Thornapple Community Church becomes a Safe Families church

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services)

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services)

USA (MNN) — In the state of Michigan, there are 14,000 children who share one thing in common: they are foster children.

14,000 children have had to leave their parents because of an illness, addiction, or abuse, or because their parents couldn’t keep a roof over their heads.

14,000 children had to leave their parents and start over with a new family assigned by the government.

Bethany Christian Services is introducing a different option.

They’re integrating a new program into their ministry called Safe Families for Children, which pairs ministries like Bethany with local churches to keep children out of the foster care systems. They give hope to families facing hard circumstances by providing safe, loving, Christian homes for children who need to be cared for.

“Safe Families provides an opportunity for a child not to go into a system, [but] to be cared for in a loving environment,” says Pastor Tim Dieffenbach, Minister of Congregational Life at Thornapple Community Church.

“We had several of our members who became interested in Safe Families…. They’ve formed a team around this, and we’ve begun the process of making Thornapple Church a lead church in the program.”

The Thornapple team is supporting host families from other churches, along with resources a host family might need: diapers, baby formulas, etc.

“Anything that would help make the experience for the host family more doable in their life,” explains Dieffenbach.

Right now, they are providing support for two families, and two other families in Thornapple Community Church are hosting. But, they’re working to provide more than physical support.

“We’re doing this from a Christian Faith base. [That means] children are going to come alongside of the families that are caring for them, and they’re going to participate in our church life,” Dieffenbach reports.

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services)

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services)

Safe Families for Children promotes acceptance of children and families, no matter what their background, social class, and life might look like.

“There’s an acceptance to see that child as a child of God, and made in God’s image,” says Dieffenbach.

“We’re going to embrace that child. They may still be on their journey of recognizing this within themselves, but that’s not a qualifier for us.”

You can show love to a struggling family. You can keep children and families together while they mend. And you can show them the love of God.

Learn more about Safe Families for Children here.