Ministry is a study of seasons. God, in His wisdom, knows the rise and fall of seasons—times to grow, times to rest, times to change, times to anchor—work together for our ultimate good. Just the way that seasons bring a life-giving rhythm to nature, our personal lives and our communities, they also produce strength and infuse vitality into ministries like Compassion.
A good way to acknowledge the gift of seasons is to look back at the past, bring awareness to the present and dream for the future. This helps assure us of the value of every season God leads us into. It fills our hearts with gratitude for the faithfulness God has shown and the good He has done through every season, and it gives us hope for tomorrow.
Today, we invite you into a glimpse of Compassion’s seasons. Where was Compassion a decade ago? Where are we now? Where do we want to be in 10 years? Let’s find out…
Then: Compassion around 10 years ago
The late 2000s and early 2010s marked a significant time for Compassion’s ministry. Compassion grew exponentially in the 2000s, a time when many not-for-profit organizations were really finding their footing. This was a time when the growth of Compassion’s ministry was outstripping the capacity to keep that pace. Around 2008, this rapid growth settled out into a more moderate pace but it begged the question: what does the future look like for Compassion?
At this time, roughly a decade ago, Compassion began to really wrestle with that question. After such significant growth, what is the next right step forward? How do we navigate the needs of this new decade ahead? There were challenging but exciting questions that needed answers.
The significant growth of the organization presented Compassion with one particular pain point that needed to be addressed: technology. It had become obvious that in order to support the growth of the ministry, better systems needed to be put in place. This pain point is what triggered international meetings hosted by Compassion International in Colorado Springs. Compassion partner countries and representatives from the countries where Compassion serves all met together in one room for the first time in the organization’s history. These meetings became a pivotal moment in Compassion’s ministry because they strengthened the voice of those we serve around the world. This shifted how Compassion operated as a ministry and empowered the churches around the world that Compassion partners with to lead with input, innovation and presence, which is one of the defining qualities to Compassion’s ministry today.
These interdisciplinary conversations initiated an important change in how Compassion works, both here in Canada and in other partner countries, but most significantly in our program. Compassion Canada joined other Global Partners such as Compassion Australia, Compassion UK, Compassion Netherlands and Compassion International in coordinating marketing needs and creating a greater sense of collective purpose. And as mentioned, the programmatic changes to how Compassion’s ministry works in the countries we serve have prioritized the input and leadership of the amazing men and women who are implementing the child development program for the children we all serve.
- The late 2000s marked a shift into a more moderately paced season of ministry
- This initiated the question: what does the future look like for Compassion?
- Technology to support the ministry was one of the key concerns a decade ago
- International meetings were held where many Compassion countries were represented for the first time
- Marketing coordination between Compassion’s partner countries began to take effect
- Compassion’s ministry shifted to prioritize the voice of those who are implementing the program for the children we serve
- Compassion Deutschland and Compassion Nordic join Compassion’s Global Partner Alliance
- Compassion began its child development program in Togo and Sri Lanka
- The one-millionth Compassion child was sponsored
Now: Compassion Today
Not much has to be said about the significant changes that have been thrust upon Compassion’s ministry over the past couple of years leading to the present. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us, changing the way we work and live. This is true for Compassion’s ministry both here in Canada and around the world. Thankfully, the important work done over the past decade had set Compassion up well for having to innovate and pivot how the program is implemented for children. The modernization of the technological systems that support Compassion’s ministry both here and around the world was a key tool to ensure Compassion’s ministry could continue amidst the largescale adjustments the pandemic required. The expertise of Compassion staff who live and minister in the context where the children live was invaluable in ensuring that they received the care and resources they needed when it was needed most. When God brought together all of the Compassion countries for the international meetings and strengthened the voice and input of those who worked in the countries where we serve children, His wisdom and providence accounted for just how significant that would be to navigating COVID-19.
Compassion is currently continuing to move forward with empowering the local churches, staff and leaders who minister directly to the children and understand their needs best. We are making essential decisions and working in such a way that focuses on building God’s Kingdom, serving our supporters, staff and children so that lives are transformed. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Compassion launched its first-ever global campaign “We Rise as One” which ushered in a collaborative effort that has informed and inspired how we approach our mission in this present reality. Our current collective initiative, born from that global campaign, is to invite others into God’s Kingdom work in a personal and meaningful way. Drawing on the experiences of Compassion alumni, sponsors and children, we are calling people to join a movement that is changing the future one child at a time.
- Compassion had to focus on relief, food security and housing stability in the wake of COVID-19
- Compassion’s agile ministry and the generosity of supporters provided critical support to children and families in response to COVID-19
- Compassion centres have slowly begun to transition back to regular child development programming
- Compassion’s work over the past decade was instrumental to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic
- Compassion launched its first-ever global campaign “We Rise as One”
- Compassion Canada closed 2021 with record-breaking donations
- Inspired by the personal nature of Compassion’s sponsorship program, Compassion has launched an initiative inviting others to sponsor
Tomorrow: Compassion 10 years from now
It’s clear that God has been orchestrating the details to prepare Compassion’s ministry to weather the unique challenges and new opportunities that are present right now. He has ensured that Compassion was positioned well with technology, program, innovation and stability to help children and their families in a time of critical need during the pandemic. In many ways, the present time has been a crash course in Compassion’s effectiveness and agility, teaching us what we are capable of, where we need to grow and how God’s faithfulness is a bolster to our future plans.
All in all, the future is promising, and we are excited to continue releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name in increasingly relevant and effective ways. As we look forward with anticipation, there is a sense of purpose as we see the great need present in our world and a sense of urgency to engage more people in the fight against poverty. Compassion has been working to open its program in new countries around the world so that even more children can be released from poverty. (In fact, you may have noticed that we’ve just recently added two new countries to our About page: Myanmar and Malawi!) We’re exploring new ways of engaging new supporters as well as providing a rich experience to current supporters. The digital landscape is being harnessed and relationships are being built and fostered as we learn more about our supporters. Perhaps most thrilling is that the child development program is being enhanced through what we have learned through the pandemic, the input of the Compassion staff around the world and the strategic research the past decade has provided.
- Exponential learning occurred in the past couple of years which has been crucial to informing Compassion’s future
- Poverty is a complex and present problem in our world and the need is great
- Compassion is currently working to deliver its child development program in new countries such as Myanmar and Malawi
- Compassion Canada is recruiting new staff and harnessing talent to support the growth opportunities
- Compassion harnesses the impact of sponsorship and seeks to ensure both the sponsor and child’s lives are transformed as we journey together in poverty alleviation
- Compassion’s child development program continues to be enhanced so that it can operate with maximum effectiveness for the children we serve
Every season has a purpose. Every challenge is an opportunity.
Every step forward impacts a child’s life.
Then. Now. Tomorrow.
The mission will always be the same.
Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.