Equipping the Church for Foster Care: Bishop Aaron Blake Speaks at DBU Chapel

aaron blake on chapel stage

"Brother Blake, will you help me?" These words were spoken to Bishop Aaron Blake by 16 year-old Melvin who was in need of a foster family to take care of him. As Blake explained in his recent DBU chapel message, the Lord opened the door for him to care not only for Melvin, but for many children to come.

In 2000, Bishop Aaron Blake pastored the Greater Faith Community Church in Brownwood, Texas, while serving as a bi-vocational pastor and high school counselor. In 2003, he and his wife, Mary, launched Harvest Family Life Ministry which helped to equip the church to meet the needs of children in need of foster care. While working as a high school counselor in 2000, Blake worked with students that struggled academically due to many different factors.

One student, Melvin, wanted to be on the football team but was not going to class. He refused to go because he had already taken the classes. Melvin was classified as a first-semester freshman, but said he was a second semester sophomore, and Bishop Blake later found out that Melvin went into foster care when he was nine and bounced from school to school for seven years. Each time he changed schools, he lost credit for his classes and struggled with going to class because of this.

After making some calls and getting things set up, Blake got Melvin's credits fixed and got him onto the football team. A year later, Melvin's placement fell through and when the case workers came to pick him up, Melvin was hesitant. What Blake did next would change both he and Melvin's life. After Melvin asked him, "Brother Blake, will you help me?" Blake told Melvin, "If I could, I would take you home with me."

A few months passed when Blake received a call from Melvin's case worker. Melvin wanted to come back to high school, play football, and stay with Blake and Mary. After getting a license to foster kids in the state of Texas, Melvin came to stay with the Blakes. When Melvin learned the outside linebacker was a foster kid whose placement fell through, he told him, "Don't worry about it. Brother Blake and I have got you covered." Melvin learned the fullback was also a foster kid whose placement had fallen through when Melvin told him, "Don't worry about it. Brother Blake and I have got you covered." Soon after, Melvin and five other boys were living in the Blake home.

Blake found out that over 30,000 kids were in the foster care system in Texas alone. He asked God, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" The Lord answered and directed him to James 1:27, which says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Bishop Blake ultimately concluded that foster and orphan care is a responsibility for the church. Since he decided to foster the six high school boys and preached about it to his church in Brownwood soon after, 39 families began to foster and adopt. As Blake has discussed with churches over the past two decades about getting more involved in foster and orphan care, the second Sunday in November is set aside in these churches as a reminder of this great mission to care for foster children.

In conclusion to his chapel message, he challenged students to reflect on 2 Corinthians 5 and remember that we carry the message of the ministry of reconciliation, which is what God did for us when Jesus came to reconcile us back to the Father. "When you see the hurting in this world, respond to it because God through Jesus responded to us."
Written by Brooks Anthony

Brooks Anthony writes for the University Communications Department for Dallas Baptist University.

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