Faith Fosters Texas is a result of an initiative by Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage to address the foster care crisis in Texas. Last year, Texas Baptists hosted a Foster Care Summit with agency leaders and churches engaged in providing foster care resources and caring for foster families to collaborate for a bigger impact. Now, with a unified focus and dedicated staff member leading the charge, Faith Fosters Texas aims to leverage resources to make a positive macro-impact on foster care in Texas.
David has been passionate about adoption since 1995, when he and his wife, Shannon, felt called to adopt their oldest child. A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and B.H. Carroll Seminary, he has served in various ministry positions since the early 1990s. David was a student pastor at churches in Argyle, Georgetown, Longview, Plano and in Oklahoma. Throughout his years in church ministry, he was often drawn to those in vulnerable situations and was passionate about caring for those in need of help.
In 2008, he joined the staff at Buckner International and has served in various capacities including Executive Director in Houston and East Texas, as well as Senior Executive Director in the East Texas region of the state.
In his new role, David is excited about mobilizing Texas Baptists churches to engage in caring for foster children and families around Texas through Faith Fosters Texas. By coordinating Texas Baptists’ child and family agencies—Buckner, STCH Ministries and Children At Heart—alongside churches and ministry partners statewide, David looks forward to the significant impact believers can have in caring for some of the most vulnerable.
“No child has ever asked to be in foster care, but they all have to endure the consequences of someone else’s actions,” David said. “Most of the significant adults in a foster child’s life have failed them. God has called some very amazing people to stand in the gap for those kids, and it’s not easy all the time. It’s heartbreaking sometimes. In the end, where else would God call us to be but to stand in the gap for the defenseless.”
Faith Fosters Texas will recruit, equip and provide support to churches as they minister to vulnerable children and their families. The new initiative will either provide direct services or collaborate with appropriate bridge ministries in order to maximize resources and impact.
“What happens to children when they are suffering abuse and neglect grieves the heart of God,” David said. “As the Church, we need to respond to the biblical mandate to care for the fatherless and orphaned.”
In addition to the biblical mandate, David encouraged church leaders to see foster care as part of their discipleship program.
“It brings ministry opportunities right to your front door,” he said. “It gives you a chance to love kids that can be hard to love. It gives you a chance to grow and expand to live out your faith and wrap-around and support other believers. And it also brings diversity to our churches as we care for those who cannot care for themselves.”