Sunrise encourages members to ‘Be the One’

Originally published in Western Recorder –

Mt. Washington—”All it takes is one family per church and we could change what Kentucky looks like forever,” says Michelle Chitwood, wife of Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood.

Chitwood along with Sunrise Children’s Services began the “Be the One” campaign to encourage every Kentucky Baptist church to rally around one family dedicated to fostering a child and making a difference.

“I can think of no better way to show Kentucky that we are trying to live in obedience to God than by taking care of the children no one else wants to care for,” she said.

A free training event will be hosted Feb. 1 at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Buffalo. The event provides practical ways that every church and church member can be an integral part of the effort.

“We want people to be challenged by the needs of hurting children in our state and discover some way to do something,” said Josh Hutchens, pastor of Mt. Tabor. “Not everyone will become foster parents, but every Kentucky Baptist can do something to serve these children.”

The event, according to Mt. Tabor’s website, will encourage the church to “surround one family who makes the decision to become foster parents; be the one who surrounds that foster family with prayers and support; be the go-to-one who commits to stand alongside that foster family when emergencies occur; be the respite one who surrounds that foster family, one night a month, so the parents can have a date night; and be one who donates to Sunrise Children’s Services so that its statewide ministry can grow and serve more children and youth in ways that honor Christ.”

“We hope to help churches recognize that there are opportunities to be His word in action and help Christian individuals and families treat foster care as in-home mission work,” Kenneth Williams, Sunrise’s vice president for community based services, said.

A similar event will be held at Trace Creek Baptist Church in Mayfield on Jan. 31.

“This training is so much who we are,” Williams said. “Sunrise literally is the heartbeat of child welfare in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has been for over 145 years. We have set aside to recognize that there are people who God calls specifically to open their hearts and their family to children who are hurting and in need.”

“Be the One is a very special initiative allowing Christian families and their church to truly surround a child and then allows the entire church body as a whole to become the church made real in action and not just in word,” Williams added.

Bryan Grigg, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Kuttawa, and his wife Krista have answered the call to not only host training events in their church, but also become foster parents themselves through Sunrise.

Four other families have joined them and completed 42 hours of training provided by Sunrise.

“We just wanted to give some hope to these kids that probably don’t feel like they have any hope. The true hope is Jesus Christ,” Grigg said.

“We want to have a loving environment, a Christian environment, to show them unconditional love and to be the one for them,” he added.

Sunrise not only provides training but also hosts commissioning services in churches throughout the state to honor the families that are using their homes as mission fields.

In addition, Chitwood, Tara Melber, wife of Crossings Ministries President David Melber, and Sunrise Children’s Services are partnering with KBC’s Equip conferences in September to spread this message across the state. (WR)