I recently sat with a foster carer from my local church. She and her husband had recently felt the call from God to step into emergency care for sibling groups, as a response to the increased need for carers lately. Many more children are entering care as a result of the increased pressure on families from COVID-19, and if there is no home where siblings can be welcomed together, they are split up and placed in separate homes. It could be weeks before brothers and sisters are reunited, and my friend had felt the weight of this on her heart.
She was meeting with me as the Children’s & Family Ministry Leader, to see how we could rally church families to step in to help her & these children. Her actual words to me were, “I want to know, who would walk beside us?” She felt a great call, but also recognised the great weight of what she was stepping in to. It was a challenge for me.
I asked her what she needed. “Oh, all kinds of things. It’s always different. Play dates with the older children who come so they can have some fun. Someone to call in the middle of the night, or when I’ve run out of baby Panadol. Someone who would be willing to offer adult conversation and a coffee. Someone to hold the babies with me. Or for me!” I asked about washing, cleaning, ironing, cooking meals. “Oh yes, that too. You need a circle of support, a village. It’s just about knowing the ‘who’ really.” I left the meeting thinking about all the people we could ask to walk alongside this family. Who would step in to care for them? Who could stand with them? Who could be the village for this family?
This is the call of the local church. To be the family of God, on mission together. To be the village, or tribe, or circle around these families. We need the grandmas, the grandpas, the aunties, uncles and friends. There are over 9000 children in Queensland who need foster homes, and there are currently only around 5000 carers. That means there is a great need for families in the local church to stand and open their hearts to these children. But it’s not just a call for those who can be foster families. We also need people who will walk beside; who will be the village, and a circle of support for these families. As my friend said, “it’s just about knowing the ‘who’ really.” Who will stand?
This year, we are calling our state’s churches to host a Stand Sunday. Stand Sunday is a global movement of Christians standing in support of the vulnerable children in their communities. We hope and pray that this year, families in our local churches will stand in support of the vulnerable children in their communities. We pray that we would see so many families stand and commit to fostering these children, that there would be more families waiting for children, than children waiting for families. But we’re also praying, if that isn’t what God is calling you to do, that you would stand and be willing to walk alongside those who do. That you would stand in support of those on the frontlines, and that we as the church would truly answer the call to be the village – the family of God on mission together.
Will you stand with us?
You can find out more about how to host a Stand Sunday event by downloading our information pack here.