Community Activation

God, who's ways are higher than my ways, and who's thoughts are higher than my thoughts, has allowed me and my family to experience many facets of the world of troubled children. The needs are desperate, the workers are few, and the "system" is overwhelmed.

In Matt 9:37-38 “He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields.” [NLT] My version of this when it comes to the children's field is: The harvest is gigantic, and the workers are sparse! There are many with hearts for these children, but they don't always know how they can help. The purpose of this page is to provide ways, ideas, inspiration so that more workers can put their passion to help these in need to good use. My earnest prayer is to the Lord of the Harvest to send many more workers into this field. Amen!

WAYS TO ENGAGE

Helps for Parents & Troubled Children

As Christians, we have the Love, life, and power of God to help our communities. If we will do as Jesus did and help parents with deliverance and inner healing for their children, I believe many of these problems can be avoided. Therefore, my first and foremost goal is to inspire the Church to bring God's healing, deliverance and change to these hurting children and families in our communities. "On Earth as it is in Heaven." There are also practical helps that churches and individuals can provide to give families some relief, refreshing, and encouragement.

Churches & Parachurch Orgs

Promote deliverance for children in your church or organization. Speak about the Biblical examples of Jesus delivering children. "Normalize" deliverance for children - as it was in the New Testament church.

Encourage parents to use their God-given spiritual authority to pray for deliverance and inner healing for their children.

Identify those in your congregation or organization that are willing to help parents with deliverance and inner healing for their children. Provide them with opportunities to exercise their gifts. For example, invite them to join prayer teams or prophetic teams or healing teams. In other words, encourage them and give them opportunities to practice hearing from God on behalf of others.

Once you have a group of people with faith and practice in prophetically ministering to others, offer deliverance and inner healing services for children. I believe the Bible shows that this should be done with the parents or guardians of the children, and you can leave it to their discretion whether or not to have their child present for this service. (I would also recommend that you have the parent/guardian sign a legal waiver first). I also believe that these services should be offered for free (without requests for donations). Freely we have received and freely we should give. In my experience and from the testimonies of others, God provides for those who bless others with these services - sometimes in very surprising ways!

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Practical Helps

Host a support group for parents of troubled children. Parents of traumatized children tend to isolate - both due to time constraints (troubled children tend to require a great deal of time and attention - doctor's visits, IEP meetings, etc), and due to the judgements of society on parents (people tend to snap judge parents for their children's behavior). Support groups can be tremendously helpful for these parents.

Set up a “Mom’s Day Out” (or parents day/night out) specifically for parents of special needs children. Trained (and patient!) volunteers would be needed for this and very structured activities, etc. Time off for these parents can be such a breath of fresh air for them - with the added bonus that it provide a social opportunity for these children.

Organize practical helps days for families with disabled kids. Again, these families tend to be overwhelmingly busy, so whatever help the congregation can give them for minor home repairs and/or cleaning, organizing could truly bless them.

Sunday School for neurodiverse children. For example, there is one company that provides curriculum for Sunday school for kids with autism. https://www.curriculumforautism.com/sunday-school

Another church employs young adults/teenagers with disabilities in it's coffee shop - much like Bitty and Beau's coffee shops.

Provide assistance for troubled children in kids church.

Provide social opportunities/groups for troubled children.

Individuals

If you have a heart for helping parents and traumatized children in the area of deliverance and inner healing, I earnestly want to encourage you that by Holy Spirit, you can do this! I know of people who just trusted God to lead them and they dove in and did it. Dr. Ana Ferrel-Mendez shares her testimony (in her book, "Regions of Captivity" ) of how she got saved (and delivered) in a psych hospital. She immediately called the pastor who led her to the Lord and together they went around delivering the other patients in the hospital! Hallelujah! It is "not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit' says the Lord."

If, however, you would like training and help with this (as I did - and am very grateful for the training I received) there are various ways of getting "trained" or building up your faith for this. In my opinion, it is mainly about being able to hear (see, perceive, feel - whatever ways God communicates with you) God on behalf of others, as well as having faith in the authority God has given us in Jesus' Name to cast out and/or bind unclean spirits.

There are various ways to do this. If your church community has prayer teams/altar teams, healing teams, or prophetic teams, that is a good way to practice hearing God on behalf of others. You can also read books (with testimonies) on the subject or watch videos. Testimonies of others doing it can help build up our own faith. If you have someone willing to mentor you in this, that's great too. There are several organizations that offer training in these areas, albeit not necessarily for children. But they are still opportunities to build up your faith and ability to hear God's Voice. I recommend Christian Healing Ministries, Orbis Ministries, and The Sapphire Group (they all have on-line training or teaching available. Sapphire Group is more about teaching and suggesting ways to practice on your own rather than providing opportunities to practice with others). I'm sure there are many others. I would not recommend, though, those that focus on helping adults work through inner healing (ie. Sozo, Restoring the Foundations, Cleansing Streams, that sort of thing). Those ministries are wonderful, just not geared toward children. Kids don't have the brain maturity to be able to effectively participate in those or benefit from them, and these are not things their parents can do on their behalf.

Practical Helps

Offer respite - One of the biggest needs of parents of traumatized children is for respite. Parenting these children is exhausting, and due to their special needs, it’s hard to find people who can tend to them and give the parents much needed breaks. If you have the ability to care for their children short term, offer that to them.

If "helps" is more your gifting, offer to do some housekeeping or yard work or minor repairs for them, for example.

Social help for kids -One of the biggest needs of traumatized children is friends and social opportunities. If you have children who are mature enough to be patient with troubled kids, with their permission, host play dates or other ways for your children to interact with them. I am eternally grateful for the patient, loving, Christian neighbors who allowed their children to play with mine when they were in their most vulnerable (and awkward) states.

Intercession

Make your congregation aware of the needs of these children and the institutions that serve them.

Host intercession groups for troubled children, their families, and these institutions.


Form groups to prayer walk around psychiatric hospitals, youth detention centers, family courts, probation departments, endangered neighborhoods, schools, foster care organizations, etc.

Many ministries that serve troubled children have their own prayer groups or send out prayer requests. Encourage your congregation to join these or host prayer meetings for them.

Join our weekly prayer time on Telegram (Children's Bread FF Intercession group page)

Start your own prayer group

Prayer walk around one of these facilities in your area with 1 or 2 others. Matt. 18:19-20 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (NASB)

Join the prayer groups of ministries that serve troubled youth or get on their prayer requests lists so that you can join in praying for their needs.

Volunteer

Here are some examples of Christian organizations that help troubled youth. If these types of ministries exist in your area, you can join and help them. If they don't, let them inspire you to start one!

Congregations for Kids (CFK)

https://www.cfknc.org/

Their main mission is to bring the area churches together to help the children in foster care, their families, and the social workers that serve them. In addition to meeting practical physical needs of foster families, they also provide mentoring for teens who are at risk of aging out of foster care without a forever family. They train and license prospective foster families. They support and encourage social workers through their “Socialight” program (adopt a social worker and they also put on social worker appreciation events frequently). And they PRAY - organize prayer events and send out monthly prayer focuses to volunteers as well as text alerts of special needs. CFK serves the Greater Charlotte Metro Area (which includes suburbs in SC). They are always looking for volunteers and new ways that they can serve this community.

Youth For Christ (YFC) -Juvenile Justice Ministry

yfc.net/ministry/juvenile-justice-ministry/

From their website: "Juvenile Justice Ministry exists to create a faith-based continuity of care model geared toward fostering holistic connection and secure relationship with young people during any point of contact with the juvenile justice system. Our strategy is to come alongside young people in what it means to journey with Jesus; balancing the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of life. We build relationships that are sustained through ongoing involvement as young people navigate the different pillars encompassing the juvenile justice system: Community, Courts, and Corrections". There isn’t a chapter of this ministry in the Greater Charlotte Metro Area, nor in all of SC, so one possibility to serve is to start a chapter here or in your area if one doesn't already exist.

Excellerate Youth

https://www.excellerateyouth.org/

They meet in churches and they primarily mentor older orphaned/foster teens who are likely to age out of the system without getting adopted. They have a 4 month “classroom” program for the teens where they get help with Academics; Life Skills; Professionalism; Financial Responsibility; Social Skills; and Spiritual Growth. They currently have 5 locations - 2 of them in SC.

New Era Education Initiative

Education Transformation - MorningStar Ministries hosts an annual conference dedicated to transforming education in America. It's called the New Era Conference and this year will be held on June 23rd-25th (https://mstarevents.com/new-era-education-conference-2024). Additionally, the Nexus Mountain Network app maintains an "Education" online group to help those working in this field get and stay connected with one another.

Dads on Duty

https://twitter.com/DadsOnDutyUSA Dads on Duty is an organization that provides adult men who have fathering hearts to volunteer on school campuses. They just walk the campuses and are available for kids to talk and hangout. Studies show that their presence on these campuses has reduced violence and contributed to a sense of peace and security on these campuses. Dads on Duty has a FB page as well and other ways to contact them online. There are other organizations that do the same things, such as Watch D.O.G.S. and Good Dads (and others). In Mecklenburg County there's one called, "Be There Dad" (https://betheredad.org/).

Organize and offer Bible studies or church services in pediatric psych facilities, youth detention centers, or group homes. Many of the children in these facilities are, on a practical level, orphans. They are so hungry for love and attention and many of them are very open to the Gospel.


Facilitate groups like YFC - Juvenile Justice Ministries. Ie. provide meeting space for them, help promote their mission.

Organize youth group outreaches to kids in these facilities.

Lead a Bible Study or small discipleship group in a pediatric psych hospital, or juvenile detention facility, or foster group home.

Lead mini church services on the weekend. Many of these facilities have regular activities for the kids on weekdays, but have much fewer on the weekends, as well as less staff then.

Become a chaplain for juvenile facilities

Here is an example of a man who started a ministry like this on his own: https://adots.org/christ-behind-prison-walls-support-a-juvenile-justice-ministry/

Professionals

Pediatric psych nurses and therapists, special ed teachers, group home workers, etc. are on the front lines (along with parents) of helping these traumatized and at-risk children. Think of them as missionaries in a hostile land, as many of them often are. They need the support of their local church. Hosting support groups for them can be a big help.

Those who work in troubled children facilities or organizations have very difficult jobs. They are often caught between difficult bureaucracies , and the sometimes severe needs of the children in their care. Sometimes they have co-workers or bosses who are hostile to Christianity. I know some who tell me they feel like undercover spies - and consequently, very lonely! The work is overwhelming because of the huge shortages.

Befriend them. Pray for them. Affirm them. Bless them!

Lobby Government & Leaders for Change

Troubled children - those in foster care, in psych hospitals, in youth detention, etc - are often invisible in our society (partly because of privacy laws regarding children). They can't vote, are not in positions of leadership, and typically can not speak up for themselves. Therefore, they need adults to advocate for them. Their parents/guardians are typically exhausted from the extra care-giving responsibilities. Lobbying includes making people aware of the needs. Churches can do that amongst their congregations, and individuals can do that within their spheres of influence. One Christian organization that is lobbying state governments around the Nation is called: #Don't Mess With Our Kids (www.dontmesswithourkids.us). You can also lobby governments for reforms and funding for more and better psychiatric services, juvenile justice reforms, and education options for troubled children. You can run for office. You can work with organizations that lobby for these reforms. There are many many ways to plug in!