Are you aware that more than 90% of our ministries are provided in “community-based” programs rather than on a residential campus? I know that can be difficult to understand because it is so easy to think of “The Children’s Home” being our campus in Bridgeton – or Peculiar or Mount Vernon.
You will probably agree with me that the needs of children and families today are much different than they were when we were founded in 1886. You will also probably agree with me that those needs are much different today than they were 25 or even 10 years ago. As the needs change, our response to those needs also changes. We must provide the services, programs and ministries that impact the needs of children and families today.
That means we are not an orphanage with children who grow up on residential campuses. Yes, we still have cottages on our campuses where children live – but the children are there on a very temporary basis. Most of the children and youth who come into residential care are there for only a few months at most.
I’m sure you would agree with me that God never intended for children to be raised in an institutional setting – God created the family to nurture and care for children. We believe children prosper better in families than they ever could in group homes on a campus. So, our goal is always to help our children move into families as quickly as their circumstances allow.
Where possible, we work with biological families to find the best homes for the children. We then look for people who have a natural connection to the children – like teachers, friends, church workers, etc. We also expend a lot of effort in recruiting Christian foster families and training and supporting them as they sacrificially take children and teens into their homes.
Since the children and youth who need families are located throughout Missouri, we have families throughout the State. When people ask me where Missouri Baptist Children’s Home cares for children, I tell them that most of our children are in homes just like theirs!
We coordinate these ministries through regional offices in Bridgeton, Kansas City, Joplin, and Springfield. Over the past 5 years alone, MBCH has been able to help facilitate more than 1,500 children find “forever families”!
In addition to providing temporary care in group homes and long-term care in families, MBCH also ministers to the needs of children, youth and families in many other ways. We provide alternatives to abortion through maternity homes on our campus in Bridgeton and through our affiliate, The LIGHT House, in Kansas City. We also minister to those experiencing unplanned pregnancies in Southeast Missouri and the St. Louis area through our in-home services. Over the past 10 years, nearly 900 babies have been born to the girls in our pregnancy Services – many of whom would probably have been aborted without MBCH.
When teenagers approach the time when they are about to “age out” of the foster care system, we offer transitional living programs to teach them the skills needed to live as responsible, independent adults.
As you may also know, Missouri is at the crossroads of human trafficking in the United States. Several years ago we opened a group home in the St. Louis area for young ladies rescued from human trafficking and soon expanded that program to care for survivors who are under the age of 18. We are now partnering with the Kansas City-Blue River Baptist Association to operate a safe home for girls under the age of 18 in the Kansas City area.
One of the ministries of MBCH that you may be less familiar with is our ministry to adults with developmental disabilities. We have beautiful group homes for these special people in Peculiar (south of Kansas City) and Republic (just outside of Springfield).
Most of our ministries in the past have been primarily “reactive.” We have provided services after something traumatic has happened to children and teens. We are now developing ministries designed to be “preventative.” I know you will agree with me that it is much better to prevent children and families from being hurt, than it is to provide healing and restoration after they experience tragedy.
We realize that every community has children and families who are at-risk. MBCH cannot be in every one of those communities, but each one has at least one Missouri Baptist church. MBCH is developing resources for those churches to help them minister to those children and families.
These ministries include conducting “Stewards of Children” training in churches, associations and schools. This training helps in the identification and prevention of child sexual abuse.
MBCH can also assist churches in developing programs and policies to ensure safety within existing ministries through risk management. We can also provide consultation and resources to help your church meet the needs of children and families that are unique to your community.
Women’s ministry is also a vital part of Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. Training, Bible study resources and programs for women and girls are available through MBCH.
More important than any of the statistics of children and families served, however, is the impact of MBCH for the Gospel. Untold numbers have seen and heard about the saving love of Jesus through the staff and foster families of MBCH. Many have accepted the love and forgiveness that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Regardless of the changes in ministries and locations that have occurred – and will continue to occur – at MBCH, we have been and always will be committed to unapologetically sharing the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I want to thank you for your prayers and support of the ministries of MBCH. Because of you, we are able to make a lasting difference in the lives of thousands of hurting children, youth and families.
When you think of Missouri Baptist Children’s Home – or when people ask you where Missouri Baptist Children’s Home is located – remember that MBCH is not just located in Bridgeton, Mount Vernon, and Peculiar. We have hundreds of locations. We could even have one in your home!
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