Presently, more than 5,000 children in Virginia are active in foster care.
A particularly brutal practice existed toward vulnerable children in ancient Rome. The practice was known as exposure or leaving children, whose frame or family could not sustain them, to the perilous elements outside the city gates. Amid this cultural darkness emerged a new people, Christians, who earned notoriety for rescuing the exposed and abandoned. As the church lived out its convictions and calling, an impossible culture of abandonment changed.
A crisis of vulnerable children exists in our time and culture. Presently, more than 5,000 children in Virginia are active in foster care — exposed to the fragility of life outside the family. Without enough foster families, children are left outside our societal gates. It seems an impossible culture to turn around, but the legacy of the early church informs us otherwise. Culture can change and the people of God can lead it.
Two SBC of Virginia churches — Fellowship Community Church (Salem, Virginia) and Fincastle Baptist Church (Fincastle, Virginia) — are making great gains in the ministry of foster care and adoption.
In Fincastle, corporate education and awareness stirred the congregation. To equip the called, the church strategically partnered with a local foster care agency to offer licensure coursework as a part of Wednesday night discipleship. Five Fincastle families completed the training, creating the largest licensing class in the agency’s memory.
Fellowship Community’s obedience grew out of the example of their pastor, Ken Nienke. As the Nienkes opened their home and hearts to a teen in need, God stirred others to do likewise. It is estimated that over 10-percent of the congregation is actively involved in welcomed foster or adoptive care.
SBCV’s First Foster Care and Adoption Conference
In May, the SBC of Virginia partnered with Fellowship Community and Fincastle Baptist Church to host the Convention’s first conference on foster care and adoption. Families from across the state gathered to learn the next steps and receive the support of a like-minded community. The keynote address by Christian Alliance for Orphans president, Jedd Medefind, (right) is available to view at sbcv.org/fcasummit.
As we become increasingly aware of the urgent reality of today’s vulnerable children, may we, like the early church, become known for sacrificial love that turns the tide of change.