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5 Hesitations You May Have About Becoming a TFI Advocate

By June 27, 2024Blog

“Applications are open to become a TFI Advocate!”

A couple times each year, you have likely seen this announcement from us here at The Forgotten Initiative. But your initial thought may have been something like:

“Oh awesome, I wonder who is going to apply!”
“They can’t be talking about me.”

“I could never succeed at a role like that.”
“I’d like to do something like that, but I don’t have the necessary skills.”

Many Advocates started in this role because someone in their life encouraged them to apply even when they weren’t sure if they were perfect for the role.

The Forgotten Initiative exists to help churches support foster care agencies across America. We are passionate about helping churches develop compassion and understanding for the foster care community and providing gospel-centered encouragement as they step in to meet the physical, relational, and spiritual needs of those in foster care. Together, we can help the foster care community feel seen and supported.

The primary way we do this is through the TFI Advocate role. Each person in this role helps bridge the gap between churches that want to tangibly share the love of Jesus but struggle to know how and foster care agencies that need encouragement and additional support as they step into the lives of others.

See the Map of TFI Advocate Ministries

Here are 5 common hesitations we hear from people who are considering applying:

1. “I’ve never led a local ministry before.”

You may feel unsure of how you would launch and lead a local ministry. It can feel like a big endeavor to locate and connect with churches, church leaders, agencies, agency workers, and foster parents.

However, this is the very reason why we exist! We offer personalized coaching, professional resources, and an intentional community of other Advocates to encourage and support you. We will provide the blueprint to create connections, build long-lasting partnerships, and even guide you towards loving Jesus and leading others towards Jesus more.

2. “I’m not a foster parent.” or “I’m new to the foster care community.”

You may feel that since you are new to the foster care community or because you are not a foster parent, this disqualifies you from the TFI Advocate role. This is not the case!

Many times, we have seen this actually be an asset. It’s not uncommon for agencies to have policies in place that prevent them from accepting certain types of support from active foster parents. So in this instance, being a neutral party is actually a valuable trait.

You don’t have to foster to care. You can still make a difference no matter what your past experience or background. We’re here to guide you with any training, resources, and understanding as you prepare to serve your community as an Advocate.

3. “I don’t have enough time.”

Life is busy, and it can be difficult to find the time to do the things we are passionate about.

A day in the life of a TFI Advocate will vary depending on the unique needs of their community. However, we’ve seen that an Advocate typically averages around 5 hours each week distributed between relationship-building, ministry planning, and administrative organization.

If we only wait until we “have the time,” there will be many things we never end up doing. There are seasons of life, of course, where it would be unwise to pursue the Advocate role, but we want to encourage you to seek God and consider if this is a step He may be calling you to take to serve your community!

4. “I’m not the most outgoing person.”

Remember when Moses told God in Exodus 4:10, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent…”?

It’s easy to think that this role is best suited for someone who is more “outgoing.” But the truth is that we have seen many types of personalities thrive in this role, so long as they have a care for others and a desire to connect people with ways to serve.

This work is primarily about relationship-building in various settings from small groups to one-on-one with individuals. If you’re not excited about speaking in front of large groups, that is not a requirement of this role. (Unless God would open that door and stretch you in that way!)

Our primary requirement is that you are someone who loves Jesus and is passionate about helping others become more aware of the foster care community. God can use YOU to make a difference!

5. “I live in a small community.”

We tend to focus on the number of people we can impact (after all, there are over 400,000 children in foster care, not to mention vulnerable adults, foster parents, and agency workers). But this work isn’t about impacting thousands as an individual—it’s about each of us impacting the few that are right outside our door. Every person in the foster care community matters, no matter the size of the community they are from.

We have multiple Advocates in communities with less than 0.0005% of the total number of children in foster care across the nation. For example, one of our Advocates serves in Baldwin County, AL, which has approximately 189 children in foster care and 38 foster families.

ARTICLE: Don’t Underestimate the Impact You Could Make

Are you being called to step into this work? Until the end of the month of June, applications are open to become a TFI Advocate right in your local community. TFI Advocates develop trusted relationships with a foster care agency by listening and learning. They then work with church leaders, pointing out ways the church can best utilize their gifts and resources by coming alongside the agency.⁠

We hope this article has helped you work through some of the hesitations you have about this role! Our TFI National team is here to guide you every step of the way, and we would be honored to talk with you about what this role could look like in your community.

Learn more and apply to become a TFI Advocate here.

Jody Vanderburg

Jody Vanderburg is an Advocate Coach at The Forgotten Initiative. While getting to volunteer at a camp for little girls in foster care, Jody’s heart was awakened to opportunities to love this unique community. She became passionate about bringing the hope of Jesus to children, vulnerable adults and agencies. She has developed foster care ministries within her local church and is so excited to help others do the same. She enjoys exploring the outdoors with her dog, Max, and traveling the country to visit her precious nieces, nephews and cousins.

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