The God who created the universe and everything in it has an imagination infinitely beyond ours. At times, His seemingly illogical decisions and designs baffle humanity, leaving no logical explanation for how He’s working except that He is an infinite God in ways our finite minds cannot comprehend. At other times, He so clearly works within the logic, systems and order He created that it’s fun to watch the predicable pieces fall into place.
The Community of Care® is one of those models that God has created and has given FaithBridge to use to love foster children and families well. Of course, we see God continually working despite whatever we do and when we see things not as they’re supposed to be or lined up how we imagined they would be, writing some amazing stories. Nevertheless, He still has called us as an intentional, Christ-centered ministry to fulfill the mission He gave us and, time and time again, uses this model to love vulnerable children better than we could without it.
Stephanie and Stephen Watts at Mt. Bethel UMC understand that. They began a journey of being called to foster care ministry years ago that included thoughts of adoption, being foster parents and serving in foster care ministry leadership. Yet, today, they are clearly called to be a respite home, providing care for foster children for one or two nights per month for a foster family and fulfilling a key role of the Community of Care® at their church.
“We’ve seen such a need for respite,” says Stephanie, who also serves as her church’s foster care ministry team leader. “I love the model. I love that this is something that our church can claim ownership of, and I believe in the Community of Care® model. It’s not just the family that’s fostering. We’re all called to care for orphans. It’s a command. No not all are called to foster, but we’re all called to care for orphans. I love seeing the church members of all ages come together to support these children and these families.”
As FaithBridge seeks to fill the gap and provide foster families for foster children, respite parents fill a different gap. They not only serve foster families by caring for foster children about once a month for one or two nights but also add to the community of adults who reflect Jesus to children who are walking through the difficult journey of being in foster care. And we can never predict how God will change the course of a life through us when we are faithful in loving Him by loving others.
To learn more about how you can fill the gap by providing respite care, click here for an introduction to FaithBridge and foster care.