For Four Points Church in Acworth, foster care is a big part of their DNA. We recently did a Q&A with their new ministry team leader, Heather Price, about why foster care is important to the church, advice for other foster care ministries, and more.
FaithBridge: What made Four Points decide to start a foster care ministry and why did you choose FaithBridge?
Heather: At Four Points, our relationship with FaithBridge has formed rather organically. In the past couple of years, the Lord has been working in the hearts of our foster families to call them to the ministry of foster care. I believe those in our church who originally began the journey were most attracted to FaithBridge as an agency because of the Gospel-centered approach to foster care and the incredible training and support offered by the agency. So before there was a church partnership with FaithBridge, there were family partnerships with FaithBridge. These original foster families embraced the Community of Care model and invited others in our church to become a part of this ministry in various supporting roles. As a result of our foster families’ wonderful experiences with FaithBridge, the church desired to become a partner with FaithBridge. We are eager to see this ministry grow as the Lord moves in the hearts of His people to draw him to care for children and families in need of protection, love, and most importantly, the Gospel.
FaithBridge: Currently, how many foster families and volunteers do you have?
Heather: We currently have eight foster families with four additional families in the training/approval process. We also have 14 trained support volunteers, but I would say that our church on the whole has been amazing at responding to any need that has ever been voiced! We post clothing/supply needs on our Four Points Ladies Facebook page and usually have the need met within 24 hours.
FaithBridge: What have you done to engage the church as a whole in foster care ministry, as well as potential foster families and volunteers?
Heather: Our church is a tight-knit community, and the beauty of that has been that so many in our church have become engaged with our foster ministry by exposure to our foster families and foster children. The children are the ones who reveal the need and soften the hearts of our people more than anything! In addition, we have shared highlights of our foster ministry and the great need for additional foster families and support volunteers with our church leadership group and have held two Encounter trainings in 2018. Additionally, we post to our church Facebook pages whenever needs arise for meals, clothing, supplies, etc., and the church always responds quickly and generously!
FaithBridge: What has been the church’s reaction so far?
Heather: The church has been incredibly supportive of our foster ministry, and it’s been beautiful to see foster families continue to be added to our number. We are thrilled to see God moving in the hearts and lives of more and more families to draw them to serve children in foster care.
FaithBridge: What advice would you offer to other churches wanting to start a foster care ministry?
1. Preach the Gospel faithfully and reveal the great need for Christian foster homes and God will move in hearts to serve vulnerable children.
2. Lead by example. If church leadership steps into foster care ministry, others will follow. (Our pastor and his wife just went through an Encounter)
3. Identify a leader for your foster care ministry who is passionate about the mission and ministry and is a great connector!
4. Create community among foster families within your church. This is more vital than meals, supplies, etc. We need people walking this journey hand in hand with us!
5. Identify a way to offer Parent’s Night Out or babysitting services for foster families for free for time of refreshment and an opportunity to strengthen/support marriages!
FaithBridge: What has gone well so far?
Heather: Our community of foster families is so strong and its has been wonderful to walk together through this journey! We look forward to growing this ministry by identifying more babysitters and respite families, and creating a regular training cadence for new and existing foster families.
FaithBridge: How has FaithBridge helped through the process?
Heather: FaithBridge has provided great training material and a wonderful team to support in answering any questions that arise!
FaithBridge: Why is foster care important to you?
Heather: For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a desire to work with/care for vulnerable children, and I often imagined a future life with two bio children and two adopted children. I just did not know how or when the Lord might bring that to reality, but He has certainly been at work, as He always is! Before moving to Georgia, my husband and I were a part of a church with an incredible foster ministry. We had the opportunity to support friends as they fostered and walk alongside them, loving their little ones. All the kids were amazing and simply getting to know them made the idea of fostering much less scary. We moved to Georgia, and within our first year here, we heard a pastor share his testimony of being abandoned by his father at birth and mother at nine (being left to fend for himself in a drug house). We give praise to God that this man now knows a Father who will never forsake or abandon him, and he gives his life preaching the Gospel. We left that sermon saying to each other that if we could make a difference in the life of a child in a similar circumstance, we must! So, shortly thereafter, we began the licensing process through FaithBridge. We see the great need for foster families as the number of children in foster care continues to climb. We recognize these children are taken into care due to circumstances beyond their control, and they need a loving Christian home during whatever period of time they are in the foster system. We are so glad to be able to provide that for the little ones in our care. Additionally, it has also been an incredible way to serve as a family. My five year old and two year old have had opportunities to love, serve, and be transformed in beautiful ways through this family ministry.