At World Orphans, we get many requests from donor partners to send extra monies to the pastors or children in the homes that they have contributed to. We love the hearts of our partners. We are truly blessed to have such generous and compassionate souls as part of our ministry. However, we also love our indigenous church partners and need to protect them from huge temptations that Satan can use to twist and destroy.
Many of our partner pastors live on $2 or so per day. To receive even a $100 gift personally, or for the benefit of children, can cause a pastor to stumble or develop significant dependency issues. Although well-intentioned, such gifts can also trigger church members and the surrounding community to foster jealousy and gossip. Pastors might be accused of beings puppets of the West or gain an unhealthy perception of being ‘above’ the rest of the people in the church and community.
Our call is to rescue as many of the 100 million + orphans and abandoned street children in the world as possible. We would much rather encourage donor partners to channel their heart for additional giving towards rescuing more children, rather than giving extra gifts to current children and church leaders. The start-up and ongoing budgets for these existing homes have been carefully assessed and covered. Additional gifts simply fall outside of the parameters that have already been established in these relationships.
Related to this, we also receive requests from donor partners to sometimes communicate directly with our indigenous church pastors. Again, we appreciate the motivation behind a person wanting to dialog with – and encourage – one of our church partners. But, like the issues above, this can lead to significant difficulties. The temptation to ask for money becomes too great; authority/accountability structures can break down; and unhealthy dependency and perception issues can again creep in. Things such as discussing personal needs, coming to the USA for a visit, or giving even the slightest intimation of providing money outside of our funding arrangements, are just a few of many examples that can lead to the crumbling of accountability structures.
Therefore, in order to protect pastors and partner donors, we don’t encourage or facilitate communications between the two. This is a stance that many global ministries have taken after considerable prayer, thought and discussion. We totally understand any disappointments that people will have in this regard, but we have to think of the indigenous church, its leaders, its ministry and its community, first and foremost. We will, however, continue to forward any reports or updates that we receive from our dear pastors and representatives in the field.
An obvious exception is when we facilitate church-to-church relationships where an American church is sponsoring a home with an indigenous church that it was already in relationship with. We are striving to see more and more of these partnerships established, utilizing our funding and communication accountability structures. In such cases, the involvement of the American church strengthens and deepens the accountability relationship instead of detracting from it.
We hope that you, our special friends, understand our hearts behind these stances on extra gifts and communications. They are hot topics indeed. We fully understand that the burden is upon us to effectively communicate and educate on these positions to our cherished prayer warriors and financial supporters.
The bottom line, literally, is that we care too much for our partners – both here and abroad – and the children they so graciously help, to do this any differently.
Excerpted from an "Inside Look" e-mail that was sent to partners of World Orphans in October, 2006. The "Inside Look" category will be used here to specifically communicate the inner workings of the ministry.