Your Voice

‘Every child deserves a place to call home’

By Scooter Kellum
Montgomery, Ala.

We became a licensed foster family through Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries in 2018. 

Our journey has not always been easy but we are so thankful God has allowed us to join Him in caring for children in need.  

Every child deserves a place to call home. Everyone should be given the opportunity to be raised in love and peace being told the story of Jesus. That is exactly what we get to do as foster parents. 

Whether for a week, for months or potentially forever we strive to provide for and extend love to children in our care just as we do for our biological children. 

Our biological children also have been fantastic “big brothers” and “big sister” to the children in our care. 

It is such a blessing to watch them eagerly love and excitedly share with friends and family about the arrival of and updates on each child in our care. 

We are confident that even in their early ages God called each of them to this ministry as He did us.

Upon first learning that we are foster parents many people respond with something like: “I’ve thought about it but I could never do it. I would get too attached.” 

We were told in our foster training classes that if we were concerned we might become too attached then we were in the right place because it meant we intended to love the children as our own. 

What prompts such a response from many is fear. We felt it too before we took the plunge to become a licensed foster family. 

We feared God might call us to do something hard, to give more than we knew how to give, to face more interruption to everyday life than we were comfortable with, to say goodbye to a child we had come to deeply love.

God’s will is not always easy. God’s plan is not always safe. But He is always good.

Jesus came so that we can live an abundant life and we have certainly experienced abundant joy in our journey as a foster family. 

I cannot imagine having missed out on so much goodness because I let my fears hold me back.

If we surrender to our fears we let Satan win. 

Approximately 5,000 children are in foster care in Alabama on any given day. A child will stay in foster care an average of two years. An estimated nine children enter foster care every day in Alabama. 

If we bravely step into God’s calling on our lives there is no reason why the Church cannot rise up and care for every child in need. 

May our faith be bigger than our fear.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Scooter Kellum serves as youth ministry strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. His wife, Chelsea, is a Bible study teacher and youth leader. They are parents to three biological children and currently raising three additional “little loves.”

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Grateful for Associations

He had to be the first denominational celebrity I ever met though I did not know it at the time. I heard whispers in the halls of our tiny country church when I was a child: “Mr. Whitmer is here today.” Mr. Whitmer was our associational missionary.

God uses others to shape and mold us and my story is incomplete if I leave out the role of the association in my spiritual and leadership formation. My association believed in me and God’s call on my life. 

WMU’s mandate is to make disciples of Jesus who live on mission. We want people learning about, praying for, supporting and doing missions through Baptist associations. 

We’ve given grants to support global water projects through Baptist associations and sponsored national associational missions projects. Many associations partner with WMU in Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps ministries. We help support leadership development for associational leaders. 

In partnership with Baptist associations we can do exponentially more for the Kingdom. I am incredibly grateful for associational mission strategists and their team members who invest in the lives of countless others like me.

—Sandy Wisdom-Martin

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sandy Wisdom-Martin is executive director of national Woman’s Missionary Union.

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I want to be more ‘Christian’ than ‘baseball player.’

Anthony Rendon
Washington Nationals’ third baseman

Christian families who adopt are missionaries who bring God’s love to orphan children by living example. Orphan Sunday reminds us that while not all are called to adopt, anyone can love and minister to orphan children in a practical and meaningful way by helping families in their own church and community who already want to adopt.

Gerald Clark
Co-founder and executive director, Home for Good Foundation

Orphan Sunday engages God’s people to put our faith into action … as we unite to advocate for the most vulnerable.

Andy Lehman
Vice president, Lifesong for Orphans

Orphan Sunday isn’t about charity; it’s about the mission of Christ. I pray that every gospel-transformed congregation will observe Orphan Sunday, calling all Christians to our mandate to image Christ by caring for his little brothers and sisters, the fatherless of the world.

Russell Moore
President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

As a child I was often told that we can do more together than we can apart. It was a statement that reminded us that as Southern Baptists we work together to do missions and send missionaries here and around the world. We still do this and I am very proud to be a Southern Bap-tist. It is still true we can do more together than we can apart … to bring glory to the Father, to introduce people to Jesus and His love and teach them how to follow Him.

Danny Dean
Associational missions director, Butler Baptist Association

We have reached the point in society that media, social media, peer pressure and culture are influencing Christians more than the church is influencing society. Too often we look, sound and act more like the world than we do like Christ. God didn’t tell us to be weird but he did tell us to be different. That difference often causes tension. We need to make an eternal difference in our world by setting Christ-like examples even when it is uncomfortable for us. I would rather be a faithful witness and take a neighbor to heaven with me than to “fit in” now and watch them perish on judgment day! 

Jack Anderson
Associational missions director, Alabama-Crenshaw Baptist Association

Knowing God through Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing in all the world for both now and in the life to come. A truly blessed person is the one who knows God. 

Bill Russell
Associational missions director, Bibb Baptist Association

The aspects of wellness [and a healthy lifestyle] affect each other. If someone’s not feeling his best, it’s going to be difficult for him to lead his church or have a healthy relationship with his spouse. “Being well” points to the whole person, from his personal devotion and spiritual life as a believer to his relationship with his children to leadership in the church.

Tim Dowdy
Lead strategist, pastor wellness Georgia Baptist Mission Board

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From the Twitterverse

@alsbom

Pray for your pastor to have wisdom and vision to lead the church revitalization process.
#PrayingAlabama

@carmenlaberge

… Christians are not immune from suicide and Christian churches are not insulated from its grief. We have witnesses and we have testimonies but we remain utterly ill equipped to confront the monster devouring our kids and young adults and pastors. It’s more than a need for bringing mental health onto a par with other ministries but that’s a start. It’s more than ministering to families assaulted but that too is necessary. How do we stop it?

@jaredcwilson

If you’re always “defending” the gospel but rarely getting around to articulating the gospel, it may not be the gospel you’re defending but rather your own preferences, prejudices or politics.

@_JakeBrown

Even if you’ve already blown it this week, there’s enough grace in Christ for you too.

@bellshoals

If you have found the Messiah who are you bringing to Him? (John 1:41–42)

@tonymerida

Let’s plant some churches, scattering communities of light in every nook and cranny of this dark world.

@FBruceWilliams

Be faithful to God. Do whatever it is you believe God has you on earth to do. Life is too short for you to worry about what people think. They are going to talk no matter what. You will have opposition and criticism regardless. This life is not dress rehearsal. It’s the real thing!

@MyEasternShore

Grace, Mercy and Thanksgiving … a perfect trio, don’t you think?

@LWGenerosity

“While church planting is by nature high risk, we really need to help this movement take dramatic steps forward in terms of resources, models and financial best practices.” @ToddMcMichen

@ThomRainer

Sermons are only half over when you hear them. You need to live them out as well.