These resources provide information on the continuum of orphan care engagement from awareness raising to direct church-to-church partnership. Drawing from several key Christian resources, topics on short-term missions include how to help without hurting, things to consider before you travel, and how to align short-term mission trips with the needs and priorities of local churches and ministries already serving children.
Resources for church engagement, principles of partnership, and short-term missions
Caring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: A Study Guide for Journeys of Faith, Session 5, Short-Term Missions Faith to Action Initiative, 2015.
Ethical Volunteering with Vulnerable Children Kinnected, ACCI, 2015.
Better Volunteering, Better Care Better Care Network and Save the Children UK, 2016.
Video: Orphanage Tourism, Faith Communities, and Holistic Development, Building Better World and ACCI, 2015.
Guidelines on the Deployment of Volunteers Working with Children Abroad Better Care Network Netherlands, 2015.
Due Diligence Guidelines ACCI Relief, 2015.
Ethical Volunteering With Vulnerable Children ACCI Relief, 2015.
Empowered by Faith: Collaborating with Faith-Based Organizations to Confront HIV/AIDS William L. Sachs, Family Health International, 2007.
Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Mission with Cultural Intelligence David Livermore, Baker Books, 2006.
Special Issue: How Can Faith-based Groups Best Help Vulnerable Children in Africa? The Journal of Family and Community Ministries Baylor University School of Social Work, Fall 2009.
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… Or Yourself Brian Fikkert, Steve Corbett, Thomas Nelson Publishing Company, 2009.
Understanding God’s Heart For Children: Toward A Biblical Framework Douglas McConnell, Jennifer Orona, Paul Stockley, Authentic / World Vision, 2007.
Practicing Faith: Four Stories from Ethiopia, World Vision, 2015.
ONE Sabbath rallies individuals and congregations to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of people living in extreme poverty and struggling against preventable diseases. Using ONE Sabbath tools, churches respond through advocacy to such global challenges as AIDS, malaria, lack of access to clean drinking water, and children out of school.
Orphan Sunday calls Christians to put their faith into action and provides an annual opportunity to raise awareness and engage churches in praying for and giving to their preferred Christian ministries and charities that support orphans and vulnerable children both in the United States and overseas. The idea for Orphan Sunday was first sparked in Africa. While visiting a church service in rural Zambia, Gary Schneider (founder of Every Child’s Hope) was struck by the pastor’s passionate call to care for orphans in the local community. Members of the church faced deep needs themselves, but as the service ended, one after another stepped forward with food, money, and even their own shoes to put in the offering for orphans. Gary began working with pastors across Zambia to coordinate annual Orphan Sunday events. These efforts spread to the United States in 2003. The Christian Alliance for Orphans now supports Orphan Sunday and thousands of churches participate each year.
The Micah Challenge is a global coalition of Christians educating and encouraging others to learn about the Millennium Development Goals, to find ways to reach out and help those living in poverty, and to hold governments to account for their promise to halve extreme poverty by 2015. With campaigns in 40 countries, Micah Challenge is a global movement to encourage deeper Christian commitment to the poor, and to speak out to leaders to act with justice.
World AIDS Day held annually on December 1, is the day when individuals, churches, and organizations come together to publicly acknowledge the impact of HIV and AIDS. The red ribbon worn on December 1 is an international symbol of awareness that is worn to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and reminds others of the need for their support and commitment. Churches across the globe, including many who partner to support orphan care in HIV- and AIDS-affected communities, participate in World AIDS Day through special prayer services and activities such as candlelight vigils. Many denominational and coordinating church bodies have information and resources available on their websites to support individual churches in hosting World AIDS Day events. These resources are usually updated each year and include downloadable sermon guides, liturgies, special prayers, bulletin inserts, and other worship materials.
The World Vision Experience: Step into Africa is an interactive, multimedia walk-through exhibit that transports visitors into the life of an African child affected by the AIDS crisis. Since 2005, hundreds or churches around the country have hosted the exhibit, drawing in over 300,000 church members and visitors.
Films to Raise Awareness
A World Without Orphans highlights discussions by leaders, experts, and practitioners on the front lines of orphan care. It is meant to encourage the church to dialogue about its role in the pursuit of a world without orphans.
Lost Kites is a full-length feature documentary that captures three abandoned kids braving their way, and a film team that discovers a call to restore families.
Journey to Jamaa is a film-based, interactive worship experience that allows church members to step into the lives of two children from Uganda. Designed to take place during normal church services, the film and accompanying materials provide the opportunity to learn about the needs of children and families around the globe, how World Vision is helping, and how Christians can be involved.
Yesterday is a 2004 South African feature length film that tells the story of a young mother called Yesterday who discovers she has AIDS. Caring for her husband through his own death from AIDS and unable to access treatment, her one hope is that she will live long enough to see her daughter, Beauty, go to school.
The Lazarus Effect shares the real-life stories of four people living with HIV whose lives were transformed be gaining access to life-saving antiretroviral treatments. Although this film is not about orphans and vulnerable children, it touches on an issue of key importance: keeping parents living with AIDS alive prevents children from being orphaned. (30 minutes)
The church is called—and in so many ways uniquely equipped—to respond to the needs of the poor, the orphaned and the vulnerable. Around the world, churches have a critical role to play in helping children and uplifting families.