When you are extremely passionate about something, you often wonder why other people aren’t as passionate as you are. There are some amazing ministries that God is using across the earth right now, and I would assume that those who are leading those ministries often get discouraged when they see others in the body of Christ not catching the vision the way they are.
My wife Sandra and I have definitely been “wrecked“ by the foster care crisis here in the US. We have fostered 18 kids and adopted 10 total and we are definitely passionate about kids in foster care and the families who care for them. We are equally passionate about the restoration of biological relationships between foster children and their families.
We speak with pastors, business leaders, and even government officials, and often wonder why some are not immediately jumping on board to do something. In the several years as a foster parent and in the many more years as an associate pastor, I have come to understand why there are many reasons churches are not participating in foster care ministry. I will just touch on a few.
- They just don’t know
For many pastors, foster care is just not on their radar. Their plates are full and foster care may not be a ministry they see or hear about. It’s not that they wouldn’t do it. It’s that they just don’t know much about it or how real the need is. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6 that God’s people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge. It’s very important that we pray and ask God to speak to us about important issues that we need to be a part of. My former pastor said something that I will never forget. “If you want God’s attention, pay attention to what has His attention.” So what has God’s attention? The Bible says He draws near to the brokenhearted. He says that if we give a cup of water to someone who’s thirsty, food to a hungry person, provide clothing and shelter, then we have done it for Jesus Himself (Matthew 25:35). The modern-day orphan – foster children definitely fall into the “least of these” category.
With almost half a million children in foster care in the United States, the Church needs to be aware of the need and then respond to the need with compassion and action.
- They need a strategy
I have heard it said that a vision without strategy becomes a fantasy. Many responsible pastors are very careful in the way they launch new ministries. They need to know that they’ve heard from God and they want to know that the ministry will be successful. No pastor wants to launch something new that fails six months later. The CompaCare model of ministry has a strategic four phase, seventeen step plan for churches to use. This strategy helps the church to be successful with their foster care ministry. There are so many resources out there for churches to use so they can properly strategize their efforts.
- It’s just too hard
Some people are apprehensive about starting a ministry like this because it’s just too difficult and too messy. That is true. It is very messy. But redemption is messy. Jesus hung out with the sinners and the tax collectors. He put his hand on lepers. He allowed prostitutes to touch him. He came face-to-face with demon possessed people. As believers, God never called us to hang out inside the church. He called us to go! Go into all the world and preach the gospel. God will often call us to a place that is uncomfortable. Isn’t it amazing that the Holy Spirit, who is referred to in the Bible as our comforter, will often lead us into uncomfortable places outside of our comfort zone?
It is in those places where we find the broken, hurting, vulnerable, and destitute. And according to Matthew 25, that’s where we will find Jesus. When we do it unto the least of these, we’ve done it on to Him.
We want to encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal His heart for the foster children in your city. Ask God to use you and your influence- no matter how big or small- to impact foster children and their families. Not everyone does the same thing, but everyone can do something.
For his kids,