Since March of 2015, when they launched their foster care ministry, Celebration Church in Hoschton has seen their Community of Care step up time and again.
“Our Community of Care takes ownership of our families, and I have seen late-night grocery runs, meals for five days straight, and clothing brought to the door of one of our families,” said Lindsey Martin, ministry team leader at Celebration. “It is such a beautiful thing to see people being the hands and feet of Jesus in whatever way they are able to be.”
Celebration currently has two foster families in their church and two additional families they support through their extended community of care. They also have eight approved volunteers and at least 20 other additional “meals and clothing” volunteers who provide items for families as part of the ministry.
“Looking back over the past two years of partnership with FaithBridge, I see God working in our community to help us be others focused and willing to step out of our comfort zone. I have met so many wonderful people who have come to the ministry team willing to help in so many ways, and bringing awareness to needs in our community,” Lindsey said. “I see our members stepping out in faith and being bold for Jesus with their sacrifice and willingness to serve these children and their families. One family comes to my mind as an example of pure and selfless giving. They were our first family to complete the process and are so pure in their love for the children in their homes, but also for their families. They pray with their children for the families of their foster children and they believe in the redemption of families through Jesus.”
To help spread awareness about the ministry, Celebration’s pastor Mike Day speaks very opening about foster care needs from the pulpit. The church also hosts monthly Encounter sessions.
“I have found that one-on-one time is what really matters for families who are currently fostering or are considering fostering,” Lindsey said. “There are so many questions about the process – and once you are in the foster parent role. When people connect and get to know families that are fostering, it can create a camaraderie, as well as help other families know that they can do it too. For us, large group sessions have not been as successful in final recruitment.”
For other church considering starting a foster care ministry, Lindsey offers this advice.
“If you are in church leadership, it is important to research and understand how the process works when you have a host agency versus working directly through DFCS. The partnership that our church families have with Faithbridge is truly irreplaceable and the Faithbridge partnership allows our parents to have the quality and support they need to foster long term. If you are not in a leadership position, pray about meeting with your leadership team and provide them with the information about foster care needs and how the church can help with this crisis.
“Faithbridge has been so helpful to our church and families by providing accurate information through the process of foster care, as well as providing the Christ centered focus that is vital for fostering long term.”
As a social worker, Lindsey has a heart for foster care and is sometimes affectionately called the “foster care lady”.
“For me personally, my profession and my faith combine in my passion for helping the foster care system and for helping families in crisis. I believe that Jesus went towards the broken and the hurting people, and as a Jesus follower, I am called to do the same and go towards the mess,” she said.
“You don’t have to be a social worker to make an impact in the foster care system, and my church family is a beautiful example of that. The leadership in my church mirrors the passion that I have for families in crisis by their compassion and openness to families of all conditions.”