John 3:16 is a familiar verse to many who grew up around the Bible or a church. We can easily lose the beauty and awe of God’s truth when we are accustomed to the words, but for teens living in foster care, these words can be life-changing.
Transitioning to independence is often celebrated through teenagers’ or parents’ social media posts, as photographs document milestones. However, for older youth in foster care, independence can be daunting; their futures are more unclear and sometimes appear bleak. These youth face significant challenges as they edge toward the age at which they must transition to independent living. Lifeline’s Heritage Builders team and local church partners have hearts to serve this highly vulnerable population, both practically and spiritually.
Alongside church partners in August 2022, Heritage Builders hosted a life skills training for teens living in foster care in Jefferson County, Alabama. As part of this training, mentors and leaders discussed the importance of healthy relationships and why each youth was worthy of being in trustworthy, safe, and consistent relationships. As a tangible reminder of this truth, they were given silicone bracelets with the statements, “I am brave. I am strong. I am loved. I am enough.”
As the group read through Bible verses that correspond with each statement on the bracelet, God’s Word showed them how valuable their lives are. Aren Williams, Heritage Builders Program Manager at Lifeline, shares how God clearly moved through His Word:
When we discussed the “I am loved” statement, I asked, “Can anyone think of a verse that supports this truth?” Several yelled out, “John 3:16.” Then everyone voiced the verse together. The room was filled with approximately 65 voices of youth, group home staff, and church volunteers recounting the love of God—“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” An uplifting peacefulness settled upon that room as we finished saying this verse together. God’s presence was clearly felt. Although the phrases on the bracelet will remind them of truths that will combat the negative messaging they have received throughout their lives, we pray they will remember that meaningful moment and remain soft-hearted to God’s tender pursuit of them.
Heritage Builders is moving in lives to share hope and truth with some of the most vulnerable children in our communities. Through concentrated prayer, they are continuing to work toward a standardized process for replicating similar avenues of connection with teens in foster care. Through availability and obedience, they are trusting God to move in ways that reach beyond strategy or imagination.
Heritage Builders will host its first multi-state church training in early 2023, with the hope of expanding this ministry throughout the country. With eager anticipation, steady planning, and willing submission, we look to God for what only He can do to make a way for His Church to provide the hope of Christ and practical support to aging-out youth as they look to transition to adulthood.
For more information on how your church can get involved, visit our website here.