The Perfect Combination

The Perfect Combination

By: Brandy Campbell

A small church has a big heart for children in poverty

Keigh Lokkesmoe, pictured here with one of his sponsored children, Esneyder, says that Compassion Sunday was the perfect way to blend his talents and his passion.

Minneapolis Keith Lokkesmoe never would have become a Compassion Advocate if it weren't for his daughter, Janell. While still in high school, Janell decided to sponsor a Compassion-assisted child from Colombia.

"I couldn't be outdone by a high school student," Keith says with a laugh. He was inspired by Janell's interest in helping a child in poverty, and soon Keith and his wife began sponsoring a child of their own.

"I'll be honest. When I first started partnering with Compassion, I was just a typical sponsor," says Keith. "I wrote letters once in a while, and it felt good doing that. But I was motivated by pity more than anything else."

"It wasn't about pity anymore &"

Keith says God was working outside of his family, too specifically at his church, Sojourn Campus Church in Minneapolis. This small church of only 60 members had started a reading group, and the topic of their first book was the Christian's response to poverty.

"Suddenly, it wasn't about pity anymore," says Keith. "It was about justice. Everything just sort of came together."

Part of that "coming together" involved Keith becoming a Compassion Advocate. And Compassion Sunday seemed like a perfect fit for a church already exploring what God has to say about poverty.

"For us, Compassion Sunday wasn't an isolated event. It was part of a broader theme. It meshed perfectly with the reading group, but also with local ministries we were involved in, and just the things God was teaching us about. Compassion Sunday, for us, wasn't just a service it was part of a much bigger lesson God was teaching us."

Pairing Passion With Gifting

Compassion Sunday is not only a perfect match for Sojourn, it also matches Keith's personality and skills. The event allows him to pair his passion for children and those in poverty with his natural gifts of public speaking and planning. But he is quick to note that you don't have to love public speaking to manage a Compassion Sunday.

"If you're better one-on-one, do a Compassion Sunday for your small group or Bible study," says Keith. "You can also show videos and have others do the talking. However you do it, know that you and your church will be blessed. Revival comes when your church is seeking after God's will and doing His work."

Keith has helped lead two Compassion Sunday events at Sojourn. At both, the entire service has been devoted to the topic of children and poverty and has included sponsor testimonies, videos and children's events. Today, nearly half the church's members are Compassion sponsors.

Changing the World, One Child at a Time

Soon Keith hopes to broaden his reach, meeting with other pastors about holding their own Compassion Sunday services. He says his main goal is to simply put feet to the stirrings Christians often already have in their hearts.

"Many people feel overwhelmed with guilt, because social injustice and poverty seem like such huge problems," says Keith. "A lot of the people I talk to say they feel paralyzed and hopeless. But I can show them that no, you can't change the world, but you can change the world for one child."