People sometimes wonder why the Orphan Care Initiative is so
centered on working through the local church. Our Initiative is part of the
PEACE Plan, Saddleback Church’s model of mobilizing ordinary believers to
tackle the “global giants” – the issues affecting billions around the globe. In
this article (originally
posted to Pastors.com), Pastor Rick Warren describes some characteristics
that make the PEACE Plan unique and sustainable.
God always blesses us so we can
bless others. After The Purpose
Driven Life came out and became one of the best-selling books in
history, it became clear that God wanted to use my influence to help others.
That’s when God put The PEACE Plan on my
heart. PEACE is an acronym that stands for:
Planting churches that promote reconciliation
Equipping servant leaders
Assisting the poor
Caring for the sick
Educating the next generation
It’s basically what Jesus did when
he was here on earth. There’s not a lot that’s unique about doing these five
things. Mission organizations in all corners of the globe are doing them
already. Churches have done them for 2,000 years.
It’s how these five things are
done that makes PEACE unique. These are the seven PILLARS of The
Promotes, plants, and partners with the local church
First and foremost The
PEACE Plan is about reclaiming the primacy of the local church in its role
in global missions. Why? For the last century, the church has abdicated that
role to parachurch organizations, mission boards, and mission organizations.
Don’t get me wrong. These organizations are doing great work, but they were
never God’s Plan A. God always intended it to be done by the church.
And as we have handed over the
reins of global missions, we’ve excused 99 percent of our members from
participating in the five things Jesus did while he was on earth. The idea was
this – let the professionals do it. Let the professional doctors care for the
sick. Let the professional preachers start churches. But there just aren’t
enough professionals. We all need to be a part of God’s mission in the world if
we’re going to see his work get done. That’s why The PEACE Plan is centered
around the local church.
Imitates Jesus’ model
The PEACE Plan is modeled
after the actual instructions Jesus gave when he sent out his disciples in
Matthew 10 and Luke 10. You’d think that Jesus’ instructions would have long
been the cornerstone of missions strategy for the church. Unfortunately, they
For example, Jesus says, “Don’t
take a purse with you.” There are two reasons for that. First, he doesn’t want
us to depend upon our money. He wants us to depend upon him. He is also saying
that money can’t solve the problems of the world. You can’t solve poverty by
throwing money at it. When you throw money at problems, you create dependency.
You create a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude.” Jesus says, you’ve
got to train people to help themselves. That’s a core part of The
For another example, Jesus said:
“Eat whatever they put in front of you.” He’s telling the disciples to adopt
the local customs. You don’t ask those you are trying to reach to become like
you before they become a Christian. You adapt your situation to them. They
don’t adapt their situation to yours.
Jesus tells the disciples to go
out in pairs. The PEACE Plan is done by small groups. We never send people
out alone. You look all the way through Jesus’ ministry, he never sends people
out by themselves. He always sends them out in groups of at least two. That’s
why we send out small groups through The PEACE Plan.
Jesus also tells the disciples to
find a “man of peace” in every village – to start with someone who is open to
the message and influential. We teach our teams to spot a person like that on every
trip and start with that person.
Just take a look at the other
commands Jesus made in those passages. Those words are the cornerstone of how
we do PEACE.
Lets amateurs lead
When I first started telling
people about The PEACE Plan, I got a lot of funny looks when I mentioned
my commitment to using amateurs. People thought it was the craziest idea they’d
ever heard. How do you solve these five crushing worldwide problems with
I love the word amateur. It comes
from the Latin word amore, which means love. Amateur literally means “out of
love.” That’s what amateurs are. People who do what they do out of love. There
simply aren’t enough professional doctors to heal all the diseases. There
aren’t enough preachers to start all of the churches.
Links public, private, and church
Whenever I speak at economic
forums, I always hear about the need to link governments and businesses
together to help solve some of the world’s problems. But if governments and
businesses could solve the world’s problems on their own, they would have done
it by now. We need a three-legged stool. A one-legged stool and a two-legged
stool will fall over. But a three-legged stool will stand. The third leg is the
There is a role for governments.
The Bible tells us that. They bring order and execute justice, along with other
responsibilities. There’s also a role for business. Businesses bring management
skills and capital, for example. But you can’t forget the church either. We
have a crucial role to play. There are things the church brings to the table
that neither business nor government can.
Attacks all five giants
PEACE is a comprehensive
strategy. Why? The five global evils we’re fighting are intertwined.
Poverty is often related to disease. Corruption (bad leadership) is often
related to education problems. They are interconnected. Other groups can attack
just part of the problem. The church is called to deal with all of the
problems. We can’t shirk our responsibility.
Reorganizes efforts within a
We have something we didn’t have a
generation ago – the Internet. It allows us to talk to one another even
though we are in different parts of the world. Every time God’s Word has been
put in a new technology, revival has come. When Gutenberg developed the
printing press, we had the Reformation. Why? The Word could get around faster.
Through the Internet we have a great opportunity to spread the Word even
faster. The Internet has allowed us to network churches all around the
world to solve these problems. In the past, if two churches from different
parts of the world were working in an area, they couldn’t share information.
Often, they wouldn’t even know the other was working there. Now they can
Shifts to sustainable funding
This means that PEACE doesn’t
depend on fundraisers, bake sales, or garage sales. It creates self-generating
and self-sustaining projects. It fosters sufficiency, not subsidy; a hand up,
not a hand out. We’re going to reinvent how missions work is funded.
Did you know that a $50 gift can
change a person’s life in most places in the world? Buy a chicken and you have
an egg factory. Buy a goat and you have a milk factory. It’s amazing how a
little money will make a big difference in a person’s life if it’s done in a
way that can be sustained.
If you would like to be a part of
what the PEACE Plan is doing to equip ordinary believers in local churches to
end the orphan crisis, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Orphan
Care Initiative line at 949-609-8555.
God is at work in Rwanda - mobilizing ordinary church members to care for the orphan in radical ways! At the close of a God’s Heart for the Orphan vision seminar in Eastern Rwanda, an Orphan Care PEACE team asked the pastors attending to name 1 or 2 volunteers they could send the following day from their churches to receive the lay social worker training. As the team wrote in their journal that evening they noted:
“We asked the pastors to think of 1 or 2 people to send to our training tomorrow and we got 50 names! 1 could show up or all 50. We aren't sure but we are praying for all of them to come!”
The next day, 50 ordinary Rwandan believers came from various churches to receive the training! It was incredible that 50 individuals from different churches would drop their daily work to come receive training on how to support adoptive families in their communities. This answered prayer only illuminates the bigger miracle God has been stirring across Rwanda. Orphans are being taken into families with immediacy, churches are being mobilized to support families, and local church members are the ministers!
If you would like to be part of a miracle by sponsoring a Rwandan family to help them adopt, visit Saddleback.com/Sponsorship, or email email@example.com for more information.
Families end the orphan crisis.
“God places the lonely in families...” Psalm 68:6 NLT
“Focus on the child and the family – not just the child – help with the whole family physically and spiritually” -Rwandan Lay Social Workers
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt recently introduced the Vulnerable
Children and Families Act, which will ensure that intercountry
adoption to the United States becomes a viable option for providing safe, stable,
nurturing, and permanent families for orphans. If this bill is passed, data on children living
without families would be included in the Department of State’s annual human
rights report, which would deem the denial of family life through adoption and
their unnecessary institutionalization a human rights violation. If you
want more information on the bill click here: About the Vulnerable
Children and Family Act
can be a voice for the voiceless and we have been granted the freedom to do so.
We can be advocates for children being adopted into permanent and loving
families! How can you be an advocate for adoption? Write your
are a few guidelines to point you in the write (get it? It’s to motivate you to
for the format of the letter:
is a link to a template for you to follow. If you write a letter, make sure to
find your congressperson’s information and to personalize the body of the
letter. Your opinions matter to our government and these letters will make a
difference. If you could take half an hour out of your day to send a letter,
you could be impacting the lives of millions of children. You can be an
advocate for adoption, a voice for the voiceless, and a defender for the
you would like more information on how the Orphan Care Initiative works to help
children remain in family, reunite with family, or regain family through
adoption, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-8555.
In Gicumbi Byumba, Rwanda, 29 church leaders gathered to hear God’s Heart for the Orphan and consider the implementation of PEACE within their churches. Following breakout sessions, the leaders were prompted to identify the number one problem in caring for orphans and how their churches could solve it. Baptist leaders congregated on one side of the room while Anglicans gathered along the other. As they mulled over these questions, they realized their solution was to do physically for the orphan what God has done for believers spiritually. Their churches would adopt orphans, and as soon as possible!
Yet there was one last problem to solve. The Baptist leaders piped up, “We don’t have an orphanage; we don’t have a place to go get kids…” Then speaking to the Anglican leaders they asked, “Can we go to your orphanage, the Anglican orphanage, and adopt the children there?” After a tense pause seeming to last an eternity the Anglicans agreed, “Yes, yes you can!” The Baptists leaders announced they were sending members that same day to bring children home as their sons and daughters. In the family of God, mercy triumphs over judgment, and unity triumphs over division. Caring for the orphan is bringing together the family of God both here and in Rwanda as we serve the Kingdom together!
As a result of the unity of these Rwandan churches, orphans have been united with families. The Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship Program equips these families who are responding with daring faith to answer God’s call to care for the orphan. You can be a part of the transformation taking place - start giving today online.
If you would like to go on an Orphan Care PEACE trip to Rwanda, email email@example.com or call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-8555.
This article originally appeared in the Boston Globe:
Republican Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania and
Democratic co-sponsors David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jim McDermott of
Washington, and Brian Higgins of New York introduced a bill last week that
would put the United States in the position of supporting — rather than
undermining — the human rights of children worldwide. It is a simple bill,
consisting of only a few lines of text and requiring no new resources. But it
would have a profound effect on one of the most significant human rights crises
of our time.
The bill would essentially tell the State Department to stop
discriminating against children through its refusal to consider the violations
of human rights inherent in their unnecessary institutionalization.
Many millions of children worldwide are now locked into
institutions for no fault of their own, simply because they have been
abandoned, or removed from their parents because of maltreatment. There are
good homes waiting for many of these children if only nations would free them
up for adoption. Currently, most of these homes are available only across
national borders, since institutionalized children generally live in the
poorest and most devastated countries of the world, where few families can
afford to take in additional children to parent. Few of these countries have
any culture of domestic adoption.
But countries regularly shut down international adoption, or
create barriers that restrict it to only a lucky few. Unfortunately, the State
Department has in recent years joined with other forces to limit international
adoption as a meaningful option for unparented children. The result has been
the precipitous decline by 75 percent in the number of adoptions into the
United States since 2004, and by more than 50 percent in the number
international adoptions worldwide. This represents the deliberate and
unnecessary denial to well over 20,000 children per year of their most
fundamental human right other than life itself — the right to grow up with
This bill would put the United States in the position of
standing up for the human rights of unparented children. It would put us in the
position of calling out the human rights violations involved in condemning
children to the destruction inherent in growing up in institutions.
Gold standard social and medical science demonstrates how
institutions destroy children mentally, physically, and emotionally. It
demonstrates that there is a sensitive period in early life after which, even
if children are removed from institutions, it is much harder to undo the damage
done. The evidence also demonstrates that placement in adoption, whether in the
country of origin or abroad, works wonderfully well to help children make the
most of their lives.
This bill is supported by a coalition representing academic
experts in human rights and child welfare together with core organizations
committed to the rights of unparented children — the National Council for
Adoption, the Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program, the Center for
Adoption Policy, Saddleback Church Orphan Care Initiative, the American Academy
of Adoption Attorneys, and Both Ends Burning.
This bill is simple but would represent a profound,
paradigm-shattering change. It would put the United States in an important
position of international human rights leadership. And Congress should be able
to agree on the position that children have the basic human right to grow up in
Elizabeth Bartholet is
professor of law and faculty director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard
Law School. Paulo Barrozo is associate professor of law and jurisprudence and
director of the Clough Center for Constitutional Democracy at Boston College