BRIDGETON – Sometimes you look for opportunities to minister, and sometimes the opportunities seek you out. In recent days three new opportunities to expand the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home’s (MBCH) reach have knocked on MBCH’s door, and were discussed at the agency’s trustee meeting Oct. 13 at the main Bridgeton campus.
The first is the Branches at Brookline, a residential facility for developmentally disabled adults in Republic. The board of Southwest Special Cares, which operates Branches at Brookline, is asking MBCH to consider bringing it under the MBCH umbrella, much like the arrangement MBCH has with the LIGHT House, a pregnancy center and adoption agency in Kansas City. MBCH has experience in this area, with Country Haven, a therapeutic group home for adults in Peculiar.
“They approached us and said ‘we have the money, but we don’t have the expertise to run it,’” said Ron Robinson, chairman of the MBCH Children and Family Ministries board and pastor of First Baptist, Van Buren. “They may not fall in to the category of children, but they do have a need.”
The next possible opportunity is partnering with Blue River-Kansas City Baptist Association and its work in human trafficking rescue. The association is operating a facility for adults rescued from trafficking, but it is seeking a partnership with MBCH to help them minister to minors.
A third prospect is partnering with the Jennings School District in St. Louis County. The district’s superintendent is seeking MBCH’s expertise in housing homeless students in a district-owned facility.
In all three cases, MBCH’s senior leadership and the board of trustees are weighing options, and considering ways those ministries might be able to dovetail with the MBCH mission to serve God by responding to the needs of children, youth and families.
Trustees also heard reports of the ministries they are currently leading. Through the third quarter of 2015, MBCH has fielded 314 initial requests for therapeutic group homes, 221 requests for pregnancy services, and served 34 through its human trafficking rescue ministry. Away from MBCH campuses and in the community, 121 youth have received therapeutic foster care and 162 have received pregnancy services. In all, MBCH maintains 761 foster and adoptive homes. Eight children received Jesus as their savior so far this year, including eight at the MBCH summer camp.
Trustees approved a $3,180,821 2016 budget for the MBCH umbrella agency, and a $12,164,396 2016 budget MBCH Children and Family Ministries. Both figures are in line with 2015’s budget.