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Floyd: Building relationships key to child care support

ROGERS, Ark. (BP) — Building strong relationships with churches and their pastors is key to communicating to Southern Baptists the growing need for their support of child care services, Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told members of Baptist Coalition for Children and Families (BCCF) gathered for the organization’s 68th annual meeting.

About 45 members of BCCF from across the SBC gathered at Embassy Suites in Rogers, Ark., for the April 12-15 meeting. The meeting was hosted by Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries (ABCHomes).

Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church northwest Arkansas, welcomed BCCF members April 14 during the opening session of the group’s annual workshop. Cross Church recently donated land to ABCHomes to build a Family Care Home for single adult women and their children.

“You have a good story, so tell your story,” Floyd said. “You’ve got a big upside; you just have to get your story out.”

Floyd recommended several ways for BCCF to effectively “get their story out” to Southern Baptists. “Our churches today have enormous hearts for foster children and orphan care,” he said. “In my 30 years as pastor, I’ve never seen such a commitment to orphan care as I see today.”

Floyd’s recommendations on how to communicate with SBC churches were:

— Establish in-depth relationships with as many pastors as possible. “Ministry and money travel on the tracks of relationships,” Floyd said.

— Build relationships with leaders of top-giving churches to the Cooperative Program. “Spend time getting to know pastors of these churches and deepen relationships with them. Don’t undervalue relationships.”

— Spend time with local pastors. “In 3 minutes or less, tell pastors your vision and insight into what you do, and ask them how you can better serve them. We exist to serve churches.”

— Join organizations that pastors frequent.

— Instill your vision into the next generation of Baptists. “Take them to lunch. Listen to them. Hear them. The key is to tell the 20- and 30-year-olds about your organization because they don’t know about you.”

— Don’t isolate your agency from the state convention.

— Attend annual SBC meetings. “Please come. We need to know about your agencies, and you need to know and be aware of the bigger picture.”

Adelaide Schaeffer, executive director of Champions for Kids, also addressed the group. Schaeffer shared strategies on moving beyond charitable giving and government giving to shared value partnerships. Since 2004, Champions for Kids has served more than 5.4 million children across all 50 states through in-store donation campaigns, service projects and community events.

Rod Marshall, president of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministry, said leadership development is a key BCCF focus. At this year’s meeting, sessions covered such topics as corporate fund-raising, foster and childcare issues, advocacy and education.

“Christian childcare can sometimes be challenging,” Marshall said. “The BCCF is a great opportunity for fellowship and a remarkable chance to be better equipped to respond to the needs of children and families.”

David Perry, ABCHomes executive director, described the BCCF annual meeting as “a wonderful event for this godly group of great friends who lead Baptist ministry to children and families throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Jerry Haag, president of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, noted BCCF is “a remarkable group of godly people doing God’s work. The ideas, expertise and encouragement spur each of us on.”

Founded in 1949 as the Southern Baptist Child Care Executives, BCCF’s purpose is strengthening members and their respective organizations through leadership development, dynamic relationships, education and advocacy.

Together, BCCF ministries served more than 663,000 children and families in crisis in 2015 with a total annual budget of $201.3 million. Members of BCCF include 19 Southern Baptist childcare agencies with 239 locations in 17 states. Ministries include foster care; adoption; residential care for children and teenagers, expectant mothers and single-parent families; Christian counseling; mobile pregnancy centers and emergency care, among others.

Next year’s BCCF meeting will be April 4-7 in Oklahoma City and will be hosted by Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. BCCF membership includes CEOs and spouses of Baptist State convention affiliated child care agencies. Membership may also include administrators who report directly to the CEO, and the administrators’ spouses.