Here are some questions I've been thinking about over the last week:
- What would it look like to have the family unleash it's ministry potential?
- How do we care for the most helpless of our society when we live in suburbs far away from the greatest need?
- How can the church regain it's role in our culture as a safe haven for parent's in crisis and their children?
- For those that have a heart to adopt or for foster care but aren't ready to take that step yet, what other options are there?
These are just a few of the questions I've been asking myself since I learned about Safe Families for Children last week.
I had the privilege of meeting with Krista Davis and Aaron Elliot form Grace Community Church. Krista is the Assistant Director for Safe Families in Indianapolis. Safe Families for Children is a program which allows God's people to give meaningful, life-changing support to families in crisis. It started in Chicago where it's been hugely successful and has been the recipient of grant money even from Oprah! It's now expanded to several other cities across the country, Indianapolis being one of those.
Safe Families is a way for the church to mobilize, intervene and care for children and parents who are about to go through a crisis. Unlike government programs where kids go once abused, neglect or trauma has happened, host families in the Safe Families program are connected with children before any of this happens. Referrals come from government agencies, hospitals, women shelters and a variety of other methods. Being a host family where these children are placed for any period from a day to several months is a great opportunity to serve and minister to both the children and their parent(s).
God's view on caring for children and orphans is very clear (see James 1:27, Psalm 82:3, Psalm 68:5-6, Isaiah 1:17). The early church was even recognized for going above and beyond in this area. The Christian writer Tertullian (AD 200) wrote, "It is our care for the helpless, our practice of loving kindness that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents." The early Christians were known for their acts of kindness and service, caring for babies who were deformed or discarded because of their sex. It's time the church retake it's rightful place in caring for the 'least of these' in our society, a role that we long ago abdicated to the government!