It all started in 2009 when William and the church elders began praying about how their congregation could put faith into action by addressing the issue of poverty. “We looked at a bunch of organizations, and Compassion stood head and shoulders above them all for two reasons,” he says.
“First, Compassion’s focus on Jesus is in the forefront. Many other Christian organizations downplay that. Second, because Compassion works through local churches, we knew we could have a true partnership, not just someplace to send checks every month.”
Since then, William says, “God has lit a fire in our people” for partnering with Compassion.
Southview focuses on Rwanda, where most members currently sponsor children. Even their children’s group sponsors two Rwandan children. “The kids know their sponsored children’s names, they write to them, and they bring in their nickels and dimes each week to support them.”
William explains, “We wanted to go deep in one area, one country, to have a significant impact there.” Not only does the congregation sponsor children in Rwanda, they also have provided water filters to 1,037 Rwandan families through Compassion Water of Life program, supported the construction of water systems at three partner churches, provided hundreds of mosquito nets for families in need, sponsored a college student through the Leadership Development Program and, most recently, committed to support a Child Survival Program center.
“Besides making a significant impact in Rwanda, Compassion partnership is also making a significant impact on our church’s people,” William adds. “Serving kids in Rwanda doesn’t just help the kids. It also helps us grow as a community together.
“Plus, loving God and loving people are interconnected. When we are loving and serving these kids, we are loving and serving God.” That’s why, William says, Compassion partnership is a great way to advance the church’s mission of “loving, growing and serving.”
Despite Southview members’ commitment to Compassion partnership, William reports that tithes and offerings haven’t suffered. A 2012 Christmas Eve offering alone brought in a substantial amount to support Compassion water projects in Rwanda. At the same time, general offerings to the church increased over the year by 18 percent.
William concludes, “I continually say to my people, ‘What if we get this right? What if we go all in and surrender who we are and all we have to God and His work?’ I think that the world hasn’t yet seen what can happen. That’s my dream and my prayer – that God’s Church would rise up and say, ‘Poverty isn’t acceptable. We’re going to serve people in Jesus’ name, and we’re going to be the Church.’”
You can read more about Southview Community Church and the tremendous difference this vibrant congregation is making for God’s Kingdom on their website.