When Bishop Aaron Blake, a pastor and foster/adoptive father, left his breakfast table for church on the second Sunday in November of 2004, he had a sermon prepared … and it wasn’t about foster care:
“I had prepared a sermon to preach that morning that I had worked on all week. I stood up to bring the message when the breakfast table image of our boys came back to my mind. The faces of our sons seemed to multiply in my emotions as I recalled the image from the breakfast table earlier. I knew then that God was prompting our church to answer the call to care for children and broken families.”
Without explanation, Bishop Blake said to his congregation, “Brothers and sisters, there are about 30,000 children in the foster care system in Texas and nearly a half a million in the U. S.” He then asked this one simple question (and he wasn’t expecting a verbal answer): “Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandoned, and neglected children in our community?” After a brief moment of silence, one lady in the back of the church stood up and simply replied, “Pastor … I will.”
Like a tiny smoldering ember dropped in a pile of thirsty pine needles, her voice began to multiply. To his amazement, Bishop Blake watched as one family after another stood up and joined their voices to hers. As a result of that day, this church and the surrounding community has cared for and adopted hundreds of children in foster care over the last 12 years. In fact, their county actually has more than enough foster families to meet the need there.
Each year since 2004, that little church in Brownwood, Texas, along with others around the world have celebrated that second Sunday in November while challenging each other to continue the work. In 2017, Orphan Sunday, an initiative begun by the Christian Alliance for Orphans and Stand Sunday, this initiative begun by Bishop Blake and Harvest Family Life Ministries, merged to collectively call the church to action for international orphans and children in foster care here in the U.S.. Stand Sunday, under the administrative direction of Harvest Family Life Ministries, focuses on ministry to orphans here in the United States as identified by the Department of Family Services and under the care of the state Foster System.
The call to care for vulnerable children and their families extends to every Christian. We'd love to equip you to empower your local church to stand with us.