Compassion partners churches in the United States with churches in developing countries to minister to the world's most innocent victims of poverty.
Tim Goodwin has a heart for the poor and a mind for numbers. And for more than 20 years, Tim has used both his heart and mind to successfully find hundreds of sponsors for Compassion-assisted children worldwide.
Tim credits his family with his heart for the poor. When he was a child, his parents sponsored a little girl named Claire through Compassion. Every evening, Tim's entire family prayed for Claire. Those family prayers taught Tim that not everybody had a comfortable home and food to eat.
As Tim and his family prayed for Claire, God was planting the seeds of compassion in a young boy's heart.
An Early Foundation
As a teenager, Tim began sponsoring his own Compassion child. When he was in his 20s, he became a Compassion Advocate.
"Becoming a Compassion Advocate was when I truly began seeing Compassion as a personal ministry," Tim says. "I had always been very involved in my church, but outside of that I had to ask myself, 'What am I doing for people who don't live in my community, or even in my country?'"
When Tim became an Advocate, he was working as an investment adviser. With his knowledge of numbers and finance, he found Compassion's commitment to financial integrity sound and impressive.
"I read all of the financials and looked at watchdog organizations online, and was constantly impressed with Compassion's transparency and their commitment to getting money to the people who needed it most," he says.
Opening the Heart to Giving
In 1994, Tim began leading Compassion Sunday events at churches in Atlanta, where he lives. Over the past few years, he partnered with Nelson Karpeh, another Compassion Advocate.
Nelson, who moved to the United States from Liberia, speaks with firsthand knowledge about living in poverty. Nelson's passion, combined with Tim's experience, has resulted in a dynamic team tremendously successful in linking sponsors with children in need through Compassion Sunday programs in the Atlanta area.
Because of the current economic recession, however, Tim has encountered pastors' resistant to his efforts to present Compassion Sunday. Some fear their flocks will give less to the church if they're giving to Compassion.
But Tim's heart for the poor and his mind for numbers make him uniquely equipped to knock down walls of resistance.
"I can tell every pastor that I talk to that holding a Compassion Sunday will not decrease giving among their congregations," he says. "In fact, I have seen the opposite over and over again. Compassion opens the door, inspires people to give even more. It opens up people to the idea of giving. Once they understand God's mandate to help others they will apply that principle in their own churches, communities and even internationally."
And when Tim explains Compassion's commitment to ensuring that more than 80 percent of sponsorship money is spent on children, he usually seals the deal for another Compassion Sunday.
For Just One Child
For 2009, Tim and Nelson have set a goal to partner with 12 churches to host Compassion Sunday one each month. They've seen God work through the church, whether one child was sponsored, or 100. Tim has faith they will meet their lofty goal.
And he will never give up working on behalf of children in poverty.
"This goal of 12 churches is really exciting for us. It helps me to be very intentional, have a goal, and work toward that goal," Tim says. "I'm excited to see the churches God is going to lead us to. I've seen the whole gamut. I've done services where I've never even met the pastor, and ones where we've run out of Child Packets.
"But ultimately, the only goal is rescuing children from poverty. Nelson and I would trek through the jungles barefoot with machetes for one kid. It is our passion. And we'll keep doing it, month after month."