Missouri Baptist Children’s Home has been inundated by Christmas gifts provided by generous churches and Christian people for the children and youth in our care. This year, more than 700 children in all MBCH ministries will receive Christmas gifts because of these generous contributions.
From decades of experience, we know many of our children begin to see God’s love through the generosity of Christian people at Christmas. You will never fully know the joy you create in our children when they open their presents and learn that someone they will never meet cared enough to share Christmas with them. But they will remember you.
When many of you read that more than 700 children will receive Christmas gifts this year, the immediate question that comes to mind is “Where ARE these children? I didn’t know Missouri Baptist Children’s Home could house that many children and teenagers.” That question is based on the common misconception that MBCH is a “home” for children. The truth is, less than 7% of our ministry takes place on one of our three campuses in Bridgeton, Mt. Vernon or Peculiar.
In reality, most MBCH children are cared for in homes just like yours. The vast majority of children are cared for in MBCH foster/adoptive or relative/kinship homes. MBCH ministries include Family (Traditional) Foster Care, Treatment Foster Care (for children with more severe needs), Family Resource Development (recruiting, training and managing licenses of Christian foster families), In-Home Pregnancy Services (primarily Southeast Missouri), Outreach Services to young mothers and their babies (The LIGHT House in Kansas City) and Scattered-Site Transitional Living (apartments in Springfield and St. Louis for teens learning to live independently). These ministries are coordinated by regional offices in Bridgeton, Springfield, Joplin and Kansas City.
We believe this change from campus-based to community-based ministry is biblical. God instituted the family to be the primary source for the care and nurture of children. We believe children prosper better in families than they ever could in group homes on a campus.
We also believe serving children in family homes is better stewardship of the resources God has used you to give to us. Our 3 campuses are only licensed to care for a total of 83 children. We can’t house more without building expensive new facilities. Staffing costs would grow exponentially.
On the other hand, community-based ministries allow us to minister to more than 1,100 children and families at any one time (this does not include extended family members involved in the lives of clients). MBCH currently touches the lives of more than 4,000 children and families annually.
With community-based care, our Christian staff is able to focus on recruiting, training and supporting Christian foster families. They also provide the case management support needed by our children and families. Expansion of these ministries is primarily limited only by the number of Christian families willing to open their homes – no new buildings are required!
But, we haven’t abandoned campus-based ministries. Many children need a brief stay in a group home before they are ready for a foster home. We also have campus-based pregnancy services in Bridgeton and a maternity home (The LIGHT House) in Kansas City. The campus-based Transitional Living program helps teenagers begin the transition from foster care to independent living before they can move to a Scattered-Site apartment. Group homes for Developmentally Disabled Adults are located in Peculiar and Republic. Our ministry to victims rescued from the slavery of human trafficking is also primarily campus-based.
Thank you for your prayers and support of the ministries of MBCH. Because of YOU, we’re able to share the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ with thousands of hurting children and families. Because of YOU, hundreds of children will hear the true Christmas story – some for the first time in their lives. Because of YOU, hundreds of children will experience the joy of Christmas as they benefit from your generosity.
Please share the news that MBCH is not just located in Bridgeton, Mt. Vernon and Peculiar – we have hundreds of locations. We could even have one in your home!