On the Grid: Understanding the VisionRich Stigall
It would be easy to misunderstand The Care Portal in these initial days. Indeed, The Care Portal offers a unique technological platform that streamlines the processing of connecting child welfare workers to the local church, but, at its heart, The Care Portal ministry goes beyond technology. It’s relationship, accelerated by technology.
Think of the name: The Care Portal. In isolation, the word “Portal” implies an opening, a doorway, a path leading to a destination. But where is this destination? What are the means by which we arrive? For if the ministry were simply named The Portal, it would lose its sense of relational purpose. Without relationship, The Portal is but an intermediary when it can be a transformer, for relationship is the lynchpin of change.
As we consider the “Care” aspect of The Care Portal’s mission, questions emerge. How should we care for those in the child welfare system? What are the needs of those in the system? It’s in these questions that clarity is required. It’s in these questions that we realize a wealth of opportunities, ranging from the incidental to the consequential.
Enter The Grid.
The Grid illustrates both the needs that child welfare workers look to meet as well as the opportunities for the church to engage the community. The Grid marks the different tiers by which a church or a family can engage (physical, relational, or family) and further clarifies the various categories within each tier. There are four basic categories: prevention, foster care, adoption, and transition. Were you aware that you can help meet the needs of a foster child without being a foster parent? Or that you can help strengthen a family looking to adopt? Maybe even keep a child from entering the system.
There are a multitude of ways to get involved in addressing child welfare needs, and each need will be defined by its respective tier and category. In some instances, the request may simply require time or finances. Some needs may involve walking alongside an individual or family for a short time, serving as a life resource. Other requests will require a more permanent solution. All needs will fall into one of the respective boxes on The Grid. All needs require prayerful discernment and a willingness to meet the needs of those in the community.
As we consider these opportunities for relationship in each tier on The Grid, it is the technology of The Care Portal that will accelerate and augment the chances of the need being met. The Care Portal will identify those churches in the area that have raised their hand to help and will automatically send an invitation to these churches once a social worker has entered the need into the online tool. Said differently, the technology effectively matches those wishing to engage with those in need.
Over the course of the next year, we will unpack the various needs, levels of engagement, other types of ministry partners, and opportunities for involvement in each box on The Grid. Each tier on The Grid has different requirements, and we carry a prayerful hope that the Lord is raising up people to meet the needs on all aspects of The Grid.
We pray that you may be one of those people.