By Dr. Ryan Strother

The popular Christmas song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, could be an actual prayer for a child in Indiana. Whether trying to be reunified with biological parents at home or being placed in a home with people who will love them, thank you, SCBI churches for helping make this a possibility.  

So far in 2023, $35,219 has been given to the State Mission Offering. Those dollars are used for the five beats of the Hoosier Heartbeat for Missions, which includes Indiana Children’s Services. In addition to this SMO giving, the White River Association made a $10,000 donation specifically for our children’s services efforts!  

I’m thankful for your giving and want to tell you how it’s being used to make a difference around the state.  

We are still waiting for the vendor agreement approval from the Indiana state government to Sunrise Children’s Services (Kentucky) to expand into Indiana in partnership with the SCBI. But we can start taking action to serve our churches in foster care support while we wait.  

We needed someone to take the reins on these efforts, so you have generously provided us the opportunity to hire Chelsea Kellum as our new Children’s Services Strategist. Chelsea has been trained in programs we were planning on utilizing. Combining her training and her experience as a foster parent provides the SCBI a faithful catalyst for churches desiring to minister in this space. 

Her primary task is mobilizing SCBI churches to be part of foster care and adoption by bringing awareness to the needs of children across Indiana and cultivating Foster Advocacy Ministries (FAMs). FAMs includes a multitude of ways to support the foster care system, including: care communities, foster support groups, and child mentorship. FAMs exist to increase the longevity of foster families in caring for vulnerable children by allowing the church to come alongside in prayer and tangible support.  

Chelsea has been talking and meeting with many interested churches to start FAMs and to support them in their existing foster care work. I’ve been surprised and blessed by the willingness of churches to entertain these conversations or to work with Chelsea in supporting other churches who are interested in serving foster care families. This is what connecting for Kingdom advancement is all about—churches strengthening other churches to advance God’s work around the state and globe.  

Like I said in the SMO Promo video, we can literally change a generation of Hoosiers through caring for children in foster care. Thank you for investing and participating in this ministry!