Rev. Gaston Warner is United Methodist minister having led congregations from Chicago to Bristol, England, served as staff for Habitat for Humanity, Duke Divinity School, Duke University Chapel, and a number of non-profit boards.  Gaston joined ZOE’s board of directors in 2007 and currently serves as chief executive officer.  Gaston holds a BA from Brown University; a MDiv from Duke Divinity School, and a MBA from The University of Durham, England.   He lives near Abbot, TX (population:  356) with his spouse, the Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner, who teaches at Duke University Divinity School, their daughter Clare, and various pets and livestock. ZOE ( is a three-year program empowering orphans and vulnerable children in places of greatest poverty globally to be sustainably self-sufficient economically, socially, and spiritually.  ZOE’s current enrollment is over 38,000 across Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Liberia, and India.


From Relief to Empowerment: ZOE’s journey to sustainable, locally supported mission with measurable results. How do you design a mission with sustainable results?  A ministry that empowers recipients to move beyond charity? Is it possible to have strong fiscal controls while working with international partners? Gaston Warner outlines ZOE’s ( journey in working with some of the most vulnerable children in the world. ZOE moved from a relief model controlled by the U.S. staff, to coming behind an indigenous model for mission in ways that is yielding healthy, sustainable, fiscally sound results with measurable results in partnership with local communities and non-profits. This session presents one robust model of sustainable empowerment ministry, with the hope of seeding ideas applicable for people wanting to move missions in non-emergency situations toward empowerment.