Skip to main content
The Rock of Grace Church is located in Kinsman, Ohio. (Screenshot credit: CBN News)

'Should Every Church Do This? Yes': Ohio Church Seeks to Close Gap in Foster Care Ministries

Share This article

Research shows church involvement with adoption and foster care ministries has dropped substantially in the last five years. But not all is lost. One Ohio church is making its primary goal to care for the orphaned, and sharing their success as an encouragement to all churches.

America ranks third in the world for having the most orphaned children, according to World Population Review. Almost 400,000 of them live in foster care – and less than half are adopted each year. 

In the small town of Kinsman, Ohio a local church is hoping to change that by sharing hope by loving one child at a time. 

"I was just alarmed that 140 (foster) kids were in our backyard and literally 10 minutes from my house is Trumbull County Children Services," said Jordan Biel, lead pastor at Rock of Grace Church.

slider img 2Four years ago, Pastor Jordan Biel discovered that in his county, 140 children living in group facilities needed foster families. Today, it has become a vision for the congregation to transform Trumbull County by partnering with the county's children's services to find a loving family for orphan children. The initiative is called #everychild. 

Over the past four years, 40 children have come into care via families at Rock of Grace, including five adoptions.

"I did not know it was going to take off like that, to be honest," Biel said.

Church members Melissa and Jason Crisp have been married for 24 years and have four biological children. Still, they've fostered nine more children in the last year and a half. 

"You're being a positive part of their life and you hope it lasts their whole life," Jason said.

While it's rewarding, Melissa says the hardest part is falling in love with a foster child, only to hand them over to a responsible family member who comes forward. Their desire is to one day adopt. Meanwhile, the process nurtures their faith as they learn to trust God's timing. 

"I've had to learn how to really trust God with kids' lives that I love, that I have no control over anymore – and that's a lot," Melissa said. 

Churchgoers everywhere are being encouraged to adopt at a time when adoptions have declined in the U.S. A Lifeway Research study found a little more than 2-in-5 U.S. protestant churches say their congregation is actively involved in an orphan ministry. 

Ohio has roughly 5,000 orphaned children. Nikki Culver, FAM director for Rock of Grace says those lives could be positively impacted for the kingdom if every church in the state stepped in to help nurture them.

"James 1-27 says that undefiled religion is for us to take care of the widows and the orphan," Culver said. "I feel like God is charging us with that to act. I believe every church can be part of it and literally change the world."

The same Lifeway Research shows church members providing foster care has dropped almost 10 percent over the last five years. 

Jordan's church vision came into focus after walking out of his own faith by adopting a little boy named Lucas.

"Every church's calling is different, I get that," Biel said. "But to answer your question – should every church do this? Yes." 

And for those who aren't ready to commit and foster or adopt – the church gives volunteer opportunities via its Family Advocacy Ministry, which pairs foster families with church volunteers who provide support by cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and praying for foster families.  

"Eighty percent of foster families will continue fostering if they have a support system," Biel said. "But many of them will quit if they feel alone."

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.*** 

Melissa Crisp understands how deep spiritual support can go when pouring into the life of a foster child. 

"Besides regularly sending someone, they called, texted, sent Bible verses," she said. "They just reminded us that it's good when it doesn't feel good, you know?"

And with the overturning of Roe v. Wade – experts predict a flood of stress on the foster care system. Foster families know the church will be needed even more to help fill the void. 

"It's important more Christians get involved," said Jason Crisp. "I put such a high priority on that – if we can lead more of these kids to Christ at an early age, you can't beat that." 

"The #everychild campaign is just one example of how churches can make a difference in the lives of children in need. By providing support and care, churches can help these children thrive and reach their full potential. 

To find out more about CBN's Orphan's Promise, click here. 

Share This article

About The Author


Brody Carter has been reporting and anchoring at CBN since 2021. In his time at CBN, he has found his stride in national news, including political and foreign affairs, extreme weather, and in-depth faith-based reporting. Brody frequently covers news for The 700 Club, Faith Nation, Newswatch, and Christian World News. Brody is passionate about news and displays standout dedication and work ethic in the field. Since starting at CBN, Brody has not only grown as a journalist but also as a person of faith thanks to close family, friends, co-workers, and the church body in Virginia Beach. He