10 Things That Will Kill Your Church's Orphan Care Ministry: #7 Lack Of Focus

This is the 7th post in this series entitled “10 Things That Will Kill Your Church’s Care 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 care ministry is: 

A Lack Of Focus

I have yet to encounter a church or orphan ministry that had unlimited resources. We all battle limits of time, money, and people as we seek to respond to James 1:27. With all the possible ways that we can respond to caring for orphans, we have to narrow the focus.

Failing to narrow the focus will mean that your ministry will:

  • Struggle to invest enough in resources to make a discernible impact
  • Have difficulty in explaining exactly what it is you are doing, where you are doing it, and with whom you are doing it
  • Find it easy to move from one project to another without much loyalty or direction
  • Find it difficult to know how to say “yes” or “no” to partnership opportunities with any degree of objectivity. Ultimately, this usually leads to hurt feelings as you will have to say no to projects that people in your church as passionate about as a result of a lack of resources. Without a clearly defined focus, I have seen too many of people take not picking their favorite project personally and lead them to become estranged from a church. Without some simply aligned goals and objectives that everyone can clearly understand, those decisions can appear arbitrary and aren’t easily explained. 

To combat this problem, you need to:

  • Align with the mission, vision, and values of the church as a whole
  • Choose a few strategic areas of work and stick to them - one idea is to think about looking for projects/ministry partners in places where the church already has missions partnerships
  • As you consider partnerships/programs, think how you will explain to people how this new ministry opportunity fits into your overall orphan ministry strategy and is in keeping with your church’s mission, vision, and values. If you can explain it in these terms in 2 minutes or less, it’s likely a partnership or program worth considering. 

How do you maintain focus in your ministry? What are the things that most easily distract you and how do you deal with them? Share them by commenting here.


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.