Zionsville Church on a Mission
Writer / Rebecca Wood Photography // Submitted
On any given Sunday, Traders Point Christian Church teems with life. Parishioners fill the pews, music flows from the stage and the pastor delivers a stirring message. The church’s modern approach to the traditional Christian message draws sizable crowds and much attention.
With its broad platform and large congregation, Traders Point Christian Church has big plans for the new year. In 2019, the church will focus its efforts on the foster care and adoption crisis.
Executive Pastor Greg Anderson says the church looks to Scripture to determine God’s heart on the matter and the church’s marching orders.
“God’s kids need to take care of God’s kids,” Anderson says. “Vulnerable children have the most barriers stacked up against them. As God’s people, we want to show the same love to these children that God shows to us. Love is really driving and motivating us.”
Anderson believes God spurred the church to get involved right when the crisis hit epic proportions.
Crisis is the word many use to describe the current foster care environment. In Indiana, the statistics are daunting. According to the latest available data from the Indiana Department of Child Services, 16,000 Hoosier children reside in the foster care system. Although Indiana is the 15th most populous state, it ranks 5th in the nation for the largest number of children in foster care.*
Additionally, the need for adoptive parents weighs heavily. The Indiana Adoption Program reports that 600 Hoosier children have had parental rights terminated without an identified adoptive family. Worldwide, an estimated 15 million children wait for permanent placement in homes.
As part of its 2019 initiative, Traders Point Christian Church strives to raise awareness of the issues and work on solutions to the problems. To spearhead its efforts, a full-time staff member joined the church’s ranks. Zionsville’s Laura Mobley serves as the Foster and Adoption Ministry Director.
Mobley never imagined she’d be on the frontlines of the fight. Seven years ago, Mobley, a hospital pharmacist and mother to a then infant, felt a nudge on her heart about how the rest of the world lived. Adoption kept popping into her mind.
Mobley wondered if God would provide an obvious sign that the couple should adopt. “I asked my husband if the church did something on adoption, would that be obvious?” The next week, Traders Point Christian Church announced the launch of an adoption and foster care ministry.
That Sunday was a pivotal moment for Mobley. She immediately signed up for a leadership position on the foster care and adoption team. Over the next several years, Mobley immersed herself in the ministry and grew in knowledge of the crisis and opportunities for the church to serve.
Recently, Mobley left her pharmacist position for full-time ministry at the church. “This is a huge career shift and not what I planned to do with my life. I’m a very black and white science person, so this is very different.”
In her new role, Mobley creates opportunities for everyone to be involved. Members have embraced this church initiative. In increasing number, church members have stepped into the role of foster parents or entered the adoption process. Three years ago, two Traders Point Christian Church families served as foster families. In 2018, 23 church families welcomed foster children into their home.
Church members Martha and John Pfleeger are one of the newly licensed foster families. Within the last year, three children have been placed within their Zionsville home.
“I have the energy and willingness to foster, and I know God has a calling on my heart,” says Martha.
Martha recalls the heartwarming stories and challenging moments with her foster children. Her favorite memories center on her biological daughters bonding with their foster siblings. She finds beauty in the process. “I get to stand in the gap for a child and hurt alongside them. It’s a humbling thing to be a part of that.”
As for adoption, Mobley has her own personal experience with the process. Over two years ago, Mobley and her husband adopted a 2-year-old son with developmental delays from China. Gavin is now a thriving 5-year-old with two siblings, including a sister who is 11 months older.
“My oldest son had a school assignment to journal a happy moment,” Mobley recalls. “He wrote about the happy day Gavin arrived at our home.”
For those not ready to bring a child within their own home, the church offers other ways to serve foster families. Care communities are a big initiative within Traders Point Christian Church. Care communities offer foster families emotional, spiritual, physical and financial support. A team of volunteers rallies around the foster family and provides practical support, such as housework, childcare, tutoring and meals.
Currently, 225 church households volunteer in care communities serving 31 foster families.
The church says care communities drastically increase the retention rates of foster families. Nationally, 50 percent of foster families quit after the first year or first placement. Many of those families attribute a lack of support as the reason for their departure. With the addition of care communities, 90 percent of foster families continue their position within the foster care system.
In addition to volunteer opportunities, the church strategically partners and provides resources to organizations plugged into the crisis. In December, a portion of the church’s end-of-year giving went to Hands of Hope Ministry, an organization that links and equips churches in supporting adoption and foster care. In 2019, Hands of Hope aspires to partner with 30 churches.
Traders Point Christian Church has supported Hands of Hope’s launch of a care portal this month. The portal will be an online tool to alert community members of physical needs for biological, vulnerable or at-risk families.
With a variety of opportunities to serve and give, Anderson hopes the church’s efforts will bring about changes. “We often say that we don’t want to be a church that just meets on the weekends, but we want to equip people to make a difference in our community.”
In a year, Mobley wants the Hoosier foster care system to look different. “We hope there are more foster families waiting for foster kids than kids waiting for families,” says Mobley. “Every child belongs in a family that provides stability and consistency. Family is so important.”
*Kelly, John (December 7, 2017), “Beyond Last Week’s New About Increasing Foster Care: More Adoption, Indiana in Crisis, and More,” The Chronicle of Social Change.