10 Things That Will Kill Your Church's Orphan Ministry: #6 Over-emphasis On Adoption

This is the 6th post in this series entitled “10 Things That Will Kill Your Church’s Orphan Ministry.” This series is born out of several years of consulting with and observing many churches across America develop orphan care ministries. Over time, I have noticed some common mistakes that cause these ministries to struggle and even fail. Over the next few weeks, I want to share those observations with you in an effort to help and to stir a discussion about the good things being done to minister well in orphan care. 

So, one more thing that will kill your orphan ministry is:

Over-emphasis On Adoption 

It seems like the #1 misconception that we face in the church about orphan care is that caring for orphans is just about adoption. All of us who are very engaged in orphan care understand both how wrong this notion is and how prevalent it is.

One of the reasons that churches struggle to engage people in orphan care is the mistaken impression that if you aren’t going to adopt you can’t do orphan care, and often, we subtly reinforce it.

If the church’s orphan care strategy is dominated by an emphasis upon adoption, then we don’t really help people to see the orphan crisis properly or how to respond to it properly either.

If we realize that of the world’s 153,000,000 (or likely many more) orphans, less than 18 million are adoptable to Americans, we have to know that our orphan care strategy must be balanced to do more than promote adoption by those in our church.

What else do we need to emphasize:

  • Orphan Prevention
  • Family Reunification
  • Indigenous Adoption
  • Transitional Assistance
  • Foster Care
  • And more

How are you bringing balance to your orphan ministry efforts. Let me hear from you.


Rick Morton

Father to three transnationally adopted children, Rick Morton’s dedication to orphans extends beyond his family. Coauthor of Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care, Rick and his wife are cofounders of international orphan-hosting ministry Promise 139, based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An inspiring speaker, Rick shares God’s heart for the fatherless at many conferences for pastors as well as orphan-care conferences. He and his family live in the Greater Memphis area.