A responsibility of the local church to care for abused and neglected children
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, CityServe, along with churches around the nation will be observing a National Day of Prayer, referred to as Blue Sunday, this April 25th. This day reminds faith communities to intercede in prayer for abused and neglected children and to open their doors to provide good homes for those who need them. Giving children a safe place to lay their head every night is not only a beautiful expression of God’s love, it is the responsibility of the Church. We at CityServe believe wholeheartedly in this mission and challenge the faith community to go a step further – to strengthen the American family so kids stay safe in their homes and empower churches to go all in when caring for children who are waiting for their forever families
Along with its collaborative network of HUB and POD (point of distribution) churches, CityServe is mitigating the risk factors associated with abusive home environments. Factors like poverty, addiction, hunger, single-parenthood, mental health issues, and incarceration that are found in every city in America. Unfortunately, these issues are common to our current cultural moment. But CityServe knows that God’s people can bring light to any kind of darkness.
Abuse Prevention: A Holistic Approach to Ministry
In a March discussion about how the local and global church might care well for families at risk, CityServe Vice President of Children’s Initiatives, Lynn Johnson said, “We need to go into every zip code with the intent to build strength and dignity and caring.”
Lynn’s experience as Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, as well as her own firsthand experiences mentoring young adults aged out of foster care, have fueled her passion about faith communities doing not only their part, but doing it in ways that only churches can – as a family.
“61% of the kids removed from their homes are removed due to the consequences of poverty,” Johnson explained. “Not because they’ve been physically or sexually abused.”
So, what can churches do to alleviate the emotional and physical toll on families suffering the effects of poverty?
The possibilities are endless when a church community decides to wrap around a family using all their gifts, talents, and resources.
CityServe’s abuse prevention efforts are in line with several of our core initiatives: to serve the hungry, the widow, the poor, the addicted, the prisoner, the vulnerable, and the exploited. When churches serve the needs of families in these circumstances, they can help release that pressure and bring the light of Jesus into the home.
Redeeming Stories of Abuse
Johnson reminds us that the greatest hope for our nation’s kids is found when the church community decides that it is their job to go “all in.”
“CPS (Child Protection Services) is only one piece of the puzzle,” she says. “Teachers, pastors, doctors, and parents see these children. One system cannot take the hit on this [child abuse]. The whole community has to start wrapping their arms around America’s kids.”
What will your church do?
On April 25th join CityServe in praying for child abuse to end. That the factors that lead to abuse would be alleviated and that families would stay whole. Pray for discernment in how your church family might partner in the ministry of abuse prevention and how best to wrap around families who are already serving America’s kids.
By Crissy Sanchez-Cochran, Director of Communications, CityServe