Last fall, when Oliver and Ashley Jones approached Dustin Schadt, their pastor at Northside Church in Roswell, about their desire to start a foster care ministry, he told them to run with it. And so they did. They had already attended one of FaithBridge’s Encounters and they thought it would be a great model to bring to Northside.
They reached out to Chuck Campbell, FaithBridge’s director of Community of Care, and begin exploring a partnership between Northside and FaithBridge.
By early 2017, they had everything in place.
“We already had interest in foster care among our faith family so giving them a place to get involved here at church has been big,” Oliver Jones said. “We have several families that have adopted so it’s front of mind for many here at church and Dustin was behind it from the get go, which was important.
“For us, foster care is a really critical way we can love our community.”
Northside officially kicked off their foster care ministry, called One Such Child, in spring of 2017.
“We had a group of youth students from a church in Florida who came up to help us with door-to-door ministry. At that time we were doing a sermon series called ‘We love our city’ so we took that as an opportunity to launch the ministry and love our city through foster care,” Oliver said.
“As the students went door to door, sharing about Northside, they talked specifically about foster care and donating items to start a resource room for the ministry. After several days canvassing neighborhoods, we had enough items to fill the resource room.”
Northside’s leadership also talked about the new foster care ministry in the weeks leading up to the official kick-off Sunday.
“That Sunday our pastor preached on foster care and we held an Encounter right after church, which was well attended,” Oliver said. “We then held another Encounter on a weeknight prior to a Foundations training weekend.”
Through the process, Northside has had a number of families express interest in fostering and also had several families join the church after hearing about Northside’s partnership with FaithBridge.
They currently have two approved foster families, a few others still in the approval process, and Oliver and Ashley and their three biological children are an approved respite family. Their goal now is to build up their Community of Care in order to serve and support the foster families.
“Now that we have families actively fostering children, we’re excited to get more people involved and get more volunteers,” Oliver said. “Based on the size of our church and number of volunteers needed to support our foster families, I think a good goal is to have two or three families with foster kids placed by the end of this year or beginning of next year. We also want to do another Foundations weekend this fall and two more Encounters.
“It’s exciting to see the momentum growing behind [Northside’s foster care ministry]!”