5 Reasons Why Children Are the Heart of Compassion

Zahen is wearing a yellow shirt. She is sitting in a boat on the seashore giving herself a hug.

There are a lot of ways to fight poverty and share the love of Jesus. Some organizations improve access to safe water. Others provide literacy training and education. Many focus on nutrition and hunger, health care or disaster relief.  

At Compassion, we focus on children. They are the heart of everything we do. Our programs touch on many of the poverty-alleviating strategies listed above — but they all revolve around one clear goal: 

Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. 

Why children? In fighting the enormous, complex task of global poverty, why did we choose to tackle it from the most-vulnerable, least-influential, most-soft-spoken voices? Children don’t have a lot of money or political power or social standing. They aren’t (yet) world leaders, doctors or respected economists. 

So, what do children bring to the table? 

A lot.  

Here are five reasons why children are the heart of Compassion. 

1. They matter to Jesus. 

There are many stories in Scripture about how precious children are to Jesus. Mark 10:13-15 shares a time when people brought little children to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them. Thinking Jesus wouldn’t want to bother with children, the disciples rebuked them — but they were wrong. We read in verses 14-15 (NIV), “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'” 

2. They are the most receptive to the gospel. 

Two girls in the Philippines hold a children's Bible.

We read in Proverbs 22:6 (NIV), “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Research shows that almost two-thirds of Americans who give their lives to Christ do so before age 18. Still other global studies suggest that children are most receptive to spiritual and developmental input between ages 4 and 14.  

Want to learn more? Check out research on the “4/14 Window” about evangelism among children.

3. There are a lot of them. 

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, over 40% of the global population is under the age of 25. About 85% of the world’s youths live in low- to middle-income countries. The sheer number of children around the world — and the number of those living in poverty — is staggering. An estimated 385 million children currently live in extreme poverty (on less than US $1.90 a day). One in 2 — or 689 million — lives in a multidimensionally poor household, which means they experience at least one indicator of poverty in their daily life, such as poor health, lack of education or inadequate living standards. 

4. They are the hardest hit by poverty’s effects but the least able to do anything about their circumstances. 

When it comes to the effects of poverty, children are the most vulnerable. They are the most impacted by malnutrition. They are often the earliest to succumb to disease. In times of war or instability — when education and basic needs like love and security take a backseat to survival — it’s children who suffer the most. And it’s those in their youngest, most formative years who are the worst off. Over 20 percent of all children under age 5 in the developing world live in extremely poor households, compared with 15 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds. That’s why Compassion’s holistic child development program starts even before a child is born with prenatal care for the mother.   

5. They have a lifetime ahead of them. 

Three children in Tanzania sit together smiling. A mud hut with thatch roof is in the background.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of working with children is the incredible potential for lifelong change. In speaking about his book “Too Small to Ignore,” President Emeritus of Compassion International Dr. Wess Stafford shared, “When a child is small it takes very little effort to make an impact for good or [an impact] that can destroy them. A child’s life can be launched or derailed, and the effects will last a lifetime.”  

Compassion’s 2022 Prayer Calendar focuses on “Faith Like a Child.” Check out the prayer requests and praises for this month. We hope it encourages you with new ways to pray for the world, and especially for the Church, to see children as Jesus sees them. 

16 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Cheryl April 25, 2023


  2. John Mapelera February 8, 2023

    I have been personaly assisting vulnerable and orphan children for over ten years despite that l am not working anywhere.
    Currently the number of children is eleven but there more who wish l could be supporting.

    Out of these eleven children, seven of them are girls of 11 to 16 years and four are boys of 10 to 15 years. They are all school going children

    I do support them with school materials, food, clothing, school fund fees and more importantly, spiritual life.

    Knowing that there are so many children whose relatives have been approaching me seeking support and knowing that l cannot over stretch myself to reach them, its when now l begin to seek extenal support.

    Please should there be a grace of being considered, do so as this will serve alot of vulnerable intended souls

    Pastor John Mapelera

    1. Nicole February 8, 2023

      Hi, Pastor John. Thank you for reaching out to us. I am sorry to hear of financial and general struggles you are walking through, but we are encouraged by how you are caring for these children. Would you please send us an email for us to speak with you further? Our email is [email protected] – thank you in advance.

  3. Ssemakula charles January 27, 2023

    Thanks to God that you people came to save the future generation here in Uganda children face so many challenges mostly caused by domestic violence and poverty .thank you for helping the needy souls. am ssemakula Charles

  4. Mary Gruchala January 21, 2023

    I’m praying for the children, and especially the children and families burdened not only by poverty but the recent unrest in burkino Fasa. I have a sponsored child in burkino Fasa and I’m searching for information on their well being

    1. Elizabeth January 23, 2023

      Hi Mary! Thank you for praying for the children! We are happy to check for any updated information on the child you sponsor. Would you please send our team an email at [email protected] with your sponsor ID number so we can assist your further? Blessings!

  5. SHIMOKA MUNDIA November 25, 2022


  6. Jimmy Herman Rey June 22, 2022

    Bagaimana kami bisa mendapatkan dukungan dari Compassion Internasional, Terimah Kasih Tuhan Yesus Memberkati. Amin.

    1. Kaye-Lin June 22, 2022

      Hai Jimmy. Terima kasih sudah menghubungi kami. Maukah Anda mengirim email ke tim kami di [email protected]? Kami akan dengan senang hati membantu Anda. Terima kasih!

  7. Ongom May 28, 2022

    It’s unfortunate that I have taken six years in the ministry but didn’t know much about Compassion International. With the little time I have spent reading you, I have realized that I have lagged a lot behind. The only way to teach a child is to know God. Raising Godly children helps parents, leaders and even government to have a citizen rooted in God’s word. Moreso, children are the future leaders. So, a lot should be invested in them. Am glad I am connected now.

  8. Samuel Imbo Oppiyo April 13, 2022

    My name is Samuel Imbo.I am very happy with what compassion international Kenya is doing to children . I am talented in creative writing and I would like to be one of your bloggers. Kindly accept me I have a lot to offer

    1. Christina April 13, 2022

      Hello Samuel! We appreciate your interest in becoming a blog writer for Compassion. Please send us an email at [email protected] to learn more. Thank you!

  9. Jenny February 25, 2022

    I love how Compassion is Christ Focused and Child Focused. I currently sponsor 14 children through Compassion International. I love these children as if they were my own. I have no child of my own but God has blessed me through Compassion International. I am blessed probably more than the children I am helping. I love to see them growing through the pictures you send and through their letters. I know letter writing has been a bit unpredictable through Covid but I try to write my Compassion children at least once per month so they know they are being prayed over and loved. I know they will write as they are able. Last year I first volunteered with Compassion and this year I signed up to do Compassion Sunday. I look forward for ways to support Compassion International.

    1. Shannon February 28, 2022

      Wow! We cannot thank you enough for choosing to sponsor your 14 precious children! What an incredible blessing! Your letters of love and encouragement and your prayers truly do make all the difference! It is such an honor to have your support and to have you in our Compassion family! I am so happy to know these children help complete your family! ?

  10. Amos Ashifa Agyigra February 24, 2022

    The future of the healthy church is a well discipled and well fed children , the church in the most persecuted Area like my place in Northern Nigeria we are faced up with so many challenges i have been looking for partners to sponsors the project i call the zarephath purse to help the needy and to involve in moblile missionary training using audio /audio visuals using Sd card etc to provide free accessability to messages using media

    1. Kaye-Lin February 25, 2022

      Hi Amos. I am very sorry to hear that you are needing assistance. Will you please send us an email at [email protected] so that we can further assist you? Thank you.

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