Ministry to Children - Minister to Children - Compassion International

Compassion International is a Ministry to Children
A Ministry to Children

Our ministry to children began in 1952. Rev. Everett Swanson had left his pastorate to work as a full-time evangelist, and that year he traveled to South Korea to preach the gospel to the troops in the Republic of Korea army.

Rev. Everett Swanson with orphanchild

While on the trip he saw the poor conditions in which many orphaned and abandoned children live — and die.

One morning he saw city workers collecting piles of rags and tossing them into the back of a garbage truck. As he approached the truck, he realized the "piles" were not rags. The city workers were collecting the frozen bodies of orphans who had died overnight in the streets. He had never seen circumstances like this before. Rev. Swanson could not ignore what he saw and vowed to find a way to help.

Back home in Chicago, Rev. Swanson raised money to support a Korean orphanage and established a unique program to provide food, clothing, shelter, a Bible-based education and medical care for a Korean orphan for a few dollars a month. That program, our initial ministry to children, grew into our Child Sponsorship Program.

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A Ministry About Children

We focus our ministry on children. We exist to release children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty.

A group of teenage boys stand in a circle with their arms resting on each others' shoulders. They are look down at the camera and making faces.

Our commitment to children is a commitment to holistic child development. And it’s a commitment unique among child sponsorship organizations. Unlike many childrens ministries that serve children through community development, all of our work is about the individual child.

We believe changed circumstances rarely change people’s live but changed people inevitably change their circumstances.

We establish one-to-one long-term relationships with the children our church partners minister to. Our ministry is about equipping children so they can end the cycle of poverty in their lives.

We provide children in our programs with:

  • Mentoring and leadership development
  • Critical medical resources and medical checkups
  • Clean water, nutritious food and supplemental vitamins
  • Health and hygiene training
  • Educational assistance, emotional support and spiritual guidance
  • Access to special services like surgeries and disaster relief

Our ministry gives poor children and their families the skills and opportunity to reach enough — enough to succeed physically, socially, economically and spiritually. We minister to children as whole beings with bodies, minds, souls and spirits. We seek transformation in the lives of the children we minister to so they are truly, completely and finally released from poverty.

A Ministry for Children

In 2008, a team of researchers led by Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, conducted a study of our Child Sponsorship Program. No other child sponsorship organization had been willing to risk participation in the study his team proposed: Does international child sponsorship really work?

A university student waits to graduate from a leadership development program.

After collecting data on more than 10,000 individuals over a two-year period, Dr. Wydick and his colleagues concluded that our Child Sponsorship Program has large and statistically significant impacts on the educational, employment and leadership outcomes of the children who participate.

On average, a child we minister to spends 4,000 hours in safe, nurturing programs, is at least 50 percent more likely to graduate college and is 35 percent more likely to find white-collar employment as an adult.

Essentially, our ministry to children is a ministry for children in that it gives children the opportunity to develop and succeed.

When asked which component of our childrens ministry was most beneficial to them; nearly 40 percent of the formerly sponsored children who participated in the research replied "educational support." The second-most common response related to "spiritual or character development."
Childrens Ministry: It's What We Do!

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