SMART Missions

The Gateway Conference unpacks effective ministry principals that help your create healthy church environments. Inspired by Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, Bill Hybels words, we believe “the local church is the hope of the world,” and that your your ministry can empower our local Nicaraguan churches that are serving over 23,000 children. We invite you to learn more about ORPHANetwork’s SMART Missions program and explore how your ministry can partner with us in this life changing work.

Our History and Philosophy

We were started by a high school youth group who was wrecked by their visit to an orphanage in Nicaragua in the mid-90’s. They went home and their lives were never the same. Led by God, they started to make a difference for the children through prayer and financial support.

Thus began ORPHANetwork – a network of like-minded churches and individuals who have God’s heart for social orphans. At the beginning we were very focused on trips and over the years we’ve learned that we did a lot of great things for God’s Kingdom in the US and a lot of (unintentionally) harmful things for His Kingdom in Nicaragua.

Around 2010, Corbett and Fikkert’s book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself, really challenged our ministry to take a strongly objective view of our approach to global missions.

We began to look at poverty alleviation as providing a hand-up to the materially poor rather than a hand-out, as a result we have strategically transformed our approach to global missions and serving teams.


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