Starting a new foster care ministry may seem overwhelming. But churches don’t have to go it alone. Just ask Relevant Church in Locust Grove. They’ve partnered with another church less than 10 miles away, Momentum Church in McDonough, to help them launch and grow their foster care ministry.
“When we started about a year ago, in the spring of 2017, Momentum was very helpful in providing support to our new approved foster care parents and showing us the ropes and how to navigate [this new ministry],” said Rick Carlson, director of Relevant’s foster care ministry.
“Momentum has helped us facilitate our first Foundations training (and our volunteer training), which we hosted last August. We also just hosted an Encounter, which Relevant also facilitated.”
Rick and the rest of Relevant’s staff have seen firsthand how Momentum’s staff has truly partnered with them to help ensure success of their new foster care ministry.
“They continue to be supportive with any questions or inquiries we have. They also constantly reach out to us to keep us informed about various things,” Rick said. “Their Eagle’s Landing Campus Pastor Luke McGee facilitated our Encounter and did an outstanding job.”
As Momentum has partnered with Relevant through the process, they’ve also made sure they invite Relevant to any of their Community of Care events or meals.
“It has been fun to come alongside one another in this way,” said Luke McGee, Momentum Eagle’s Landing pastor. “By simply seeing FaithBridge and foster care outside the context of our own immediate church setting, it feels like a more significant thing. I’m not quite sure how to put my finger on it. Maybe the best way to describe it would be this: If your own church steps into foster care, it feels like a ministry; when you join other churches in stepping into foster care, it feels like a movement.”
Currently Relevant has two approved foster families. One is a single woman who has had multiple placements since July 2017 and currently has a baby placed with her. Their other foster couple just recieved their first placement. They also have several other couples in the process of becoming licensed foster parents.
“For us as a church, getting people involved and committed to our foster care ministry is a result of many things. We have a lead pastor, Carl Nichols, who helps cast the vision of tackling the crisis of brokeness. We use social media, apps and word of mouth continually to promote awareness of our foster care ministry. Foster care is talked about, supported by our senior leadership, the staff and our people,” Rick said.
“We currently have a team of approximately 25 official volunteers. Plus, we have many from our small groups who respond to needs we promote from our volunteer base. We recently had a donations drive over the course of three weeks. The response was enormous. Our storage closet is actually a rented storage unit and is overflowing with donations ready to be given to any of our foster parents in need. Our foster kids and parents have been loved on by our church, without a doubt.”
Rick and the rest of Relevant are also thankful for their partnership with FaithBridge.
“They have been a wonderful agency to work with. They are in this with us and are very open to our suggestions, comments, questions and needs,” he said. “FaithBridge’s Foundations training is very excellent and demonstrates the reality of what being a foster parent is all about.”
For Rick himself, foster care is a personal ministry. His parents were foster parents when he was a young child and the three foster teens they had in their home made a big impact on his life. But he didn’t think about foster care from a leadership perspective until last June.
“I quickly realized that my personal impact could be helpful by leading a team of volunteers and foster care leaders to really make a difference in our foster care parents’ journey and and our foster kids and their biological families as well,” he said.
“Broken children need healing as do broken parents. Hurting people hurt people. Relevant Church believes in being part of that process of bringing hopeful healing to people by simply showing the love of Jesus and responding authentically.”
Interested in learning more about how your church can partner with FaithBridge to start a foster care ministry? Visit faithbridgefostercare.org.