Theology Thursday: Family Ministry Through the Foster System

By Thomas Linton, Faculty

Foster mom sitting and smiling with foster daughter

Serving in the foster care ministry from 2013 until 2021, it has been observed that there are many blessings and challenges. For example, the experience of loss when a child leaves the foster home to get reunified with their birth parents or placed with another family member. A foster family has given this child love and care, then to see the child removed and coupled with the fear of the unknown may be one of the biggest excuses for why families choose not to get involved with the foster care ministry.

This fear of losing a child that has been in the home and loved by the family is a real issue. Even with this sense of loss, there is a sense of obedience to Jesus and of helping to achieve what is said by James 1:27, “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world,” (NIV). However, there are some basic values that can help families be effective in this ministry.

Honor God in All We Do

For the family to take on this value to love God with all we do, hopefully the child will pick up on this intentional act of giving thanks and honor to God in all that we do. This can involve activities like doing family worship, family scripture reading, and praying with each child at bedtime. This is also seen in a consistent discipline and discipleship of these children.

Build Relationships Through Trust and Respect

To build relationships with these children through trust and respect is to be consistent with how the parents act toward these children. An understanding of the trauma that these children have experienced from a young age and from previous caregivers provides space for safety and grace in a situation.

Be a Good Steward With What We Have Been Given

To be a good steward with all that has been given is to acknowledge that everything is from the Lord. Additionally, we should be thankful for the life entrusted to us and live as though it is a gift of God.

Do Everything With Excellence

When the foster parents demonstrate excellence in their marriage, relationships, work and parenting then the foster children learn to put forth effort in school, relationships and other activities.

When Christian parents model these values for their own biological children and foster children it will help produce a sense of belonging for these children. The foster children will see themselves as belonging with the family and that is important for these children. It will also be with them when they do go back to their biological family and hopefully be used by the Lord as a means to break the family cycles of abuse and neglect.

A Successful Team Effort

One final, and important, aspect of a family in the foster care ministry is to be members of a local church and to have the support of the local church. This means to have the elders and members praying over the family and actively supporting the family. This also allows the foster children to see what it is like to be involved in the local church.

Read more theology and ministry blogs and learn about degree programs offered by GCU's College of Theology today. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.