Here’s the hopeful big news:
The SCBI will enter children’s services by licensing families to foster and adopt children.
A lot of moving pieces have to come together to make that happen. But we’re moving them. I’ve shared my desire with our Executive Board, and while no official decisions have been made yet, there seems to be shared excitement.
Here’s how it has come about:
Shared Passion Among Pastors
Shortly after I started serving as Executive Director of the SCBI, several pastors asked me about the possibility of ministering in this space. Their hearts resonated with mine because my family personally has fostered and adopted children. I know the need for foster families. I’m well acquainted with the struggles those families endure. I’m certain that fostering and adopting will make a massive missional impact in Indiana as we design our ministry with greater support to fostering and adopting families as well as ministry to biological parents, and we break generational trends of abuse, neglect, and poverty. Like I told our Executive Board: if Indiana residents know nothing else about Indiana Southern Baptists ten years from now, let them at least say that they took care of our children.
Strategic Partnership & Firm Biblical Convictions
One of the other pieces in this puzzle is a previously established relationship with Sunrise Children’s Services in Kentucky. Sunrise is the largest foster and adoption provider in the state of Kentucky and has recently been in the news for its strong biblical stance throughout a lawsuit brought on them by Kentucky’s Governor. Before my leadership in the SCBI, conversations already started between SCBI and Sunrise to explore possibilities of starting children’s services in Indiana. Myself, another SCBI staff member, and an SCBI pastor visited some of Sunrise’s facilities for a couple days to continue the conversation and cement the desire for partnership. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Sunrise is large and well experienced. Even more, they want to partner well to see this happen. Indiana will be blessed to form a strategic partnership with Sunrise for a defined period of time before our children’s service organization becomes fully independent as an organization connected to the SCBI.
A Historical Moment for the Pro-Life Movement in America
Like many of you, I have been following the Dobbs v. Jackson case before the Supreme Court. Many pro-life people are hopeful for great results from this case, and that hope was fueled even further by the leaked Supreme Court opinion draft.
We rightly will celebrate if the Supreme Court nullifies Roe v. Wade, and we will support efforts to encourage our state legislature to back laws that will at least greatly limit abortion.
Even in this historical moment, the reality remains: you can reduce the number of abortions, but you will not reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.
So now, the question we must answer, the challenge we must accept, and the obedience to Scripture we must pursue (James 1:27): who will care for these children?
We will. Our churches.
Children’s services is a high-impact ministry we can do cooperatively. One church alone can not pull this off, but 400+ churches working together can.
Again, many steps remain before this becomes a reality. The most crucial is to get the state contract secured with Indiana. Nothing can happen until this does, and Sunrise is working on that. It is a unique contract (as compared to other children’s service providers) because it clearly states our biblical convictions about family (which are often at odds with culture’s opinions). It might still take a little while, but once it happens, we will develop a cooperative agreement between Sunrise and SCBI, which will outline our partnership and organization to make this happen.
Pray for this state contract to be accepted and for wisdom as we design the organization to minister to children in this way.
Thank you for your church’s cooperation–these are the things our convention can do well together.