There is an undeniable darkness growing in our world today.

You would have to live in a very remote place or have your head buried in the sand 24/7 in order not to see what is happening all around us. More than ever, we need people of faith to stand up, not shrink back.

These days, it would be much easier to avoid challenges, hold the fort, and just ‘do our thing’ each day. But our calling, as the church, is not just to make it through the day, but to take action and advance the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, there are churches who have nestled into a quiet corner with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other. If we are going to push back the darkness, our light needs to be bright enough for everyone to see.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” —Matthew 5:13-14 (NIV)

By now, you’ve probably heard the inspiring account about the three Americans who took a risk by pursuing a terrorist on a high-speed train in Europe recently. This is how Adam Nossiter of the NY Times described it:

“Alek Skarlatos, a specialist in the National Guard from Oregon vacationing in Europe with a friend in the Air Force, Airman First Class Spencer Stone and another American, Anthony Sadler, looked up and saw the gunman. Mr. Skarlatos, who was returning from a deployment in Afghanistan, looked over at the powerfully built Mr. Stone, a martial arts enthusiast. “Let’s go, go!” he shouted…In the train carriage, Mr. Stone was the first to act, jumping up at the command of Mr. Skarlatos. He sprinted through the carriage toward the gunman, running “a good 10 meters to get to the guy,” Mr. Skarlatos said. Mr. Stone was unarmed; his target was visibly bristling with weapons. With Mr. Skarlatos close behind, Mr. Stone grabbed the gunman’s neck, stunning him. But the gunman fought back furiously, slashing with his blade, slicing Mr. Stone in the neck and hand and nearly severing his thumb. Mr. Stone did not let go.” [emphasis added by me]

For their selfless actions, these men were awarded France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor.

But what was really eye-opening to me was the testimony of the British man who also helped the Americans restrain the terrorist. Listen to his account from the same article:

“Norman, the Briton, said he was honored to receive the medal and ecstatic to be alive, along with all the passengers on the train. “I am happy that no one got hurt,” he said. “Spence and Alek are the two guys who we should really thank the most because they were the first ones who actually got up and did it.” When they took action, Norman jumped in as well. That gave me the impetus to get up and do it,” he said. “They galvanized me to go.” [emphasis mine]

He also says in another interview that “his first instinct was to sit down and hide, but then I heard one of the Americans say, ‘let’s get him’.”

So what’s the point? How does this episode have anything to do with orphan care and the church?

Glad you asked. It’s simple, really.

We all need someone to give us the “impetus to get up and do it”. We need to be “galvanized” or inspired to take on a big, potentially heart-breaking task. Orphan care can be risky. It can be complicated and heart-breaking.

We need someone to take the first step.

Can you think of a church in your community that is galvanizing its people, inspiring other churches to care for orphans? Does your church come to mind? Will your church stand and be counted?

There will always be people who sit by and wait to react until someone else reacts first. That’s human nature. Because people make up the church, the same can be said of our local churches.

All we need is ONE.

One church in a community can be the catalyst for others to follow bravely in their wake. We are seeing it happen all across our country and across the globe.

Imagine if that were your church.

I am grateful to God that Patch Our Planet now reaches into 24 states, representing 57 communities. These are the first responders who have decided that they will take the risk for the most vulnerable. They recognize the challenge, yet they are still the first ones to respond. Inspiring.

What about your church?

Will you honor God by participating in the pure religion of James 1:27? Did you realize that He has a promise for those who have a decided heart to honor Him?

Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.1 Samuel 2:30 (NIV)

I’d love to hear about your challenges and struggles.  Send me an email. Catch me on Twitter. Let’s not let the sun go down on yet another day of inaction.

Be brave. Make the first move.


For the Kingdom,

Steve Gillis

Founder | Exec. Director

@stevegillis |


“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” –Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)