In church life, you hire a pastor or ministry professional to lead the charge up the hill to make a difference for Jesus’ sake. Right? What if there is no vision from the hired staff to recognize a real need? Consider leading up. Don’t wait for a professional to accomplish a ministry need; rather, create enough “noise” until those up the leadership chain eventually hear the buzz-buzz of the gathering crowd. Let me offer you an example.
Cindy Boecking is a mom with three kids – two of whom have been adopted. Back in 2009 she and some friends, motivated by the desire to honor God’s clear revelation of what constitutes pure religion (James 1:27), set out to begin a ministry in their local church setting. There was no one on staff that had the vision to do this – it was Cindy and her friends. The ministry began with a small group of moms forged together with a vision of starting a movement in their church that would result in God’s people opening their hearts and homes to the fatherless.
Cindy writes the following about her experience:
Honestly, it wasn’t easy getting buy-in from our pastors, but we faithfully met every Wednesday night. We prayed and kept serving. Now, five years later, we have full support of our pastors and staff at our church.
For Cindy and her friends, the way to lead up was to start with a regular gathering for the purpose of supporting families already engaged in fostering or adoption. As time went on, interest and awareness increased. They have used a variety of things to help keep the momentum going. She writes:
We celebrate Foster Care Awareness month at our church as well as Orphan Sunday. In past years, we have honored Orphan Sunday in different ways such as hosting the Waiting Heart Gallery, inviting the Governor to address the congregation, and hosting a Focus on the Family event to find homes for waiting children.
Orphan Sunday is Nov. 2 this year. Would the leadership at your church be willing for this one Sunday to include a song, a prayer, a Scripture reading, a sermon focus, a testimony, a short video, a luncheon or something that would highlight the Father’s heart for orphans and offer ways God’s people can respond?
Don’t be held back by the tyranny of the overwhelming need set against the backdrop of underwhelming leadership in your church regarding this issue. Be encouraged that God delights to use people just like you to start a movement. Just listen to Cindy’s encouragement:
There are so many ways to live out James 1:27. It takes no special talent or education to lead this effort in your church. It just takes a willing heart.
 Cindy and her husband Michael are members at Crossings Community Church. To find out more about the foster care ministry at Crossings go to www.chosenokc.com/. Cindy also serves on the board of www.karisadoptionfund.org.
 Foster care awareness month is in May and Orphan Sunday is the first Sunday in November each year
 James Hunt serves on staff at Council Road Baptist Church. Alyson Walker serves as the Childhood Education Specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma