What does foster care ministry look like in our church?
A lot like an Old Testament battle.
It’s strange to choose swords, shields, and battles to the death as an analogy for loving neighbors but I think that it is appropriate when we look at the battle that took place in Exodus 17. Here is how it is recorded:
8 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
There was a rout and a great victory for the people of God. The question I would like to ask of this passage is “Who was responsible for the great victory?” Since we do not have a lot of space to elaborate here are my conclusions:
Big Picture: God is responsible and deserves full credit and acclaim
Detailed Picture: God chose to work through his people and used the following people to win the battle:
Joshua – military leader who chose men and led them into battle. Without a leader the battle would not have been fought.
Soldiers – Men who raised their hands and responded to Joshua and went to battle. Without the soldiers there would not have been a battle.
Moses – Spiritual leader who proclaimed the words of God and held the staff of God. Without his participation, the battle would have been lost.
Aaron and Hur – Made sure that Moses persevered in his task. Without them, Moses’ arms would have lowered from weariness and the battle would have been lost.
Here is the parallel, when God works in Grace City Church to care for children and families in hard places it is ultimately His work in which all of the fame and acclaim must be attributed to Him. He also performs the work through his people but it is not God working through only one family to help a child but God working through many families (his church) to show his love. This is what foster care ministry looks like in our church:
A family including a child as a full member of their family until the child is able to return safely to their parents’ care.
Church members treating the placement of a child in a church family the same way as the birth of a child in a church family. This will include “Take them a Meal” signups, Baby showers for suddenly needed supplies, and offers for babysitting and “anything else you need.”
Benevolent care of birth families who need to change their home environment to make it safe for their children to return home. This may include donations, offers of service, or deeper discipleship.
DCs connecting with a teenager in a group home to provide healthy connections and care packages. This may be where college students can thrive 😉
Prayer. Prayer is exemplified by Aaron and Hur in our parallel. When prayer ceases it is like the rod of Moses lowering and tide of everything turning the other way. God has ordained prayer as a means in this process and we must persevere in it.
So foster care ministry in Grace City Church looks like what God has been doing for thousands of years: saving and caring for people through his sovereignty and grace and working through many people to accomplish his will.