of Atlanta. Years prior, he had introduced foster care ministry into the DNA of the church, but the pandemic of 2020 brought things to an unexpected halt. The church experienced changes with key community partnerships and faced some controversial cultural challenges as well. In short, they felt stuck. They knew they had the capacity to impact the foster care community of Locust Grove, but they didn’t know how to move the mission forward given the circumstances.
At Backyard Orphans, we meet churches where they’re at, whether they’re brand new or simply “stuck”. Our model equips churches to work with local child welfare and child placing agencies, and we know that can be difficult. Sometimes the relationship between church and state benefits from having a mediator to facilitate healthy boundaries and define clear roles. This enables both parties to work together cohesively for the sake of more children finding families.
We were honored to be able to guide Relevant Church as they built the necessary relationships in their community. Despite the unique cultural challenges that required navigating, we were able to help establish smooth processes that allowed all parties to work together. The mission was beginning to move forward again!
Relevant Church successfully launched their orphan care ministry on October 15th, 2022 and we could tell right away, this church was all in! Church staff and members alike helped to bring all of the pieces together. God blessed Pastor Carl with an ability to communicate clearly and translate Biblical principles into the orphan care space. This is so important to the success and sustainability of an orphan care ministry–promotion from the pulpit, implementation from the pew! And that is exactly what we have seen from Relevant Church. Since launch Sunday, their passionate work has led to 13 families interested in foster care and/or adoption and 21 volunteers eager to wrap around and provide support.
“Investing in the life of one child won’t change the world. But for that one child, it will change his or her world.”
-Pastor Carl Nichols
We are humbled and grateful to be able to serve churches like Relevant Church. We know that there are others around the nation who are passionate about orphan care, but need a guide and a roadmap to begin (or perhaps begin again). That’s where we come in! Whether your church is starting from scratch or feeling stuck, Backyard Orphans is here to help! Learn more at our website or connect with our team at nextsteps.backyardorphans.org.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
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