In Psychology, dissociation is a term used to describe an experience of having one’s attention and emotions detached from the reality in their environment.

This could be a stretch, but I think that many of our church leaders in particular struggle with “Guilt by Dissociation“ when it comes to orphan care. What in the world are you talking about Steve?

First, this is not a knock on church leaders. I’m actually defending them and working hard to empower them. Because I believe that the Church is the permanent patch to the orphan crisis, I want to identify some things that may keep our churches from being most effective.

Think about how many pastors and staff members we have in our churches who have not fostered or adopted. Think about the scores who have never even been to an orphanage or a social services office. This “ministry gap” could produce some pastoral guilt and expose a lack of confidence in the orphan arena by many.

With all the leadership books that are digested in our churches, I think that pastors and staff members from these churches are worried about leading something that is so complex, even foreign to their world and experience. They may fear that if they can’t grasp it, the church will never realize its potential. That’s where orphan care ministries often get stalled.

Unfortunately, there are not enough books on the subject to create clarity for every pastor. I speak from my own personal experience and past guilt.

Can you imagine if the White House called you today and asked you to speak next week on a panel to explain the science behind near death experiences? Let’s just say you are a teacher by trade. First, you probably have not experienced a near death experience and you are an educator. So, you would feel rather unprepared and Google would be your best friend. Or, you would fake a major surgery and decline the invitation. I like to keep that one in my back pocket.

Now, let’s have some fun and just say you have to be at the White House and that you will be presenting to some very important people. All of these people (who have access to the internet) are waiting for your expertise and would instantly be able to rebuke you if you misspoke in any way.

That’s pretty intimidating, huh?

I think pastors/staff feel that same type of intimidation when it comes to leading an orphan care ministry. It can be a very complex and challenging ministry. Pastors/staff like to be prepared when standing in front of a room full of people. And, they DO NOT want to be seen as hypocritical. Neither do you or I. So, can you see how these ministries can get stalled in the early stages?

To add to it, the “orphan advocate crowd” is so passionate in the church that they sometimes intimidate church leaders in the process. They don’t mean too. They just want others to experience what they have experienced and would love for the church to help lead the effort.

This could unintentionally add to the “dissociation” of a church leader.

Fortunately, there are simple solutions to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to play their part, not play every part. Stay tuned….

Want to find out how to get your church moving ahead through all of the challenges? We do have a book coming out soon that will help bring clarity to this and many other challenges. Also, please feel free to contact me personally to explore some options for your church.  We want your church to experience the joy of a focused, long term orphan care strategy under your church’s vision.

For the sake of church & child,

Steve Gillis