Updated: Mar 29
Scott Cummings usually sports a smile unless he is “pulling your leg” with eyebrows furrowed and a gruff nod. “I’m a cut-up,” he confesses with a chuckle. Scott and Connie Cummings have been Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) cottage parents for 15 years, offering love and care to hundreds of teen boys.
“Every boy who steps through the front door of Drake Cottage is going to be asked three questions,” Scott says with a solemn voice. “The first is, “Ford or Chevy?” The next is, “What is your favorite college basketball team?” And the final is, “What NFL team do you pull for?”
The University of Kentucky blue Ford with the San Francisco 49ers’ bumper sticker sitting in the cottage driveway could offer clues, but the three questions are not meant to have a “right” answer. “Although it never hurts,” Scott says, elfishly admitting there may be an innocuous allusion about sleeping on the porch if an answer is too offensive.
“Scott’s questions are a tool he uses to engage the boys,” Connie says. “He never tires of finding ways of connecting with them.”
While Scott spends time with the teens in the yard, in the shop, or on camping trips, it is the kitchen where the boys meet with Connie. “Boys are always hungry. Many windows into hurts have been opened over freshly baked cookies. It’s a commitment to building relationships that make the difference—relationships that last longer than the time a boy lives in Drake Cottage.”
Connie and Scott could never have imagined they would be cottage parents the night they first met in the parking lot of a community grocery store. Their lives were going in different directions and neither had been saved. The couple blended their families and married.
“We were in a karaoke bar when a bunch of us were challenged to go to a nearby church,” Scott remembers. “They told us if 100 people showed up, the pastor would preach from the roof that next Sunday.” Scott was amused. He and Connie went. “The Holy Spirit began to move and before we knew it, we went down to get saved.”
Scott admits that God “had been tugging at my heart forever.” Connie likes to say they went “from singing karaoke in a bar to singing solos in church.” The couple never looked back. They became active in their church, grew in the Lord, and began to feel God calling them to work with youth—eventually calling them to BCH. “We can testify that God works in mighty ways in the lives of those He calls,” Connie says.
“Scott and Connie have a tremendous heart for children and their 15 years of service is an example of the dedication they have,” says Senior Director of Cottage Care Homes and Foster Care Linda Morgan. “Every child who comes into Scott and Connie’s cottage feels love and they are always ready, with arms open wide, to receive the next boy.” Scott asserts that the boys come from difficult pasts. “It is hard for them to trust. But when they see how much we care and how we can be trusted, it changes them for the better.”
The Cummings return to the importance of relationships. “When a boy leaves, he may promise that he will never come back,” Connie
says. “Then we see him in Walmart and he comes up and hugs our necks.” People who work at BCH have similar testimonies to the Cummings. Their jobs are vocations.
Do you or someone you know want to make a difference through their career? Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) is looking for servant-minded, passionate, hard-working people who are seeking a great mission career opportunity. Imagine a career where your kindness brings a smile to the face of a child who has never known joy or imagine a career where your care of a special needs adult not only helps him or her but brings comfort to that person’s aging parents. Maybe you could see yourself in a career where the outdoors becomes the place where you minister to a child who needs hope.
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children