Has your church planned a Christmas event for foster families?
AMAZING!! As a former foster parent, I’ll just say “thank you” on behalf of all foster parents who feel seen, loved and supported during Christmas. Seriously, churches who love on foster families at Christmas are doing special work. Whether it’s a Parent’s Night Out, a fulfilled gift list, a Christmas party or any other event, your generosity during this chaotic yet sacred time is deeply appreciated.
I’ll just go out on a limb here and say that many people from your church who helped support your Christmas event got a chance to meet some kids in foster care or talk with foster parents. I’ll bet those people have some questions, some ideas and some tugging on their heart strings to do more. Maybe your pastor, missions pastor, secretary, worship leader or someone on staff attended your Christmas event and felt that same tug to keep ministering to this group of parents and kids.
But how do you take your Christmas event and turn that into a year-long ministry? What steps can your church take to turn a one-day event into something that seeps into the very fabric of your church?
Here’s a sample year-long timeline to consider as you seek to continue to engage with foster care.
Winter - Gather a Team
Foster parents + Folks who care about vulnerable children + someone on staff + TN Kids Belong
Gather these people. Share your vision. Start dreaming and planning. Meet a few times to build the foundation of your ministry. Use the assessment and planning tools in our Faith Kit as a guide.
What do foster parents need? What are the needs of DCS and the children in need of a place to belong in our community? What is our church really good at? What could our ministry look like?
Spring - Talk about Foster Care
From the pulpit. At small group gatherings. In Women’s Ministry meetings. At Men’s Ministry gatherings. At Youth Group. With the group of retirees. Every chance you get, mention foster care. May is Foster Care Awareness month - a perfect time to launch your ministry. Worried you may say something wrong? We have several sample sermons, appropriate foster care language and other resources in our Faith Kit.
Summer - Provide a “Next Steps” Opportunity
When you start talking about foster care, people are going to want to learn more. Giving them a chance to respond to what they are learning is crucial. Hosting a “Next Steps” panel of experts gives folks a clear path forward. Check out our complete guide to a "Next Steps" Panel in our Faith Kit.
Make sure to include not only those interested in fostering or adopting, but those who are willing to support foster and adoptive families as well.
Fall - Launch a WRAP Team
As families from your congregation begin to foster and/or adopt, build a support team of people around them who are willing to do this journey with them. This WRAP Team commits to support a foster/adoptive family in tangible, helpful ways. WRAP Around connects the resources of the church body with the needs of individual families. We have an enormous resource guide on building WRAP Teams. Download our Faith Kit to get started. Fostering is HARD work, but it doesn’t have to be lonely.
Okay, maybe that’s a lot to process. Alright, so there’s no “maybe” about it. We know it’s a lot!
Just as we ask churches to support foster families on this journey, we at TN Kids Belong are committed to supporting your church on your journey. You don’t have to build this ministry by yourself. We have lots of opportunities to connect with other churches, receive free materials and resources and talk with our Wrap Around Coordinators about how to make this a reality for your church.
Are you interested in learning more?
Check out our free Faith Kit available on our website.
Not sure what to do next? We’d love to help you find your way to Change the Foster Care Story