Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading
women in children's ministry to share their knowledge and passion.
For us to gather and learn from each other...to sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Adding Fostering to the Mix of Family & Ministry
- Kendra Golden
- Kendra Golden
Three kids, a working husband, serving at church, and a more-than-full-time ministry role. I know what we should add! How about a couple of foster kids? It does sound pretty crazy, doesn't it?
My husband and I like to blame our decision to become a foster family about 50/50 on Jesus and Francis Chan. We first started talking about it after listening to a podcast from Francis Chan’s former church. His executive pastor Todd wouldn't shut up about fostering. The last straw came at the Orange Conference when Francis Chan said something like, “You know the next step God has for you. So take it.” I walked out and called my husband. When I got home, we started the approval process.
In December 2009, two little abused and battered sisters moved into our home. As a credentialed teacher, children’s ministry professional, and mother of three, you’d think I would have been more prepared for what played out. But being a foster family turned out to be way more than just having five kids instead of three (although five is a LOT more than three!). It was a doorway into a parallel universe of caseworkers, bio parents, judges, counselors, and countless crisis situations colliding every day while I commuted blissfully from one side of my suburb to the other.
Even among a compassionate, devoted-to-Christ staff, I feel like kind of a weirdo sometimes. It probably seems to my friends that every story I tell ends up having to do with our fostering journey. But in a way, it does. I have NEVER had anything serve as a bigger catalyst for spiritual growth than being a foster mom. No book study, no fast, no reading plan, no mission trip, no camp, no class, no sermon series, no small group, no retreat—nothing has ever challenged and changed me so profoundly as having someone else’s child under my roof. You know that part in the old Wizard of Oz where it turns into color almost without you noticing the moment it happened? That’s what has happened to so many passages of scripture viewed through the lens of this fostering experience.
Working in the triage unit for the epidemic of failing families has made me a more Christ-dependent person, but it has also affected how I design programming for our church. Having a names-and-faces knowledge of the stats for abuse, trauma, and neglect causes me to write in little cues to small group leaders, lines for characters in scripts, and even teaching points that offer hope for healing to the hurting kids sitting unidentified in our rooms.
If you are considering fostering, I’m not sure what my advice would be to you, since I say something different to everyone I talk to about it. I guess I would say not to use the “move forward until God closes a door” notion as you walk through this process. The truth is, you’ll run into lots of barricaded doors moving through a clumsy secular system that's attempting to address a problem only Jesus can fix. So if you come to a closed door, don't mistake it as an act of God. Kick it down. You'll be glad you did.
Kendra Golden has been designing and developing LifeKIDS ministry materials for LifeChurch.tv ever since God snatched her out of her elementary teaching career back in 2003. She stays neck-deep in all things children’s curriculum—writing teaching content, programming worship experiences, making up songs, planning family connection events, and dancing around in an elephant suit. She has loved her writer husband Brannon since 1989, her son Kenny since 1997, her son Preston since 2001, and her daughter Evangeline since 2005. And they’re just crazy enough about Jesus to agree to be a foster family. Kendra also likes gangsta rap, cities, museums, movies, the OKC Thunder, and traveling.