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3 Reasons Christians Should Consider Foster Parenting

christian foster parenting

Here at the Summit, we are committed to taking the love of Christ to some of the most broken areas of our community. One of those areas is orphan care, and we want to see our church become a culture that cares for the fatherless.

An enormous—but often forgotten—step in caring for orphans is foster care. I asked a local Christian social worker why Christians should care about fostering. This was her response:

I’ve been a foster care worker for about seven months with Wake County. This has given me the incredible opportunity to be a witness of what it looks like when families step out of their comfort zone and step into a child and their family’s lives. I’ve seen foster parents who lose sleep for weeks to wake children up and take them to the rest room because trauma sometimes makes children wet the bed every night. I’ve seen foster parents worry, cry and fight for help for these children only to lose battle after battle with schools, DSS or that child’s parents. I’ve seen foster parents break down in tears and tell me they don’t know how to help and they don’t know if they can take any more.

And when that happens, I don’t know what to tell them. Because there is no earthly reason why someone would want to be a foster parent.

In fact, I think it takes an incredible measure of God’s love, grace and wisdom being poured into you and out of you to be a foster parent, which is the very reason Christians are called to do it.

1. By choosing to be foster parents, Christians are choosing to live a life that demonstrates the love and humility of the Gospel.

Since I started my job, I’ve been challenged to face head-on some of the things I would like to most ignore, such as the presence of sexual abuse, violence, death and fear. And in the midst of that, God has taught me some incredible lessons about what it means to be forgiven and to accept his grace and mercy.

Instead of painting those who abuse or neglect their children as monsters, I’ve learned to look at them and see the effects of a fallen world and sin from which I’ve only been removed because of some mixture of privilege and God’s grace.

It’s really easy for me to look at the families I work with and to say they are there because they deserve to be there, because they’ve made bad choices and are reaping what they sowed.

There’s a measure of truth to that, of course. But only a measure. Because what the Gospel teaches us is that their sin is no worse than ours. Most of us don’t act like we believe that. We don’t really think that we deserve no better than the worst of their consequences. And when we do that, we are cheapening God’s grace.

Most of the people that I live my life with have food. We have safety. We have the ability to seek friendships. We have family to call on when we need them.

Who are we to keep this grace to ourselves?

Jesus didn’t. He came down to us and sacrificed himself entirely for our flourishing, despite the ugliness and the neediness of our sin. And that’s what foster care requires. It requires reaching out and making yourself available for sacrifice despite what you might think about the families you are serving.

In return, we learn an even greater depth of the love that Jesus has for us. And we get the privilege to show that love to the world.

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.