You don't have to attend a megachurch to get "mega-results" at your Compassion Sunday event. Just look at Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, California. There is no army of volunteers -- only a few dedicated Compassion child advocates. There is no slick marketing campaign -- just a powerful message on poverty delivered by Senior Pastor Ken Burkey. Sometimes a Compassion video is shown. Often a Compassion sponsor shares his or her testimony. And through that simplicity, hundreds of children have been sponsored!
Answering the Call
At Green Valley's third Compassion Sunday event hjeld recently, child number 706 was sponsored. In a church of nearly 2,500 members, this means that nearly one out of every four members has responded to God's call to care for the least of these.
"We have a very giving, active church," says Jim Copeland, a Compassion advocate who has helped to plan Green Valley's Compassion Sunday events. "Many (members) are serving in our community already. However, the awareness of poverty on a global scale humbles us and makes us want to do even more. It takes church members outside of the sanctuary."
Steps to Success
As a seasoned Compassion Sunday planner, Jim has some advice for those who are hosting their first event or who want to see their Compassion Sunday grow.
- Get your pastor involved.
"I'm convinced that the huge heart of our pastor is a major part of our success," says Jim. "A successful Compassion Sunday can best happen when your pastor has a heart for children and poverty and the passion to do something about it." Over the three years that Jim has been involved with Compassion, he has maintained steady contact with Pastor Burkey about the events. Compassion also offers materials designed specifically for sharing the message of Compassion Sunday with your church leadership.
Jim stresses the importance of adequate preparation. "Make sure you have plenty of volunteers and an experienced 'team leader' who is a seasoned volunteer or (a Compassion) child advocate," advises Jim. Following your Compassion Sunday presentation, be sure your sponsorship table is well-staffed and prepared for the crowd that will arrive, ready to sponsor. "Be sure that everyone has pens and child packets so nobody walks away who was planning on sponsoring a child."
"Be sure you spend a lot of time in prayer before your event," says Jim. Consider organizing a prayer team who will pray for the planners of your event, as well as for the relationships that will form between sponsors and children. Don't forget to pray for results, as members' hearts are opened to releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.
As your church learns more about the plight of children and poverty, and about God's commands regarding the poor, be prepared to see changes in the hearts of your church members.
"Compassion Sunday has opened the hearts of so many at Green Valley," says Jim. "They are even more giving than before. Many of our sponsors return and sponsor a second or even a third child during our Compassion Sunday events."
For more information on hosting your own Compassion Sunday, visit the Compassion Sunday page to get started today.