I absolutely love the work I get to do with the Arkansas Baptist Children's Homes and Family Ministries, and I can hardly call it work. It's a privilege - a joy - and so many other wonderful things to get to serve on the board of directors. One of the things I love most is the Connected Ministry.
There can be no question that we have a foster care crisis in Arkansas. There are thousands of kids that have to fit in hundreds of homes. Recognizing the need, the Arkansas Baptist Children's Homes and Family Ministries stepped up to the plate and is knocking it out of the park - a home run every time to use the baseball analogy about as far as one could take it. No strike outs...ever.
Connected is the foster care ministry of the Arkansas Baptist Children's Homes and Family Ministries. It works to provide or mobilize resources to make foster care more successful in Arkansas. It helps churches take an active role in meeting this problem for the cause of Christ. It develops multi-church partnerships in regions across the state that are especially hard hit by large numbers of foster kids and too few homes to take them in. It involves the local church to improve the child welfare system, strengthen family bonds, increase rates of reunification, and decrease rates of kids returning to foster care. It connects partner churches with family social workers to offer support, encouragement, and other ministry opportunities. It brings structure to the foster care community. It helps recruit, facilitate, and train foster parents. It provides hands on support for foster families through the local church, including meals, baby sitting, tutoring, respite care, transportation, food and clothing closets, school supplies, and more. It helps churches provide help to biological parents trying to get back on their feet for the sake of their families. And as Connected comes along side the church to train, equip, recruit, and support all involved in the process, it frees the church up to do some amazing, gospel centered ministry to a hurting portion of our society.
I love being involved. I think you will to. I want you to get involved. Here's how:
1. If you want to learn how you can work in fostering or supporting those who foster, or if you want to get your church involved, contact Lynn Szczepanik at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (479) 646-2100, ext. 103. You can also reach out to me and I'd be happy to make some introductions.
2. If you aren't in a place to do that right now, that's ok. Make a tax deductible donation to those who can. You can do so by clicking the button below. Remember, the standard deduction is going up so if you want to itemize and take advantage of the deductions for interest on your house, student loan debt, charitable giving, and more, you'll need to give more away to charity this year. I appreciate your help!
Josh Bryant is an ever aspiring philanthropist. He serves on several non-profit boards and is learning the ins and outs of private foundations and other giving schemes. His passions include Christian missions, foster children, orphans, pediatric disorder research, musical arts, and the Marshallese people.