No spiritual movement in history has ever been started apart from prayer and absolute dependence on the Lord. Similarly, we believe more than enough for children and families in foster care is not possible apart from praying for a supernatural movement of God to do what only He can. In a ministry filled with so many things to do, tasks to get done and needs to attend to, it can become all too easy to lose sight of the larger story we are all participating in – a spiritual one – one of brokenness, the need for renewal and a longing to see God heal everything that has been hurt. This endeavor, the greater spiritual one, demands a prayerful posture from all who participate. So, what does that mean for our church and our ministry? How can we practically keep prayer at the center of all we do? What specific ways can we pray for struggling families and vulnerable children? How can we prayerfully support foster families in our church and community? What steps can we take to invite people in our church to pray for a movement of God within our walls and throughout our communities? Questions like these, among others, are important ones for us as church leaders to consider as we take steps towards becoming more actively engaged in foster care.
In episode 7 of The Fostering Church Podcast, the Jasons talk with Bishop Aaron Blake. In 1985, while pastoring Greater Faith Church in Brownwood, TX Bishop Blake and his wife, Mary Blake started a babysitting ministry called “Small World” to help keep struggling families together. Then the Lord moved the Blakes to foster six teenage boys, and their congregation followed. The families of tiny Greater Faith Church have fostered more than 450 children over the years. In 2004, Bishop Blake initiated the first “Stand Sunday” in the United States, calling the families at Greater Faith to stand-up to care for children and families impacted by the foster system. Today, thousands of churches across the nation join forces on “Stand Sunday” to take a stand for children and families in crisis. Bishop Blake is the Founder and Executive Director of Harvest Family Life Ministries, a board member of The Global Orphan Project, and a spiritual godfather to many in the foster care community.
With a genuine shepherd’s heart Bishop Blake shares about the power of prayer, drawing from his own family’s personal experiences, his decades of pastoral ministry and his work with various organizations around the country. He offers endearing stories and practical insights that will inspire you to take your next best steps forward toward prayerfully supporting the foster care community
“Strategies are important, but at the end of the day what we want to see in your church, in your community, is spiritual movement. And no spiritual movement in history has been started apart from prayer” – Jason Weber.
Meet Our Guest
Bishop Aaron Blake has served as senior pastor of Greater Faith Community Church for 27 years. The Blakes launched Harvest Family Life Ministry in 2003. Bishop Blake has also chaired The Advisory Committee on Promoting Adoption of Minority Children.
Bishop Blake is a graduate of Howard Payne University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and Theology with Masters work at Hardin Simmons University. He is the founder and Chief Executive of Harvest Family Life, an organization that trains state officials and church staff in finding homes for children in foster care. Bishop Blake is currently serving as the National Faith-Based Voice of Orphan Care for the Global Orphan Project.
Bishop Blake’s work has now turned toward opening doors between Child Protective Services and faith communities, and these efforts have led to a new model for faith-based collaboration. This new approach has changed the way the State is interacting with churches; in that it allows the church to retain control of selecting and implementing a ministry which covers a continuum of care from prevention to permanency.
He and his wife Mary have been married 38 years and have 6 biological children, 3 daughters in law and 8 grandchildren. They also have 6 foster sons who remain “engrafted” into the Blake family and continue to lovingly call him “Pop.” Their engrafted sons have brought 4 additional grandchildren into the Blake family.
Meet Our Hosts
Jason Weber and his wife, Trisha, have been speaking up on behalf of the marginalized for the past 24 years. Jason has written and helped to produce several books and other tools, including Farmer Herman and the Flooding Barn, a 2018 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist and the newly released Until There’s More Than Enough. Jason writes a regular column for Fostering Families Today magazine and is the host of the More Than Enough Podcast, which highlights the work of national foster care advocates. Jason serves with the Christian Alliance for Orphans and helps lead More Than Enough, a collaborative movement facilitated by the CAFO community. Jason and his family live in Plano, Texas.
Jason Johnson is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips churches in their foster care and adoption journeys. After 14 years of church-based ministry and church planting, Jason currently serves as the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans. In his work he speaks and teaches at churches, conferences, forums and workshops on church-based ministry strategies and best practices as well as encouraging families that are in the trenches and those that are considering getting involved. He has authored 3 books: Reframing Foster Care, Everyone Can do Something, and ALL IN Orphan Care and he blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com. Jason and his wife, Emily live in Texas with their daughters.
To Learn More
Here are the resources and/or organizations mentioned in this episode: