A Guide to Foster Care Ministry in 2017 – Part One
Jan 2, 2017 by Jonathan Reid
The start of a New Year is a great time to dream about and plan for specific ways to make a difference in the lives of others. Countless people and causes exist that you could bless with your resources of time, skills, and even money…the opportunities are endless! That said, I imagine that if you’re reading this, you probably have at least some level of burden for those impacted by the foster care crisis. In fact, you may already be actively serving this community in some meaningful way. If so, bravo! I hope you find the strength to keep up the good work in 2017.
Perhaps, however, you are among the many millions who have considered either foster/adoptive care or some other wrap around ministry but have yet to act on that thought. Maybe it hasn’t been the right season of life for you. Maybe you lacked support from your family. Or, maybe, you just didn’t know where to begin!
While I can’t help you with the first two problems, if you are wondering where to begin, then this blog series is for you. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of simple posts that, similar to your GPS, will lay out for you a series of possible routes leading to the desired destination of significant foster care ministry.
For the Christian, the starting point is always prayer. Through prayer, we petition our own adoptive heavenly Father to act on behalf of both foster children and the many who serve them. We can be sure God hears such prayers for he himself cares for the vulnerable, oppressed child (e.g. Psalm 68:5). We are asking him to do something for which his heart is already stirred.
And the great thing about this suggestion? It’s for everyone!
NOT everyone can foster; NOT everyone can adopt; NOT everyone can mentor.
So how should you begin? Here are a few suggestions. First, ask God to provide you guidance regarding specific ways he may want YOU to serve the foster care community beyond prayer. Then put feet to your prayer by seeking out local options (more to say about this in a future post).
Second, start a prayer movement within your church. Gather a team of other people willing to invest some spiritual effort to intercede for this crisis. Think of your small group, Sunday school class, or perhaps just a couple of friends to start! Maybe you can pray on the phone for 15 minutes a week.
As you are praying together, ask God to create a culture of adoptive and foster care within your church community. Pray specifically for God to raise up at least one more foster or adoptive family from within your church than is currently engaged and then pray about how to support them well.
Third, set a simple goal to pray for just one aspect of the foster care crisis a day. Admittedly, the thought of praying for something as complex as the foster care crisis can be daunting. Avoid getting overwhelmed by following a simple schedule such as the one I devised a few years ago found below. If you miss a day, don’t stress it. Just resume the next day!
- Sunday – Foster children (generally and any you know specifically).
- Monday – Children waiting for adoption. You can even search for state specific photo listings, which will provide you with specific names and faces of children in care who need to be adopted.
- Tuesday – Adolescents preparing to age out
- Wednesday – Foster and adoptive families
- Thursday – Biological families working to overcome their issues so they can reunify with their children
- Friday – Social agencies/workers/investigators/family court judges/etc.
- Saturday – Christian ministries, such as Fostering Hope (actually, you can pray for us every day!)
If you want further guidance about starting a foster care prayer initiative, feel free to contact us…we’d love to help. Or, if you start one, let us know! We’d love to add you to our prayer network.