Your Church Can Help Foster and Adoptive Families. Here’s How.
In your church, families who are fostering and adopting need your help.
Here at Lifesong, we take seriously our responsibility—and privilege—to encourage churches and church leadership like yours to get involved, and to equip church members to reach children and families in need.
Jason Johnson, Director of Church Ministry Initiatives at Christian Alliance for Orphans, recently shared a four-part grid through which churches can think and plan. Every foster/adopting family has four basic categories of need that must be met.
Thankfully, God has uniquely equipped the Church to meet these needs.
Here are the 4 basic pillars of support—.
Tangible needs can include meals, beds, clothes, strollers, diapers, etc. Many people in the congregation can help provide these things. To do this, many churches have a foster pantry or clothing closet. Providing tangible support can be a great place to start.
Many children who have been fostered and/or adopted have experienced trauma. Therefore, they need us to better understand the way they think and feel. Educational support for caregivers is one way to support children and families in need. This can include classes, webinars, conferences, workshops, or books that enable church members and leadership to provide trauma-informed care.
Children and families in crisis need to be with people who understand. This can include formal support groups or informal situations where families are heard, understood, and encouraged. As Jason Johnson says, “Sometimes the goal isn’t to ‘accomplish’ anything, it’s just to be together. That’s accomplishing enough—for families to look around and be reminded that they’re not alone.”
While some might argue that “spiritual” shouldn’t be a separate category—but rather the umbrella over everything—there are specific things we can do as churches to provide additional, necessary support for the souls of families in the trenches. This support may include studies, retreats, support groups, etc., that continue to intentionally disciple families in the Gospel.
3 Quick Thoughts
1. Your church doesn’t need to do everything.
If your church can’t do everything, that’s okay! A good strategy is to find those things that your church can do well, and do those.
2. If your church can do everything, that’s great, too!
Some churches—because of size, budget, or gifting—can do more for families in need. That’s great, too!
3. While we can’t all do everything, we can (and should) do something.
The 4-pillar framework above provides a variety of on-ramps for individuals and ministries to get involved. Some ministries might excel at meeting tangible needs such as gathering furniture or providing meals. Others might be good at gathering people and creating space for relationships to be strengthened.
Finally, let’s work together to love others the way Christ has loved us!
To learn more about strategically rallying your church around the orphaned and vulnerable, check out Jason Johnson’s new book, Everyone Can Do Something.