Foster parents are needed desperately across the state of Texas – perhaps now more than ever. More than 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States, including more than 31,000 in Texas alone.
As Christians, we’re called to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27) and to help “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). Churches are uniquely equipped to spread the word about the needs of these vulnerable children and the great need for foster parents, as well as to provide a community of support for families who decide to become foster parents.
If you feel called to help children in foster care, but aren’t sure where to start, beginning with your church is a great first step. Here are six ways you can get your church involved in foster care:
- Talk about it. Educate your congregation about God’s heart for the orphan and adoption, as well as how to care for the most vulnerable children in your community. Encourage your pastor to speak about it from the pulpit or teach about it in your Sunday School classes. Christian Alliance for Orphans has great resources for churches who want to teach on these subjects. Additionally, you can invite foster families within your church to speak and share their experiences during your Sunday morning service.
- Rally around foster families in your congregation. Encourage small groups to “adopt” foster families in the church. They can help bring meals when new placements arrive, volunteer to babysit, donate clothing or strollers, help with house cleaning or yard work or even serve as mentors.
- “Dedicate” foster parents. “Most churches celebrate Parent/Child Dedication ceremonies during the year,” shares Jason Johnson, director of church ministry initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans, on the Jason Johnson Blog. “Do the same for foster parents! Bring them in front of the church and have the body pray over them and dedicate their support to them.”
- Train children’s and youth pastors, staff and Sunday School teachers about trauma and the different ways they can assist foster children and youth in their ministries. Children in foster care have unique needs based upon their experiences. Training staff and Sunday School teachers will help ensure all children feel comfortable and welcome at church.
- Host informational meetings at your church. Work with a local agency to host an informational meeting for interested families at your church, promoting it during church services and in the church bulletin.
- Host a parent’s night out. Invite foster parents to bring their children to a fun night of activities at the church, allowing parents to rest and enjoy a much-needed date night.
Want to learn more about how you can involve your church in foster care? Contact Emma Brezik, assistant director of marketing at Buckner, at email@example.com.