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By Kelley Mast

As the Body of Christ, many of us are aware of the needs of our missionaries serving in far-flung lands bringing the Good News of Jesus to these under-reached areas. These servants of the Gospel are in constant need of prayer support, material provision, and funds to continue the work to which they’ve been called. Since the very start of the church in Jerusalem, the Church has been committed to supporting those called to the far corners of the globe to spread the Gospel.

Foster care has often been called the “mission field in our backyard.” Children in foster care are desperately in need of the love of the Father and the message of healing, forgiveness, and freedom that is the Gospel. The foster families in our churches are missionaries in a very real – and often overlooked – sense.

It is a given that we are not all called to serve these wounded children and families in our homes, just as we are not all called to be traditional missionaries. Jason Johnson, advocate for foster care and adoption work within the Church, puts it like this:

The truth is that not everyone is called to foster or adopt. As a matter of fact, most people in the Church won’t ever bring a child into their home for any extended period of time. But this does not mean they, and the Church as a whole, don’t have an essential and necessary role to play in caring for these kids by supporting the families who do.1

What can the Church do?

There are a multitude of ways we in the Church can support foster and adoptive parents around us. Here are a few:

1. Lift them up in prayer and let them know about it.

Remind them frequently that you are praying for them and ask them how you can pray.

2. Provide material help.

Bring meals over to a foster family. Surprise them with gift cards for groceries or dinners out. Help financially with new clothes for kids who likely came into care with very little. Borrow a family’s vehicle to get the oil changed. Look for ways to lighten the load for these families on the front lines.

3. Be a mentor.

Many children from hard places struggle significantly with their identity and their ability to build healthy relationships. They and their foster parents need others to come alongside them to take them fishing, go out for a milkshake, help them with homework, or play catch. This often helps to relieve the pressures that can build up daily in a foster family’s home, while instilling identity and value in children who desperately need it.

4. Do what it takes to give foster families a break.

The state or region you are in will likely have regulations as to who can “babysit” or provide overnight care for foster children. Find families in your church willing to meet these requirements to give a family an afternoon or a weekend off.

Supporting a foster family is a powerful way to support missions work in your very own neighborhood. Be an anchoring partner in the work of bringing the light of the Gospel to hurting children and families in your area!

1Johnson, Jason (2017) “Wrapping Around Foster and Adoptive Families.” Retrieved from: http://jasonjohnsonblog.com/blog/wrapping-around-foster-and-adoptive-families

About the Author

Mast-authorKelley Mast, his wife, Hannah, and their six children (three biological and three adopted from foster care) live in Kearney, Nebraska. Kelley is the assistant pastor at Spirit of Life Open Bible Church and the Director of Family Services at Compass, a Christian foster care and family services agency. Hannah skillfully manages their foster care cases and a busy home. You can follow Kelley on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kelley.mast

About The Author

Kelley Mast

Kelley is the assistant pastor of Spirit of Life Church and Director of Family Services at Compass, both in Kearney Nebraska. He and Hanna, his wife, have three biological children and four foster children.