The Real Underdogs
Have you ever felt overwhelmed because it seemed the world was against you? Have you stalled out because the path ahead seemed too difficult?
We’ve all felt like an underdog at some point in our lives.
Now imagine how you would feel if you were fighting every day to meet your most basic needs…being surrounded by scenes of despair and hopelessness and having no voice amidst your situation.
Imagine being a child living in the developing world.
Children in poverty don’t know if the world is against them or simply doesn’t see them. These children are underdogs for reasons that are beyond their control--like their birthplace.
On our “underdog” days, we need to know we are not alone. That there’s hope. That God is on our side.
Often, children living in in poverty have lost their hope. They haven’t experienced that there is a God who loves them, chose them and has a plan for them.
Building Relationships With Children Through Sponsorship
Years ago, my family decided to sponsor a child through Compassion. The fact that my family could build a relationship with one child was the kicker for our decision. We were paired financially with one child, and we also had the opportunity to write letters and pray for him. In turn, he wrote letters back. We were actively discipling and building a true relationship with our boy.
Over time, I was able to see how comprehensive Compassion’s ministry to children in poverty really is. Today I can tell you: I believe Compassion is--hands down--the most thorough, life-giving, Gospel-centered missions organization on the planet. That’s a bold statement, but I believe it with all my heart.
Taking a Deeper Dive to Serve the World’s Underdogs
Next Level Church was already supporting missionaries in Guatemala and Kenya. So I connected with Compassion to discuss layering on top of our existing missions strategy. Because I would rather our impact be a mile deep and an inch wide than the other way around when it comes to global ministry, we decided to continue pouring into Guatemala and Kenya by sponsoring children in those two countries.
Soon after our first child sponsorship event, people in our church were writing to their sponsored children and praying for them on a regular basis. I felt a change happening. There is an undeniable power that is unleashed when we as pastors encourage our body of believers to act in unison for a Kingdom cause. The synergistic effect is undeniable.Then we had an opportunity to host The Compassion Experience, a traveling, interactive display that allows people to see, hear and feel the realities of extreme poverty—and the hope through sponsorship. This rocked our people’s worlds and softened some hearts! In less than a week, our church sponsored nearly 400 additional children. That’s almost 400 young underdogs who are now being provided with the care, support and spiritual encouragement they need to face the road ahead. God willing, these children could literally change their family trees – and impact the trajectory of their lineages – for Christ.
Whenever There are People in Trouble, God's Answer is Always to Find a Leader
As pastors, we believe to our core that the church is the hope of the world. That’s why I’m completely sold on a key component of Compassion’s ministry strategy: working exclusively through and in partnership with indigenous evangelical churches.
I LOVE THIS.
These local churches are empowered to shine brighter in their own communities. It protects the bigger ministry by working with nationals who know the nuances of their local culture and issues.
This strategy gives the local church all the credit.
People notice when children and families are restored to health and experience the hope of Jesus. They can rightfully attribute this positive change to the local church serving her people as only she can. The bride of Christ wins. Is there anything better than that?
We All Can Do Mighty Things for God
Sometimes we’re called to lead the charge, and sometimes we’re called up as soldiers. And yet we are all just average underdogs.
As you face your own personal challenges, my hope is you will consider what might happen if you encourage your church to invest in lifting up young underdogs on the other side of the world.
It may just be that by courageously picking up a child, God lifts you up, too.