Music is part of his DNA. Worship pastor John Cordes leads a team of 35 volunteers at Fellowship at Cinco Ranch. They play drums, play bass, sing, run the lights and sound equipment, and operate the program that projects graphics on Sunday mornings. As Cordes orchestrates the programming meeting (and wears other hats such as the church’s graphic designer), he is responsible for the flow of the music, but lets God lead. “We are sensitive to what the Holy Spirit wants done in the service,” he says.
Because music moves him deeply and is one of the ways he responds to God, he has a band, Forlorn Hope, and sings of bringing justice to the oppressed. How does he find the time? Cordes says, “We rehearse a couple times of month in the evenings—we all work and are raising families—and we play a couple times a month. This allows the music he writes to come to life in a band.
Time really is a factor, especially because Cordes and his wife Vanessa are busy with three girls, 15-year-old Morgan, 10-year-old Bailey and 6-year-old Reagan. But the Cordes couple plans to increase their family through adoption. “Three years ago my wife and I began process of adopting a boy from Ethiopia. One barrier was the enormous expense, $30,000, and we had next to nothing in savings. But we knew we had room in our hearts and a place in our home for another child.” They love children and wanted to care for what Jesus defines as “one of the least of these.”
They felt Ethiopia was the country from which to adopt, because children who are not adopted simply age out of the system, in some places as young as 13. When this happens their life expectancy is 27 years… and they will continue to make future orphans by dying early and leaving children without fathers and mothers. “We felt we could do our part. We could do for one what we wish we could do for all.” Through radical obedience to God, they began fundraising and sent out 300 letters asking people to pray so that God would match them with a child. They stated that they needed about $30,000 and asked those who felt led to contribute. Then they invited those who had a heart for orphans to gather together.
In late March they received great news. They went to Texas Children’s Hospital to understand what their adopted child’s issues would be, and got the referral. “Throughout this whole process, we were waiting for an unnamed, faceless child, waiting to be matched. Now we know we will be the parents of a little 16-month-old boy we have named Samuel in honor of Hannah’s prayer.”
As readers rejoice with the Cordes family, they can also keep in mind ways to help. Many are not in a position to adopt, but can still support the effort through various organizations. Cordes points them to run4thechildren.org, a group that sponsors a run. This year it earned $25,000 for adoption advocacy (and was attended by Roger Clemens). On the site is information about 1:17, a ministry of The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch seeking to help provide justice for the oppressed and marginalized.
Isaiah 1:17 says it well: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Learn more about John Cordes at thefellowship.org. Visit his band at forlornhopemusic.com.