Church Engagement FAQs - Compassion International

Church Engagement

Frequently Asked Questions

We often receive questions that require transparent answers. Look behind the scenes to see how we operate.

What is unique about Compassion as a child sponsorship organization?

Child development through Compassion is all about the individual child. Each one receives the Whole-life care they deserve to realize their full, God-created potential in life. It is only through a careful blend of physical, social, economic and spiritual care that a child can fully mature in every facet of life and transcend a legacy of poverty. Compassion's child sponsorship model is one child to one sponsor. Also, our program is delivered uniquely and exclusively through indigenous, gospel-centered church partners.

How does Compassion choose the churches they partner with overseas?

Each country operates autonomously in selecting which cities and communities have the most need and which churches make the best partners. The most important criteria for selection are compatibility with statements of faith, commitment to child ministry and strategic geographic location. Other considerations include legal registration, commitment to accountability and ongoing learning, adequate square foot space, number of bathrooms, and plan to share the gospel in their sphere of influence.

Does Compassion plant churches?

Compassion is not a church planting organization. However, our child development program is a natural complement to young church plants, and we have, a well-defined church planting model that identifies timelines, responsibilities, expectations and accountability. This model has allowed church planting partners to start more than 260 churches worldwide. We are a trusted guide with global relational equity and reliable accountability, and we desire to form more church planting partnerships with U.S. partners who have God’s perspective on His church and children.

What is the relationship between the church and the Compassion child development center?

The church and Compassion make a commitment to each other to implement a child development center which belongs to the local church and is an integral part of the church’s ministry. The indigenous church's strategic placement makes them best suited to address the needs of the children in their communities, and Compassion equips them with program and resources. These local churches become the heroes in their neighborhoods by providing whole-life care through the child development center. One element of this whole-life care includes delivering Jesus-based teaching that brings true hope to the children and often opens the door as meaningful conversations with their families.

How is the money distributed to the child development centers?

Every month Compassion International in Colorado Springs deposits money into each country office's bank account. The country office then disburses the appropriate amount to each child development center according to the number of children each center serves. Detailed records are required on both the sending and receiving ends, and the records are audited regularly.

What kind of accountability do the child development centers have as they spend money?

The church is the first line of accountability through a governance structure that ensures appropriate spending. The governance structure is either the church board or a Committee that includes church members, parents and youth of the program. The second line of accountability is Compassion's financial requirements of checks and balances through monthly financial reporting and regular audits. Compassion has corrective mechanisms in place for repeated mistakes and signs of abuse.

How does the overseas pastor have time to preach and shepherd the church with Compassion so involved?

Each Compassion child development center has a project director and other dedicated staff who take care of the day to day activities. Sometimes this is the pastor, and sometimes it is another individual. The project director's role is to oversee all aspects of the program: financial accountability, program management, relational integrity and child protection.

How big are the country offices and what do they do?

The country office is the main administrative hub for all the child development centers so the number of employees varies by country depending on how many centers it serves. Administrative tasks include disbursement and accountability of all funds to each center, communication between children and sponsors, maintaining child data, and advocating for highly vulnerable children (medically and socioemotionally). Employees at the country office are nationals who are passionate about releasing their country's children from poverty in Jesus' name.

How are child gifts distributed?

A sponsor can give a family gift up to $1000 per year in addition to their monthly sponsorship commitment to their sponsored child. When given, a representative from the child development center meets with the child and family to explain the financial gift, to brainstorm ideas on how to use it, and to shop with them. The child's needs and wants are considered, and the purchased items are recorded in the child's records housed at the center. The sponsor receives a thank you letter that often includes a photo of a smiling child surrounded with his/her new purchases.

How much time does my church have to invest to manage child sponsorship?

Administratively, none! Compassion provides child packets for a supporting church's sponsorship event. Each packet contains a child's photo along with his/her story and a sponsorship sign-up form. Once filled out and returned to Compassion, we collect funds from the sponsor and distribute to each country office on a monthly basis. Compassion facilitates the relationship between child and sponsor by translating letters, arranging travel as needed, providing child progress reports, answering questions and tracking donations. However, we DO encourage pastors to invest time as advocates for children in poverty by using their influence and pulpits to encourage sponsorship. The partnership between a supporting church and Compassion is simple for a pastor to manage.

How will giving to Compassion affect the general offering at my church?

Almost unanimously, U.S. pastors tell us that child sponsorship increases financial giving at their church. As members connect with the needs of their sponsored children, eyes are opened to local needs as well. Generosity begets generosity.

Are we able to choose a region, country or church to focus our attention to the children there?

Any U.S. supporting church partner can request to sponsor children from any country or region where Compassion currently serves. Likely there may not be enough children to sponsor from one specific implementing church partner so often we can provide sponsorships from implementing church partners that are relatively close together.

Can we visit the children and area where we sponsor?

Absolutely! In order to facilitate sponsors meeting their sponsored children, Compassion offers annual trips to each of the 25 countries where we serve. A typical trip includes visits to the country office, a few child development centers, and a fun day with the sponsored child. If the sponsored child does not live in the trip’s destination city, Compassion is still committed to a face-to-face visit and to that end provides travel and lodging for the child, a parent and a staff member from the child's center.

What type of engagement can my congregation have with their sponsored child?

Each sponsor is encouraged to write letters to their sponsored child on a quarterly basis and pray for him/her. Additionally, there are opportunities to visit in person, give financial birthday and Christmas gifts, and support the child development center with a special financial gift designated for a specific intervention/outcome. Call toll-free 866-607-5162 or email churches@compassion.com to connect with a Church Engagement Team member to learn about specific interventions that may interest your church.

What can we do beyond sponsoring children?

Compassion has an extensive list of interventions that are prioritized by the country offices to help meet the needs of each child development center. To learn more, contact the Church Engagement Team by calling 866-607-5162 or by emailing churches@compassion.com.

Will Compassion attempt to get sponsors from my church to fund other initiatives/programs at Compassion?

When a member of your church becomes a sponsor of a child, he/she receives all the rights and privileges of the Compassion family. This includes receiving letters from the child and updates on his/her developmental progress as well as letters from the pastor of the church implementing the child development center. Communication also includes opportunities to give, fundraise and serve on behalf of the children.

Will Compassion "spam" my congregants if they become sponsors?

Compassion complies with anti-spam laws, and a sponsor always has the ability to unsubscribe from any, some or all communication.