Safe Families of Oklahoma
by Clint Chamberlain
CRBC Executive Pastor/Outside-the-Walls Ministries
What are we as a church called to be and to do? We can define the church as “us,” born again believers who are being transformed to the likeness of His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). Christ also gives us a mandate in Matthew 28:18-20 that we have come to know at The Great Commission: to go make disciples. In the Gospels, we see Jesus being asked what is the greatest commandment, to which he responds, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
With that in mind, I want to talk about Safe Families of Oklahoma and how we can live out our purpose as we involve ourselves in the missional efforts of Council Road and the Church at large. The focus of Safe Families is to reduce the number of children in foster care, prevent child abuse and neglect and support families in crisis. Through this nation-wide volunteer movement, local churches are joining together to offer biblical hospitality by encouraging families in their church to open their homes by hosting vulnerable children while creating an extended network of support for families in distress to get back on their feet (loving my neighbor as myself). The result is that children return to their families, and families stay together.
In 2018 in Oklahoma, Safe Families of Oklahoma provided 990 safe nights for children through 39 safe family homes. Out of those, 95 percent of the children were returned to the home.
Safe Families is a way for the church to become involved in the lives of our neighbors as it relates to the well-being of their children. It is the church stepping up and taking responsibility before DHS has to become involved. Over the past two years, I have observed families that were homeless and needing a place for their children to stay until the parent(s) could get back on their feet. We have seen families restored, after watching a mom or dad (or both) go through drug treatment, become stable and be reunited with their kids. We have helped moms having surgery who had no family with whom they could trust their children. The stories go on and on. The first step of discipleship is the building of relationships with others.
There are two questions that must be answered:
1. What do I want you to know? I want you to know there is an opportunity for everyone at CRBC to become involved in Safe Families of Oklahoma at whatever level you feel comfortable. We need host homes as well as wrap-around families to support the host homes.
2. What do I want you to do? I want you to pray about what your role is in Safe Families. I want you to consider attending an orientation meeting for Safe Families and finding out the requirements, time considerations and opportunities for living out biblical hospitality in your family’s life.
For additional information about Safe Families of Oklahoma, visit www.safefamiliesok.org or email Clint Chamberlain at firstname.lastname@example.org, Carisa Wilsie at email@example.com or Makenzie Magnus at firstname.lastname@example.org.