A new movement is emerging among churches of all sizes. Though in its infancy, this movement has the potential to add a significant amount of energy to the world of church revitalization.
The church fostering movement is one you should follow. What is church fostering? It’s good to know the context first.
Revitalization is the process where a church seeks to get healthier using its own internal resources and with its own people.
Adoption is the process where a church seeks to get healthier by being adopted by another church, typically through a merger or becoming a campus. Like the adoption of a child, this arrangement is almost always permanent.
Fostering is the process where a relatively healthy church provides people and resources for a relatively unhealthy church over a specified period of time, most often six months to one year. Like fostering a child, this arrangement is intentionally temporary.
This act is selfless and means the sending church must sacrifice. But God honors this sacrifice in both churches — the one fostering and the one being fostered.
Why should you care about church fostering? Here are five reasons to pay attention to it.
- Every church should have the opportunity to get healthy.
My family fosters children because we believe every child matters. In the same way, every church matters to God. Fostering is a way to glorify God by caring for all His children
- Every church is called to be a good neighbor.
The Great Commandment gives clear instructions to love our neighbors, which includes other churches in our community. Fostering is a great way to demonstrate a commitment to the Great Commandment.
- The pandemic has increased the need for churches to help each other.
The kingdom of God does not benefit from churches competing with each other. What builds the kingdom is a network of cooperating churches. Fostering is one way to strengthen the connection between congregations.
- Fostering is a way to be involved in local mission work.
When you send people from a healthier congregation to a congregation in need, it is a form of local missions. The intent of fostering is to help an inward church begin to move outward again. The mission of God is an outward movement. Churches are designed to be vehicles by which the gospel goes out to the neighborhood. When you help ignite the engine of gospel work in a church, you are doing God’s mission.
- Fostering is a way to demonstrate selflessness.
Sending people and resources to another church is hard. Additionally, fostering requires you to send your best. This act is selfless and means the sending church must sacrifice. But God honors this sacrifice in both churches — the one fostering and the one being fostered.
How can you get started? The simple answer is to get connected with other churches and ask them about their needs while praying with them. Or if you’re interested in going into more depth, you can check out the Church Answers resource, Churches Helping Churches. Get excited about this emerging movement. Fostering has the potential to catapult church revitalization to new levels.