Church Ministry Essentials

Module 9:

Helping Without Hurting: Wise Global Engagement

The question is not should your church be engaged in global missions, but rather, based on the most current research on how to engage globally most effectively, where is your church excelling and where can you afford to make some shifts in your current approach to be more effective long term?

In this module, we will explore the following topics:

Forming Healthy Strategic Partnerships 

Best Practices for Short Term Missions 

Transitioning Funding to Family-Based Care 

Assisting Partners in Approving Quality of Care 

And more…

Module Resources

Below is a curated collection of some of the best resources on wise and effective global engagement. These resources are intended to serve you, not overwhelm you. Do not feel the pressure to work through all of them, but use them in a way that best helps you grow. For some modules it might mean plowing through them all, for others it might mean focusing on just a few!



The Church and Effective Global Engagement

A discussion with Nicole Wilke, Director of CAFO's Research Center, and Toni Steere, Director of the Legacy 685 Ministry at Houston's First Baptist Church

Jason, Nicole and Toni discuss principles and practices for how the Church can best care for vulnerable children and families globally. They talk partnerships, short term missions, funding and more.


Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions

A real-time exploration on how to influence how churches think about poverty, missions, and engaging with the materially poor.

The Tragedy of Orphanages

Georgette Mulheir describes the tragedy of orphanages and urges us to end our reliance on them, by finding alternate ways of supporting children in need.

Eight Principles to Do Good and Not Harm

Learn more about the eight principles to do good and not harm children.

Models for Transition to Family-Based Care

A webinar focused on best practices for moving from institutional to family-based care.


Orphan Care and the American Church

The Think Orphan Podcast

In this episode you’ll hear from Pastor Evans Baggs who serves as the Pastor of Mobilization at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. We talk with Evans about the recent research from Barna Group, Faith to Action and Changing the Way We Care on Christian giving to orphanages. We’ll also hear his thoughts on the role of the American church in missions and ministry to orphan and vulnerable children and how to prioritize relationship and accountability with international partners.

A Model for Missions in a Brave New World

The Gospel Coalition Podcast

The church is God’s method for evangelism, discipleship, and missions. We do not need the latest fad. We do not need the latest missiology thinking. What we desperately need on the field is missionaries who know and trust biblical principles for planting biblical churches. The church is God’s proven instrument of missions.

Helping Without Hurting - w/ Brian Fikkert

The Empowered Parent Podcast

In this episode you will hear from Brian Fikkert, President of The Chalmers Center and co-author of When Helping Hurts, about: How you can partner with their work to alleviate poverty and develop communities around the world, the importance and necessity of collaboration, how poverty alleviation and family strengthening is part of orphan prevention and orphan care and how we can help without hurting in short term missions and engage short term missions and child sponsorships with excellence.

Articles + PDFs

12 Principles on the Place for High-Quality Residential Care and How We Achieve It

Decades of research assert that the ideal place for a child to be raised is within the context of a loving, nurturing family. Family should always be our first priority family when considering placement, as we know it most naturally provides what is in the best interest of the child. That means we should thoroughly consider whether family strengthening, family reintegration, kinship care, adoption, or foster care can meet the needs of a child before considering small group care. However, for certain children in certain contexts with certain needs, high-quality, family-like, small group care may the best option to help them thrive.

Principles for Wise Short Term Missions

What do we mean when we say, the “best interest of a child”? The best interest of the child is knowing what support and resources each child needs to protect them from falling down the spiral of vulnerability both in the present moment and future. It protects them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This means that our volunteering needs to focus on the child’s needs instead of what we really want. The innocence of a child is so precious and valuable, and some children may have experienced trauma or loss that took this away. It’s our job as volunteers to first protect them from our own selfish desires and then give them what both they and their communities ask for.

Healthy Guidelines for Sponsorship Programs

We engage in sponsorship programs because we want what’s best for children – particularly those who are vulnerable. However, like any program, sponsorship has the potential for great good and great harm. Sponsorship can be defined as any program that supports the holistic growth and development of children, families, and/or communities, typically funded by donors outside that community. Some sponsorship programs connect those donors to specific program participants, while others are more broad.

Global Engagement and the Church

Impacting the world in significant, meaningful, Christ-honoring ways has always been a hallmark of the Christian church. Through local, domestic and global initiatives, God’s people have historically led the way in compassionate awareness, advocacy and participation in matters of justice and mercy, renewal and restoration, hope and healing. The purpose of this resource is to provide helpful information and tools for churches desiring to build an effective, sustainable and impactful global engagement strategy. It aims to provide a high-level introduction and overview of some key principles, practices and questions that are important to consider when developing global engagement strategies.

Due Diligence Guidelines

It is important to go through a due diligence process before forming any new Strategic Partnership. This resource outlines the following guidelines and the accompanying checklist to assist you through the process of doing your own due diligence check. This is broken down into 4 categories: (1) their legal status; (2) their compatibility with your vision and values; (3) their technical and organisational capacity to carry out their work; and (4) the risk management and financial controls they have in place.


Everyone Can Do Something

Chapter 8, "Wise Global Engagement"

Participation in OVC ministry and short-term missions (STM) has grown significantly in recent years. This trend warrants much celebration, as the Church is increasingly engaging in matters near to God’s heart. Yet, it also demands much caution. Although good intentions underlie this movement, we must be aware of the common principles and pitfalls in order to effectively and sustainably form strategic partnerships, engage culturally, and send volunteers to serve children, families and communities.


Action Guides and Exercises


Going Global: Helping Without Hurting

Exploring practical training, procedures and nexts step you can take in your ministry.


Certificate Course: Wise Short Term Missions

Complete the nine-module e-course to prepare you for long-term impact through short-term missions. This course will prepare you for short-term mission experiences that: Bring enduring good to children, families, and communities served; Leave a lasting positive impact on the lives of all those who participate; and, Honor the God who describes Himself as a Father to the fatherless.

Resource Spotlight

Have you ever been on a short-term mission trip and felt uncomfortable, wondering if you’re really making a long-term impact? Do you want to understand what the best practices are when it comes to serving children, families, and communities in other countries? Do you ever wonder if your current global missions are hurting more than they are helping? Does changing your strategy seem complicated and confusing?


Mission Wise: Scripture, Science and Serving the World's Most Vulnerable

Through a dynamic integration of Scripture and science, you’ll discover what the most current research says about best practices for global engagement in things like short-term mission trips, child sponsorship programs, forming strategic partnerships, family-based care of children and more, you’ll be encouraged by how that scientific research works to affirm what Scripture has already established as true and right about caring for the vulnerable—and you’ll be inspired by new ideas and fresh vision as you to take your next best steps forward in caring for the most vulnerable around the world.

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