Loving Kids from Hard Places
Ministering to Kids with Absent Parents
by Joey Alcala / November 14, 2017
The church is the Body of Christ, and it is the best place for children and parents to be loved, transformed, and supported. We do that through classes, prayer meetings, and working together with city agencies to meet these needs.
It is such a beautiful, messy, and Christlike reconciliation. Kids’ ministry is no different. When the Lord commanded us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, NIV), He excluded no one. Making disciples is an open opportunity for us to reach all His children.
The Oaks Fellowship in Dallas has teamed up with an organization of the North Texas District called “The Keep.” This ministry is committed to serving children who are in foster care or in the adoption process, and their families! I consider it an honor to be a part of this ministry. We readily acknowledge there are unique challenges that go along with meeting the needs of hurting children and overwhelmed families. However, the opportunity to be spiritual fathers and mothers far outweighs those challenges.
Because the God we serve is powerful beyond measure, I believe the following should be our focus:
- Make love the goal.
- Love God and Love others
- Make sure your team (staff, interns, volunteers) knows the why.
- Make the target clear.
- Create a culture of loving those in need.
- See it as the honor it is.
- What an opportunity!
- Make prayer the priority.
- Prayer must be the agenda, not just the start of your agenda.
- Start praying specifically for these children and families.
- Give them an opportunity to serve.
- Plug them in to serving others.
- Help these kids find a place to belong and thrive.
- Set up spiritual mentors.
- Connect them with others.
- Be strategic in prayer and development.
- Treat every child like an individual.
- Get support from people, organizations, and ministries that have more knowledge than you.
The tendency is to make a program of process. I believe in processes and programs, but every child comes with a different set of skills, challenges, potential, and background. We can set a structure, but we must leave room for the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must have flexibility that allows us to meet the needs of those we are trying to disciple, reach, and grow.
Jesus knew his disciples and knew they were not all the same. He pushed them differently, corrected them differently, and encouraged them differently.
We must do the same for the kids God trusts us to steward. Because of this, the reliance on the Holy Spirit is essential. This can only be done when we take time from the business to connect with these kids face to face.
We must be aware of the ministry that is walking past us in the hallway of our church. My prayer is that the love of the Father is so great that everyone who comes near is changed by His power.
This statement bears repeating: Making disciples is an open opportunity for us to reach all His children. Look for ways you can show love to those living in the hard places.