Foster care and adoption have always been part of Derek and Tori Jones’ lives. Tori’s parents adopted a daughter from the Ukraine and worked in the foster care system in Tennessee. Derek and Tori also adopted, this time from Ethiopia.
“Caring for orphans has been, and always will be, near to our hearts. The more we’ve learned about the foster care crisis in Georgia, the more we understood the need for us to get involved. We know that kids and teenagers who come from hard places need loving families to invest in their lives. The church is the best place for that love!”
Revolution Church launched their foster care ministry with FaithBridge on May 20, 2018, and we recently asked Derek (Family Pastor) and Tori some questions about their experience.
What made you choose FaithBridge?
Our church has financially supported FaithBridge for years and the families in our church who are already fostering through FaithBridge rave about how amazing this ministry has been. When we looked deeper into what FaithBridge does, we were so impressed with the care provided and how everything is done with excellence.
What have you done to engage the church as a whole in foster care ministry? How have you engaged potential foster families and volunteers?
We have started small, as we figure out what our ministry needs to look like and how we can reach more of our church. We created a core team of three couples. This includes me and my wife, who have one adopted daughter; one couple with two young children and who are in the process of becoming foster parents; and a third couple with three biological children and two foster children. We meet together and share the load – everyone is currently helping with whatever part they can, depending on what they are doing. We’re also in a monthly small group for foster and adoptive parents.
We had t-shirts made and then scheduled a couple of FaithBridge Encounter Trainings. Our pastor tied the ministry into one of his messages leading up to our first Encounter and it got a great buzz going about this new ministry. We followed up by hosting Foundations Volunteer Training soon after.
How has the church reacted/changed or grown since starting your foster care ministry?
We’ve had a lot of interest. Our Encounter Classes were huge. It was really exciting! We are early in the process still, but we have a lot of families who have started the paperwork to foster. Through our groups ministry, we have created a monthly group for foster and adoptive parents. This helps people be able to share what is going on in their lives and also receive hours toward their required ongoing training. We have a lot of young couples at our church and we have been surprised at how many in their 20s have shown interest in Foster Care.
What has been the greatest benefit or “win” since starting this ministry?
It has just been great to educate our people on the foster care crisis and how we have the potential to meet the needs in our county if we all worked together. It has been beautiful to see families find out that they are not alone as they connect with other foster families for the first time. The entire church staff has really supported us and it is encouraging to see how many people want to help.
How has FaithBridge helped through your process?
FaithBridge has done anything we asked and more! They have walked us through every step and made sure we feel confident moving forward. I literally can’t say enough about how supported we have been. It feels like a true partnership. If anything, it feels like FaithBridge is doing more of their share of the work.
What advice would you offer to other churches considering a foster care ministry?
Just do it! It is a very easy ministry to “sell” to your pastor and your church, since the Bible commands us to care for orphans. The need is great. The opportunity is great. You can make a difference!