By Abby Hopkins
A young, single woman decided last year to answer a calling on her heart she felt since a young age. She decided to become a foster parent. This “yes” brought four placements and many struggles over the course of eight short months. To ease the stresses and anxieties, Fostering Hope in Amarillo provided for Shelby’s needs.
Fostering Hope is a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering supported ministry that seeks to serve children, families, and foster care agencies by supporting and equipping them to better adjust to new placements and fostering hardships.
“Hunger Offering funds help meet the basic needs of the children who have been taken from their homes and the families who have been enlisted to provide for them,” said Trevor Brown, associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Amarillo. Fostering Hope is a ministry of First Baptist.
The church hosted a lunch more than three years ago with the purpose of engaging those who may be interested in foster care and adoption. David and Sydney Rieff, members of the church, felt a call to partner in the work, not through fostering themselves, but by equipping those who do. They launched Fostering Hope for this purpose.
When an agency goes out to place a child with a foster family, Brown said it usually happens quickly and unexpectedly, and the families are not always equipped. Fostering Hope’s Care Closet has everything the family may need, including furniture, clothes, toys, diapers, and more.
A new Barna report shows that pastors “place a premium on discipleship when it comes to social issues.”
Nine in 10 pastors (90%) say it is a major part of their role to help Christians have biblical beliefs about specific social issues. Just under three-quarters (72%) say helping Christians think well about culture in general is a major part of their job.
Pastors believe they can make a real difference when it comes to developing this kind of cultural discernment. More than nine in 10 believe they have influence with their congregants when it comes to how they think about current issues in society (31% say “a lot” of influence, 60% “some” influence). Most leaders express optimism that their congregants are prepared for a divided culture—a majority of pastors says their congregants are somewhat (55%) or very (7%) well-equipped to have conversations on sensitive topics.
We can be thankful most pastors say it is a “major part” of their work to help believers develop a biblically informed view of social issues. Also, most see themselves having at least “some” influence on how church members think about current issues.
I’m not as confident as the pastors who say their congregants are well-equipped to have conversations on sensitive cultural topics.
Two events on two successive weekends have encouraged me. In mid-January, I witnessed busloads of people streaming into Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life. One week later, I listened to thousands of people cheer during Austin’s Rally for Life.
Both events attracted large numbers of students and young adults. There’s an enormous concern evidenced by the thousands of students lifting up the importance and value of life.
A message can be gleaned from this -- pro-life supporters are not going away. And more and more pro-lifers understand that it is not just about abortion; we want to promote the value of human life from conception to natural death.
Children before birth are among the most vulnerable among us, but many women who are carrying these children are in vulnerable positions, as well. We need broad cultural understanding, support systems, and legal frameworks within which we promote the health of all children and their mothers.
In speaking at the Austin event, I noted that Texas Baptists believe every person is created in the image of God and, therefore, deserves our respect and honor from conception.
After reading Psalms 139:13-16 in both English and Spanish, I called for all Texans to work together in . . .
Standing in the midst of the Harmons, Jamaica, I felt as though I was surrounded.