Culture & the Family

Walking the Talk

June 28, 2016

Matt Pinnell


By Matt Pinnell

It started with a tug on our heartstrings.

A few years ago, my wife and I began to feel called to foster after being challenged by our pastor, Craig Groeschel, and his wife, Amy. Life.Church consistently reminds its members that we’re called not to be spiritual consumers, but spiritual contributors. Stings a little, doesn’t it? Good.

We saw a need, the tug was there, and it was time to act. The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing. So (after a lot of talking) that’s what we did.

We fostered two infants over the course of the last two years, and I’m thankful to report that both are now in loving adoptive homes. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I firmly believe that as more and more families stop talking and start doing, loving foster families can stand in the gap until a family can be reconciled or adoptions can be finalized.

Adoption must be at the center of the pro-life movement and, I would argue, the conservative movement. “Compassionate” should always precede the word “conservative.” If we’re going to be against a particular policy, we have to advance solutions and alternatives to that policy. As adoption champion (and member of Congress) Diane Black puts it: “It is not enough to be ‘pro-birth,’ we must demonstrate that we are pro-life and pro-quality of life after a child comes into this world.” If we value every human life, we have a responsibility to engage in this cause … to stop talking and start doing.

I’m proud to serve on the board of the 111 Project in Oklahoma (, an organization that exists to mobilize churches to see to it that no child who needs a home is without one. We now have a tool that is helping our cause: the “Care Portal.”

This technology allows the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to upload needs of children to a central database that are then sent directly to churches (and even better, actual Sunday School classes within those churches) across the state. Leveraging technology such as this in partnership with state organizations is a conservative solution that is working. With OKDHS facing possible layoffs and service reductions, there has never been a more critical time for local churches to step up and join in this cause.

My kids still talk about our foster children practically every day. It changed our lives as much or more than the precious children in our care. And now with four children of our own, we still get excited about welcoming another foster child in the future. Because—let me warn you—once you foster, you morph from a tug-of-the-heart follower to a world-changing warrior … and it’s awesome.

Matt Pinnell served as chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. He now serves as the national state party director for the Republican National Committee, overseeing all 50 GOP state parties and territories. He lives in Tulsa with his wife, Lisa, and their four children.