Blueberries and Mac & Cheese: Can the Church Really Work with the State in Foster Care?

A few weeks ago at lunch, our 7-year-old ventured into unknown culinary territory when he added blueberries to his mac and cheese. Of course, the consensus of the observers at the table was “ooh gross!”   And while no one else was willing to try it, our son reported that it was delicious.

I would love to travel through history and witness the first time someone wrinkled their nose at the person who first smashed peanut butter and jelly between two pieces of bread. Or what about the eye roll directed at the first person to dip a cookie in a glass of milk — after all, look at all those crumbs in your milk now, for goodness sake. Or what about the countless people who’ve scoffed at the very notion of fried chicken and waffles (if you’ve never had these together, there may be a chance you are not complete as a human being).

Here are a few other untested food combinations I found online that people claim are delicious:

  • Broccoli and Cheetos
  • Nutella and Pizza
  • Peanut Butter and Bacon (but this is kind of cheating since bacon goes with everything)

There are more things on the planet that seem like they don’t go together than things that do. However, it’s been proven over and over that just because things don’t seem like they go together doesn’t mean that they can’t work together beautifully.

One of the combinations that can make folks nervous is the idea of the church and state working together in foster care. Dr. Sharen Ford from Focus on the Family and the former Permanency Manager for the State of Colorado says:

“The church, if it could do it by itself, would…but the government has custody of the children. And so, it’s that collaborative process that’s going to make a difference in the lives of children and families.”

Not only is it a practical reality that the church work with the state in foster care, it goes further than that. Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, puts it this way:

“Without the Church, foster care is often just a cold system. Without foster care, the Church is often just a cold building.”

In other words, this is not a partnership of tolerance for the sake of children. Rather the church and state relationship truly benefits both entities in important, life-giving ways.

So what does that look like? It’s been done in a number of places throughout the country and continues to thrive more and more. We have just released a brand new Foster Movement U session on this very topic, complete with video, discussion questions, and pdf tools for you and churches in your community to begin to explore what a partnership with your local and state government could look like in foster care. And just like all Foster Movement U content, it’s completely free. To get access to this session and all previous FMU sessions, simply click here.

When it comes to things that don’t seem like they go together, this is probably the best rule of thumb:  Don’t knock it till you try it.

And someday, when blueberries and mac & cheese is a staple in every American kitchen, remember  . . . you heard it here first.

This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We try to keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care.  To sign up, go to