I recently had the opportunity to ask my friend Toni Steere a few questions about ministry and leadership. Toni is the Director of the Legacy 685 Ministry at Houston’s First Baptist Church. Throughout the past ten years, Legacy 685 has faithfully served adoptive and foster families in the greater Houston area as an “outside the walls” ministry!
I asked her four questions, but was particularly blown away by her answer to the first, so I thought I would just share that. It provides a practical, encouraging and inspiring look into how their ministry recognized a need to serve and support investigators and case workers around them. Through simple yet profoundly meaningful ways they’ve been able to develop relationships with a community of people who do hard work but are often forgotten and unsupported. This is a GREAT example of how your ministry can get creative in what it does and who it serves. Legacy 685 is a well established ministry, but is constantly looking to learn, grow and expand its effectiveness.
Here’s what Toni had to say…
What are you most excited about in your ministry right now? How did this particular thing come about?
I am most excited, ecstatic really about our new relationship with our local Child Protective Investigative Unit!
About two years ago Houston’s First Baptist Church was invited to join with another church in our area in providing a CPS Appreciation Night. We participated two years in a row and during the second event God began to stir the word “more” in our team! As we listened to various CPS Professionals share their stories, the joys and the extreme challenges we felt that there was more that we could be doing to come alongside them and love them well!
With that we reached out to our Faith-Based Specialist in our region to ask about the needs!
Within a month we had been paired with a CPS Investigator office just adjacent to our church! We had no idea that the office was so close and to be honest we were really unaware of the needs of these professionals! In talking with Ashley we were able to develop a plan that would bless the staff monthly with the goal of constantly communicating that these men and women are seen, appreciated and hopefully supported!
Each month on a day determined by the supervisor we join the team for tacos, coffee and an encouraging word! Each worker received a handwritten card from a member of our church who has spent time praying over them! It’s been amazing to see this team grow in trust of our ministry, the encouragement has been palpable and as other offices hear of what’s happening they are now asking for their own “encouragers!”
Recently another team invited me to speak at their staff development day! We talked about some of the greatest challenges for “helpers” in our society! And one of the deepest challenges is that there is a deep loneliness in the field! The “helpers” are expected to help without limits but often there is no one pouring into the helpers! The energy runs short and discouragement moves in and takes up residence making the turn over so high! As I talked about help for helpers I asked those present “Whose Helping YOU?” Across the room the question evoked emotion, voice and the discouragement could be felt!
It’s the most exciting thing we are doing right now because we have seen such an openness to both the encouragement and a willingness to receive more! There is not a grand plan. No deep goals, just a commitment to SHOW UP once a month to say we see you! And we are FOR YOU!
Through this monthly act of kindness we’ve seen supervisors begin to collaborate with our ministry, we’ve heard from individual professionals asking for prayer for exceedingly personal struggles and we’ve had the honor to follow up with them!
I’m grateful for seasoned leaders like Toni who invest deeply into others and serve the broader CAFO church network well. To connect with Toni, or another coach on the CAFO Church Coaching Team, you can contact us here.