AdvocacyMar. 9, 2015

Make a Difference Monday: Dear Church, you ARE called to foster care

{The following reflection is not an effort to make foster care ultimate, but to encourage us to give pause as a Covenant body to the reality that the ministry of foster care is inescapable. It is already knocking on our doors, waiting to be known and recognized.}

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Calling {noun} ~ a summons or an invitation; a command

I sat with a number of pastors and leaders from various churches as they listened to stories from the world of foster care.

One raised his hand and said, I understand this is important, but we’re already doing great mission and mercy work in our church. We’re not all called to be involved in foster care.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ ~

Foster care is not simply another ministry to add to your productivity list.

And, the extent of foster care ministry is not foster parenting.

Foster care is the tentacles of almost every mercy ministry within your church. The children in foster care represent the addicted, the imprisoned, the trafficked, the abused and neglected.

They reflect divorce, immigration, single parent homes, and the unemployed.

They carry the stories of parents who are homeless, churchless, widowed and broken.

They are little ones who are weighed with special needs, illiteracy, and teenage pregnancy.

They are not invisible or far away.

She is the child sitting by your own at the lunch table.

She is the strange kiddo who crawled up in your lap at a restaurant and put her hand between your legs.

He’s the child who kicked your kid in the face at soccer practice.

And the one always in the Principal’s office when you’re up at the school.

It’s the problem child at VBS, and the reason no one will sign up for that particular Sunday school class.

And it’s the family who has taken up the call to love these kids, yet their marriage, relationships and connection to your Church body is sinking.

Dear Church, you are called to foster care. In fact, you cannot escape it.

Within our city, our country, and our world, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are commanded to be “as the men of Issachar, who studied and understood their times and knew what Israel should do.” ~ I Chronicles 12:32.

Our journey of foster care ministry has forced us to become versed in our country’s realm of welfare, disability, illegal immigration, citizenship, child support, homelessness, sexual abuse, education and the nature of our legal system.

My friends, if the Church is not about believing the name of Jesus is powerful enough to set the oppressed free and loose the chains of injustice, then we have chosen the wrong kind of fast…or so Isaiah once said.

If we are not about feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the wanderer, and clothing the naked, then we are missing the spaces into which God the Father is inviting us to break forth like the dawn, to display the weight of His glory and righteousness, to be as His incarnation here on earth.

We do not do these things because it earns us a place at His table.

We embrace being slaves to righteousness because His great mercy and faithfulness has set us free to be emptied because of His love so that His name may be proclaimed among the nations.

If our churches are not for the broken, then for whom were they created?

For we are all broken and fractured, seeking the only One who can make us whole again.

Friend, Pastor, Leader, and Teacher…

You are called as a Church Body to be aware of the foster care world because only you can bring the One who makes all things possible to an impossible world.

And foster care is an impossible world.

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Catie Lumpkin

Catie Lumpkin

Advocate - Birmingham, AL

Jamie and Catie Lumpkin have been licensed foster parents for three years and cared almost 30 children in that time period. They currently have three biological sons and four foster daughters. Their journey daily takes them to the foot of the cross, where they find strength to love and serve their children’s families, their caseworkers, and other parties involved.

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