After having breakfast recently with some Christ Church members to talk with Bethany Christian Services of West TN, I began to share the excitement that these members already had about Safe Families for Children, a network of families in many different churches throughout the country who temporarily open their homes to children whose parents are struggling.
By establishing a relationship–or better yet–a friendship with the family in need, a host family is able to offer care for the children as the parents receive a hand up into a healthier condition for their own family to flourish.
What excites me so much about Safe Families for Children is that the missions work that Christ Church supports is guided by the values of relationship, empowerment, and sustainability. We have found that these values not only lead us to forms of service that are the most beneficial for everyone involved, but also that they are the most God-honoring in how they help us recognize the “image-of-Godness” in all of us.
Through Safe Families, we can serve our neighbors through relationship by helping empower parents to arrive at a point where they can confidently take full care of their children, and doing so in such a way that leads to a sustainable, healthy life for their family.
Everything about Safe Families’s goals and the way it works is about Jesus, his care, compassion, and concern for justice and peace. It also just the sort of hospitality that the church has historically shown to the vulnerable, and it is an essential part of who we should be:
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CHRIST CHURCH
As Safe Families for Children attests, their model “is only successful when it is embraced and adopted by the local church.”
Coming up on Sunday, March 29, you’re invited to come by after Sunday services to learn about what it could look like for your family to become a Safe Family along with several others from Christ Church.
As a special invitation to you, Christ Church member Sherry Webster shares her enthusiasm for Safe Families based on her own family’s involvement with this truly wonderful ministry.
TESTIMONY FROM SHERRY WEBSTER
If you had a chance to teach Jesus his “ABCs” when He was five, would you do it? Would you think it was a wonderful privilege, or an inconvenience?
We have had several children stay in our home for weeks at a time through the Safe Families ministry. One was a five year old who did not know the alphabet. One day I was in the garage using sidewalk chalk, teaching him the alphabet and letter sounds. To tell the truth, I was giving my own children a break. They had been playing with him nonstop, as this child wanted all of our attention all of the time. I was thinking of all the other things I would rather be doing or needed to do. We were all tired and just wanted a little time to ourselves.
Then I remembered Matthew 25:35, 40. “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” Though scripture didn’t say it specifically, I knew it implied, “I didn’t know the alphabet, and you taught Me.”
There are several ways to get involved with the Safe Families ministry. Hosting a child is just one way; involvement in any way is important.
Some of the blessings our family has received are:
- Sharing the gospel of Jesus verbally, reading Bible stories and praying with the child (Deut. 6:5-7)
- Dying to self (Matt. 9:23)
- Ministering as a family (Matt. 5:16)
- Exemplifying healthy husband wife and parent/child relationships for the families in need (Eph. 5:22-6:4)
- Being a neighbor (Luke 10:30-37)
- Doing for others what you would want done for you (Matt. 7:9-12)
- Building community with the Safe Families staff and with our fellow church members/Christians in other churches that are involved (Rom. 12:3-13)
- Praying for the families in need (Jas. 5:13-16)
- Depending on the Lord for strength to obey (2 Cor. 9:8)
Please check out Safe Families at www.bethany.org/main/safe-families-children to learn more and attend the meeting in the parlor at Christ Church on March 29 at 12:30-1:30 to help decide if the Lord may be asking you to help. Lunch will be provided.
Shoulder to shoulder with you,
Check out cumcmemphis.org/orphancare for more about Safe Families and our conversation on March 29.
RSVP to lunch on March 29 to Nathan Brasfield at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 25.
You can also find information on cumcmemphis.org/orphancare about Empowered to Connect, an upcoming simulcast conference on April 10-11 about adoptive/foster care.