MBCH Children and Family Ministries
MBCH's Church Engagement Initiative Takes Foster Care Ministry to the Community
Imagine living in Warsaw, Missouri and wanting to be a foster parent. Further imagine wanting to work with Missouri Baptist Children’s Home to get the appropriate training. Then imagine being told, “We would love to work with you if you are willing to drive to Springfield, Joplin, Kansas City or Bridgeton.” Since Warsaw is not convenient to any of those locations, you realize that your dream of fostering may have just vanished.
That is the scenario that would have taken place just a couple of years ago. A primary focus of the new MBCH Church Engagement Initiative, however, is taking MBCH to the churches and their communities. So, when Daniel Yoder, pastor of the recently planted Church of Living Water in Warsaw, contacted MBCH in October with questions about getting church members ready to become foster parents the answer was “We can come to you.”
Pastor Daniel presented the concept of Christian foster care to his church one Sunday by telling them that you can always say “no” to being a foster parent at any time, but you cannot say “yes” if you don’t take the class. He then referenced James 1:27 which says ‘Look after orphans and widows in their distress.’ After that he had a huge response from his small church wanting to take the classes to become foster parents and/or respite providers.
Robbi Haynes, MBCH Children and Family Ministries (MBCH CFM) Program Director, traveled from Springfield to conduct an information meeting at the church October 25th and was amazed at the level of interest in the small church. Pastor Daniel and his wife were participants in that meeting. Robbi also contacted the Circuit Manager of the Children’s Division circuit in that area to let them know what we are doing and to confirm that there was a need for more families in that area.
That meeting led to the formation of a STARS (State approved foster parent training program) class at the church. The first session began on November 27 with twelve families from the church.
Family Resource Development Specialist, Crystal Haehn, is training the class along with Andy Thornton who is a foster parent co-trainer. Chrystal says they have enjoyed training this class because all of the participants already know each other which eliminated the awkward stage of getting to know everyone or no one wanting to talk or share because they all know each other. She says the participants aren’t afraid to discuss topics and/or ask questions because they all feel comfortable around one another.
Class members care deeply for each other and want to see each other succeed as foster families and as a church family. They are very vocal about wanting to share their faith with these foster children and their families and show them Christ’s love so that they can come to know God in a personal way through Jesus Christ. “It’s a really neat environment to train in because they already have a desire to support one another in any way possible and they share a sense of community,” Haehn said.
One unique aspect of this class is that there is that one participant who joins the class by Skype because he is an over- the- road truck driver. Normally this would be awkward and weird for the class but since he knows everyone in the class, he is actively engaged and others in the class talk to him and give him a hard time just as if he was there. Haehn went on to say, “Andy and I feel like we are part of this church family and it has been a huge blessing to be a part of it! We are excited to see what God has in store for them!”
The need for foster parents in Missouri is great. The need for Christian foster parents is even greater. The ministry of foster care is one of the greatest mission opportunities that can be done in your own home. Your church and/or association may have a number of people who are feeling that God may be calling them to foster care. We encourage you to contact Robbi Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin exploring how MBCH may be able to engage YOUR church in caring for the hurting children in your community.