Five Ideas for Your Church to Serve Foster Families
God has been caring for the fatherless for thousands and thousands of years. It’s HIS story and touches every corner of the world that He created. Each church, organization and person who works with foster children plays a different role and a different part woven together in what is certainly a beautiful story for the Father who loves all.
As these chapters are written, sometimes one after another and sometimes side by side, we have the incredible privilege of highlighting different players and participants in the story.
FaithBridge has been partnering with First Baptist Church of Woodstock and working with their WeFoster ministry for several years, and Pastor Craig Ormsby recently shared some of the ways that their whole congregation supports foster children and families. They were so good that we couldn’t keep them to ourselves. Thanks, Pastor Craig!
Please note: FBC Woodstock is a church larger than most. They have a huge amount of people who can participate in all kinds of ministries. Which is wonderful! If you have a church of a different size with a few hundred instead of a few thousand worshippers, explore which one of these ideas could bless your foster care ministry or consider partnering with other congregations nearby to pool your resources and share the responsibility. Together, you’ll be able to serve more children and families.
- Parents’ Night Out (PNO): FBC Woodstock hit a home run as they care for kiddos once a month, giving parents free childcare. Their goal is to makethe event something that children want to attend. Sometimes, various Sunday school classes at the church will sponsor a PNO event by planning and participating in an evening.
- Resource Room: Many churches provide material goods to various ministries, families in need and foster families, but WeFoster takes a step farther by having volunteers deliver materials and supplies to foster families when they get a placement. Also, twice a year, the church has a consignment sale. Foster families receive scholarships to help provide for the children in their care.
- Gift Card Drive: It’s hard sometimes to perfectly predict what a foster family will need to care for a child. Whatever the need [foster] Mom and Dad know best, so instead of collecting things that may or may not be used, WeFoster has had other ministries at the church collect gift cards to big box stores that have almost everything foster parents would need. They stock pile these so when a family receives a placement, they are automatically given some to use.
- Training: WeFoster invites experts to come to the FBC Woodstock campus to train foster parents, which is convenient for FBC Woodstock foster families, to receive their advanced parents training hours. If your church works with FaithBridge, an organization similar or has families fostering through the state, contact those folks and invite them to use your building for training. Everyone wins as families are afforded a convenient location to attend a class and trainers have a place to train. Consider asking some of your children’s ministry volunteers (who are already cleared with background checks) to babysit for parents and have your church sponsor snacks and beverages for the actual event.
- Scholarships: When FBC Woodstock has any children’s, youth or adult program that requires a fee to attend, they waive that fee for foster children and parents. Many of these families are financially baring some of the additional responsibility of caring for an extra child or children. By removing the cost, it helps them participate fully in all that your church has to offer. Before making these promises, simply check with the person or department sponsoring events and ask if they could budget in a few scholarships for the foster families in your congregation.
Big thanks and much gratitude for all that WeFoster leadership does to engage the entire congregation in caring for foster children and families. FaithBridge truly believes the local church IS the solution to the foster care crisis in this country, and we could not do what we do without churches like you!