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Courage to stay the course

The growth of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) in the past thirty-five years is nothing short of miraculous. In 1983, when Michael C. Blackwell became president, Baptist Children’s Homes served less than 3,000 children and families. This past year, BCH served 32,576, and 35 years later, we are trending tserve more than 33,000.

Recently, Excellence in Giving, an organization headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was asked to evaluate BCH for a donor they represent who was interested in giving to BCH. When Paul Penley, director of research for Excellence in Giving, began his review of BCH, he was surprised. He confessed that the main question on his mind was, “Could an organization that is more than 130 years old with leadership that has been in place for 35+ years be really relevant today?”

But what he found was a vibrant organization on the cutting edge. The donor called and made a lead gift to help renovate a BCH cottage and said that Excellence in Giving had given us a glowing report.

When Mr. Penley visited our campus, he commented to Dr. Blackwell how impressed he was with the relevance of the ministry and commended Dr. Blackwell’s visionary leadership. This is the same visionary leadership that compelled me to join the BCH team in 1999.

Since then, I have had the privilege to serve on Dr. Blackwell’s management team as the executive vice president of development and communications. Before leaving Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children to come here, I had followed Dr. Blackwell’s ministry and knew him to be a leader among the other Baptist childcare executives. I met Dr. Blackwell and his wife Catherine at a childcare executives conference before coming to BCH. The couple’s passion was evident and infectious.

During the two interviews conducted with me before coming to BCH, Dr. Blackwell took time to share with me his vision and we discussed how I might be a part of helping to make that vision a reality.