Compassion Foundations: What does it mean for Compassion to be Christ-centred?

Learn why being Christ-centred is at the foundation of everything we do at Compassion.
  • By: Laura Phillips
In Guatemala, 10-year-old Adriana is standing outside the Compassion centre holding a Bible.

Christ-centred. Church-driven. Child-focused.

These phrases are what we at Compassion call “the three C’s”—and they set the tone for everything we do. If you’ve been journeying with us for any length of time, these words may ring familiar in your ears. But what do they really mean?

In our new three-part blog series, Compassion Foundations, we’ll take an in-depth look at the meaning behind each of these significant phrases, which are our organization’s strategic anchors.

Today, we start with a look at what makes Compassion Christ-centred.

In this blog…

Getting to the roots of poverty

Jesus transforms lives

Daniel and Daniela’s story

Over the last 60 years, the foundation of being Christ-centred has existed as Compassion Canada’s North Star. Jesus is the reason for everything we do in the work of releasing children from poverty. Why? Because we believe in the power of the transformative love of Christ to change lives.

Having Christ at the centre of our efforts to end poverty is rooted in our understanding of what poverty is. When we look in the story of the Bible, we find the roots of poverty.

Getting to the roots of poverty

It can be easy to see poverty as strictly a material or circumstantial issue. We think, If these people just had enough food, water, education or healthcare, then everything would be fine.

It’s true that poverty limits access to these vital things, and it’s important that we work to see those needs met. But there’s more to poverty than material concerns. These material concerns are symptoms of something deeper—something spiritual.

Our world is broken because our relationship with God is broken.

The opening chapters of the Bible show the creation of a perfect world—one God declares “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God, humanity and the rest of creation lived in perfect harmony.

A Kenyan landscape with a large tree and expansive sky.

It was a world where poverty could not exist—until sin entered the world.

In Genesis 3, we see the first humans choose to rebel against their Creator. When they did this, they chose to destroy all that was very good about their relationship with God, each other and the world around them. Poverty became the default setting of the world.

Where there was once harmony between God, humanity and creation, there was now division. Where the ground once produced fruit in abundance, now even a meagre existence would require struggle and toil (Genesis 3:17-19).

Because we as humans choose our own way over God’s way of wholeness, the world around us exhibits the symptoms of this brokenness. Whether it’s violence, environmental degradation, exploitation, poverty or slavery, all suffering and injustice stem from humanity’s broken choices that lead to brokenness in the world around us.

Jesus transforms lives: An eternal solution to poverty

While that might seem bleak, there is good news! Jesus came to redeem all that is broken and restore our relationship with God—both for those of us living in material comfort and for those of us living in material poverty.

That doesn’t mean Jesus promises a life without suffering. We still live in a broken and fallen world.

But it does mean that if the root of poverty is spiritual—the result of our broken relationships with God, each other and the world around us—then in Jesus, we find an eternal solution.

Four women carry bags of grain on their heads, walking in front of a church building.

There is a day when poverty will finally and fully end. A day when Jesus will return and make all things new (Revelation 21:1-7):

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:4

This is the hope we look forward to and work towards in the meantime. It is the call God has put on the lives of His followers today, as seen across the arc of Scripture. As we experience the transformation that Jesus gives, we seek transformation for the people and the world around us, too.

At Compassion, being Christ-centred means that Jesus’ life and teachings shape our programs, reflect our values and commitments, and guide how we love, respect and act as good neighbours to people, communities and nations. Our response to a world in need is love like Jesus did and serve in Jesus’ name.

We see the immense power of this in the lives of the children who come through our programs each day: Transformed people transform the world around them. All over the world, Compassion children and alumni serve their communities and nations, in whatever circumstances God has placed them, fuelled by the transformative power of Christ’s love and redeeming work.

Daniel and Daniela’s story: Freedom because of Jesus

In the Dominican Republic, hearing the transformative message is exactly what changed the entire story for twins Daniel and Daniela, and their father, Jose, who was plagued with an addiction to alcohol, drugs and violence.

Home was not a place that felt safe for Daniel and Daniela. But the days when they could attend the Compassion centre next door helped them to feel hope. The centre quickly became a second home for the twins, where they received much-needed food, clothes, medicine and care for every need. It was also where they came to know the life-changing love of Jesus.

Daniel and Daniela are looking at each other and smiling. They are sitting on the steps outside a neighbour's house.

Daniela and Daniel in their neighbourhood.

“At the centre, all the tutors were very busy teaching us which things were good and pleasing to God and which were bad. So, hearing these things almost every day, seeing how real God was and how much truth there was in the teachings of our tutors, we decided to follow Jesus and obey Him and do the right things,” says Daniel.

Because of the influence of their tutors and the love of Jesus in their hearts, the twins decided to be responsible with their education and to choose healthy friendships. They got baptized and served in their local church.

But there was still a sadness in their hearts knowing the realities of their father’s destructive behaviours.

From house parties to preaching about Jesus

One Saturday after church, Daniel and Daniela came home to their parents hosting a house party, with loud, profane music and bottles of alcohol strewn across the ground.

“I looked my father in the eye and said, ‘Dad, we are Christians and should not be listening to that kind of music.’ Minutes after telling my father this, we never listened to that kind of music at home again. We never thought that phrase would be the one God would use to start an extraordinary change in his life, and in the life of our whole family,” says Daniela.

Jose started going to church, and little by little, his attitude began changing.

“We realized that he had accepted Jesus one Sunday when he came home smiling after going to church. His face was lit up! He looked so different, so happy. He hugged us and told us the news and we realized that all these years of praying for my dad had not been in vain,” says Daniel.

Jose gave up drugs and alcohol, and so did his wife, Maria. Together, they started going to church and soon after, they decided to hold services in front of their house and preach to their neighbours.

Life transformed because of Jesus

Since Jose was no longer spending money on alcohol and drugs, he decided to invest and save. He began a grocery store, and little by little, he built a respectable and dignified house.

Daniel, Jose and Daniela are standing inside the little grocery store named “House of God” that Jose opened after dropping drugs and alcohol.

Daniel and Daniela with their father Jose in their family’s store.

Today, Jose is a spiritual guide for his family. Together, they read the Bible and pray each day.

“I don’t know what would have become of our lives and our father’s life if we had not been part of the centre. Maybe we would all be dead, because, without the knowledge of God that we were given at the centre, we would have repeated my dad’s pattern, because sons do what dads do,” says Daniel.

“We are very grateful to God and the centre for all the help they have provided us throughout our lives,” says Daniela. “The greatest and most beautiful gift we have ever received has been Jesus and my dad.”

This beautiful family have become advocates in their community, supporting the church and the Compassion child development centre by motivating and preaching to the parents of the other participants—and the ripple effect continues.

Tangible hope and lives transformed

At Compassion, we believe that the love of Christ changes lives. It’s why being Christ-centred is one of Compassion’s unchanging foundations.

From left to right: Daniela, Maria (their mother), Jose, and Daniel are posing for a picture and smiling. They are standing in the backyard of what used to be their house.

Daniel and Daniela with their parents, Maria and Jose.

Just as seen in the lives of Daniel, Daniela and Jose, we aim to serve our neighbours around the world the way Jesus did: by meeting practical needs and sharing the tangible hope of the good news.

We know that when our solutions to poverty are rooted in Christ, children and their families have their best chance to flourish holistically. Where there is tangible hope, life transformation happens.

Want to learn more about what makes Compassion’s Christ-centred approach to alleviating child poverty unique?

We’d love to show you.

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