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Red Letters

Killing Goliath: 3 Proven Ways to Man Up for Orphans

A growing movement of Christian men are stepping up their response to the global orphan crisis. The idea of Man Up for orphans started with Roger Gibson, but soon spread to others including Caleb David of the One Child Campaign, myself, and many others. Motivated by the biblical command to protect the “fatherless,” they’ve come to regard orphans as trapped behind enemy lines.


What’s required is for more men to “Man Up,” cross into enemy-occupied territory, and deliver them to safety.

Sounds like the plot to an action movie, right? 

Sometimes we make peace with the realities of this world. We accept that things are the way they are for reasons we can’t control. What can one person do? What could even 100 or 1,000 do in the face of hundreds of millions of children in need?

Those “realists” among us are like the voice of King Saul when he said to a young David, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine [Goliath] and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”


Do you hear the voice of fear masked as the voice of reason?

David chose to Man Up, first to Saul and then to Goliath. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Today the world is filled with Goliaths (or to put them in David’s terms: uncircumcised Philistines who defy the armies of the living God.)

Yes, the Goliaths are out there. They sell children into slavery. They rape children for money. They force boys to march and kill as soldiers. They sexually abuse and violate young girls. There are Goliaths called HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty, dirty water, infection, injustice, malnutrition, abuse, neglect, violence… it’s a long list.


And we have become too comfortable with their presence in our world. Are they not like Goliath? Are they not defying the army of the living God? Are they not the same “uncircumcised Philistine” that David killed with one small stone and one big dollop of faith?

The Bible tells us that David “ran quickly” toward the battle line to meet Goliath. That’s what it means to Man Up. It means “running quickly” toward the battle for orphans. 

Here are 3 ways that you can Man Up for orphans (whether you are a man or not…)

Take the time and effort to become a sponsor to an orphan through a child sponsorship program. As a sponsor, typically you would commit to a monthly donation, prayer, and letter writing to the child. If there is one thing the kids consistently talk about, it’s the letters. See how they make a difference here.


This seems insignificant. It seems like a letter would not ever make a real difference. Sponsorship is how you bring your father’s voice into the life of a child. Through letters you offer guidance, encouragement, support, and love. These are things the enemy has robbed these children of. Your voice helps put them back.

One of the top questions from men about mission trips is “What will I do?” (It’s up there with “How much will it cost?” and “How long do I have to be away from work?”) More men are needed on mission trips. Your skills, talents, and abilities that you use everyday in the workplace can be put to use on a mission trip for the benefit of orphans. Here’s the perspective of one man on a mission trip right now. He happened to be digging a trench for a water line with a power shovel. See how that ended up for him.


There are missions trips leaving almost every day. I would direct you to this one. It is a trip designed to bring men face-to-face with sex trafficking.  Sadly, the majority of victims in sex trafficking are women, and the majority of perpetrators are men. Children need the godly presence and consistent voice of Christian men. Be that guy. Go on a trip, and you will never be the same. After you have seen, heard, smelled…it just changes you and breaks your heart. God uses the brokenhearted to heal others. Men, our hearts are sometimes harder to break for God’s purposes. Take a journey to God’s heart…let your heart break like his does.


It’s not only orphans and vulnerable children that need your voice. Your voice is needed in your church and your community. Join orphan care ministry efforts at your church. Serve as a rallying point and a standard-bearer for other men to get involved. If no orphan care ministry exists in your church, consider starting one. 

You can speak, write article, lead mission trips, attend conferences, hold meetings, meet with adoptive families, support local initiatives…just get involved with your time. Find a place to volunteer. There are always mission trips in need of leadership. Go on a Man Up trip, and then consider how you can give back.

Run, don’t walk, run toward the battle lines. You are needed. It doesn’t matter that the enemy is bigger or stronger than you. We serve in the army of the living God. Time to Man Up!


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posted April 25, 2012 at 4:33 am

Amen. We definitely need more men to be doing this.

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Gary VanDyke

posted April 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

As president of Food for Orphans, I agree with you wholeheartedly. To stand and defend a helpless orphan is the ultimate definition of “Being a Man”. I want to welcome all the men who want to “MAN UP” and offer them the opportunity to put their thoughts into actions. Contact me at Food for Orphans and I’ll share just how easy it is to “MAN UP”.

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Rev Siva Moodley

posted April 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Dear friends in the Lord Jesus Please visit the Phumula children Home in Welbedact Durban South Africa

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posted May 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

This article saddened me. I believe that you have a great heart and the best of intentions in wanting to help. The problem is that what you wrote continues to perpetuate a number of wrong ideas and stereotypes of the developing world.

You wrote “What’s required is for more men to ‘Man Up,’ cross into enemy-occupied territory, and deliver them to safety.” So, the developing world is the enemy and the orphans need us to come and rescue them? This is patronizing, dehumanizing, disrespectful, and harmful. Yes, there are evil people in the world, but you make it sound like entire countries and regions, and everyone in them, are evil. That is just not true. You also make the case that it is up to us to go and save them, as if people in these countries are doing nothing and are just waiting for us (in the west) to come and save them, help them, and fix their problems because they cannot do it for themselves. That could not be farther from the truth. This just continues the idea of “whites in shining armor” (

You state that people should go on a mission trip and “your skills, talents, and abilities that you use everyday in the workplace can be put to use on a mission trip for the benefit of orphans.” You even reference a guy who went and dug trenches. What are you saying? That people in these countries don’t have the necessary skills, talents, and abilities to do things for themselves and they need you to come and do it for them? By taking people over there to do these jobs you are taking jobs away from locals and you are not putting money back into the economy, which you could if you paid locals to do these same jobs (which they can easily do because they have skills and talents).

You also wrote “If no orphan care ministry exists in your church, consider starting one.” I am not sure if you are saying to start a ministry that cares for orphans or just a ministry that supports those that do or maybe both. But really? It is just that simple? I don’t need any skills, training, background, experience, or education to do something like this? This is wrong. If you don’t know what you are doing, you should not be starting something like this. You are messing with people’s lives here and if you do something wrong, it can have devastating consequences on those you are trying to help.

Bad aid is worse than no aid, because bad aid causes harm.

Finally, let me say this. I believe that those that are orphans and children who are taken advantage of need people to stand up for them and care for them. However, I believe that there are people in the developing world who are doing amazing things to care for these kids and that they can do it better than we can because they speak the language, understand the culture, and understand the nuances of the situation the kids have been through. Yes, we can play a role, but that role should be to partner with locals already doing amazing things and help them when they ask for it. We cannot come in and believe that they need us, or that we know best, or that without us, they are helpless.

And lest anyone think I am not qualified to speak on this. I have spent a good amount of time living and working overseas, I have seen the good and bad of aid work, I have a master’s degree in intercultural studies, and I have spent the past 7 years learning and researching the best ways of doing international development.

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