Five ways to ensure the orphan crisis will never be solved by the Church

Steve Gillis  ·  Oct 24, 2019

I was looking back at some old blog posts recently, kind of reminiscing about how far my journey with Patch Our Planet and orphan care has taken me, and how much I’ve learned and experienced along the way. When I saw my original post boldly titled “Five ways to ensure the orphan crisis will never be solved by the Church,” I instinctively thought of ways to reframe it.

I’ve learned that wading into controversies online is often unproductive and better done face to face. If I were to post it today, I might title it, “Five Ways the Church is Challenged in Its Orphan Care Ministry.” You see how that sounds a little softer? Less in-your-face?

Upon reflection, though, I remembered that there is no better balance than grace and truth. Part of advocating for the most vulnerable is sometimes telling a hard truth. So, after giving it more thought, I republished the post asking God to use it to spur us on to love and good deeds. 

Six years after I wrote it, I think there is still a LOT of truth in this post. Is it wrong to ask your orphan care ministry to be intentional, like other major ministries at the church? I don’t think it is. Matter of fact, I think it is wrong to just leave it up to the most passionate volunteer leader. They need a goal. They need a vision. And they need a clear lane to run with the approval of their church leaders!

For almost nine years, it has been the mission of Patch Our Planet to help churches create custom orphan care plans by asking some tough, internal questions. Once the truth is established, then an intentional, long-term plan can be put in place. I’ve seen churches supporting up to 80 different ministries, spread so thin that they can’t focus on doing anything with great focus. And what’s worse is that most don’t even know what is happening on the other side of their giving.

Let’s solve it!

Does your church have a long-term, intentional orphan care plan? Why not? Would your church set one up if they knew there was a ministry that would travel to them and guide them through something like that? Even customize it under their church’s mission/vision?

What if they found out that that Patch Our Planet doesn’t charge a set fee but allows partner churches to invest whatever amount they see fit?

That’s our faith step. God always takes care of the rest.

I hope your church takes advantage of that offer this year. Not only will your orphan care advocates thank you, but you will see how much greater focus and effectiveness you can have simply by shining the light on orphan care and putting together a smart plan according to the strengths of your church. It doesn’t have to be huge and unattainable. Just start at home and where you are connected globally. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Hope to hear from your church!

Samaritan Ministries member Steve Gillis is founder of Patch Our Planet, a ministry that equips churches to serve vulnerable children around the world. You can contact the ministry at (404) 821-8927,, @patchourplanet on Twitter, or @Patch-Our-Planet on Facebook.

The 5 ways

1. Focus more on building orphanages and less on getting children into forever families.

2. Avoid the following books of the Bible: James, Exodus, Isaiah, Job, Psalms, Matthew, Acts, John, Jeremiah, Esther, Deuteronomy, Hosea, Malachi, 1 Timothy, Lamentations, Proverbs, 2 Kings, Judges, Numbers, Ezekiel, and Genesis.

3. Pray for orphans without families around the world, then take no action.

4. Keep the benefit when you visit them. Take pictures. Feel sad. Be humbled. Play soccer. Then go home and talk a lot about your experience.

5. Let non-profits and passionate orphan advocates take care of the crisis.