Have you ever been surprised by how much you enjoyed a task or obligation you were dreading? When I discovered that a course in statistics would be required for me to obtain the degree I was pursuing in college, I considered switching majors. That’s how much I dreaded the course. Data analysis was not something that got my blood pumping. In fact, I didn’t enjoy math of any sort. So the fact that my statistics course remains one of my favorite courses I’ve ever taken speaks volumes. I can’t remember any of the methods or equations I was taught, but I remember what I learned: numbers tell stories.
Think about some of the most iconic stories in the Bible: Who would have thought 5,000 people could be fed with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish? Or that 3 days in a tomb could change the world forever?
All too often, the numbers related to foster care tell a hopeless and desperate story. The statistics are frightening, and the trends are discouraging. When we consider the full extent of the foster care crisis in the Bay Area, it’s clear that the problems are too complex for one church to solve and that the need is too great for one church to meet. That’s why 22 and 60 are two of our favorite numbers.
Foster the Bay is a coalition of more than 60 churches with a leadership team that represents 22 different church communities. Isn’t that incredible?
This might be our most important statistic, the one that makes a more eternal impact than any other: Foster the Bay is a unified, cooperative effort among dozens of local churches.
At least, Jesus thought it was important. One of his final prayers was for his future followers to be united:
“I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.”
When we partner together with one heart and one mind to care for the children who are so close to God’s heart, we are giving them evidence that God loves them. Beyond that, we are showing the whole world a tangible example of God’s extravagant love. While we can only measure some aspects of the impact we’re making, we can be sure our efforts are making a difference far beyond what can be shown with numbers and statistics.
One day, we will reach our goal. We will provide a safe and loving home for every child in foster care. Today, we’re taking giant steps toward that goal and giving the watching world a reason to have great hope for the future.
60 Churches. 70 Foster Families. 300 Support Friends.
130 vulnerable children welcomed into safe and loving homes.
Yes, numbers can tell stories, and ours is pretty exciting.