With today’s economy and political debate going haywire, it’s more important than ever to buttress our commitment to the children we sponsor. It’s as vital as connecting other, unsponsored children with sponsors.
When God puts a child on our hearts, it is easy to answer His call … at least initially. However, it can be difficult to remain invested in the commitment over time. And current economic circumstances aren’t making this any easier.
Sponsors at my church have been experiencing financial hardships with gas prices, unemployment, and the overall cost of living. We’re just squeezing by, paying what is necessary, but mostly going about things without passion.
I’m not sure if you’re experiencing this same tension, but I suspect that with finances being tighter, some of us are investing less time or financial support in Compassion’s ministry to children in poverty. We’re having to reassess the decisions we’ve made about our time, talent and treasures.
I held a Compassion Sunday at my church, but given the tough financial times my pastor and I felt it would be best to not participate in next year’s Compassion Sunday campaign. We wanted to give full attention to the needs among our congregation.
Taking our church’s situation into account, my pastor suggested that I continue to encourage existing sponsors within our church and community. That way, when we do give another presentation, we will have more families who can testify to what a wonderful organization Compassion is and encourage others to sponsor children.
So after meeting with my pastor and my volunteer coordinator, we began to implement activities to help keep sponsors engaged and keep Compassion’s ministry present at our church.
I also came up with some strategies to welcome new sponsors and acted as their contact person should they have any general questions about the ministry. Here are some of the ideas we have started or are in the process getting off the ground:
- Welcome Kit for New Sponsors
I purchased pocket folders in bulk. They were inexpensive and served as a nice addition to the child packets sponsors receive upon beginning their sponsorship. Inside each folder, I included quick facts about poverty, information about Compassion’s financial integrity and its holistic child development model, and a few other pamphlets affirming the new sponsor’s decision to get involved.
One new sponsor told me she was impressed to see how Compassion is committed to serving Christ and serving His children. She mentioned that she keeps the letters from her sponsored child in the welcome-kit folder I had given her.
- Compassion Board
I purchased a world map from Barnes & Noble to create a Compassion board in our church gathering area. I then called Compassion with the names and numbers of the children who are sponsored from our church. Compassion sent us pictures of the children and we posted them on the map near each child’s location.
The Compassion Board encouraged others to be in prayer for the children. We also placed a brochure display in the gathering area should someone wish to start a sponsorship.
- Compassion Sponsors’ Letter-writing Potluck
Any time you can involve food, you can get people to come and fellowship! The idea is to get sponsors together once a quarter for a letter-writing potluck.
In addition to bringing their favorite dishes to share, participants also “potluck” letter-writing supplies. For example, one person brings envelopes and another brings a variety of stationery.
Others bring small items we can include with our letters, such as stickers, paper frames to put pictures in (construction paper cut into the shape of a frame with contact paper around it), paper dolls, small children’s magazines, etc.
The potluck creates a place for everyone to give updates about their children and to encourage one another as we continue our relationships with our sponsored children through Compassion.
- Bible Studies/Book Groups About Compassion
I was doing a Compassion-related Bible study on my own when a friend asked about it. As I described Compassion’s commitment to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, she mentioned that she wasn’t in a place where she could financially support a child sponsorship, but that she would like to do so in the future.
I told her she could pray for children in poverty and that God’s hand would be upon the Compassion ministry. She asked if she could borrow the study after me. We also plan to do one together.
I know that God has pressed it upon the hearts of others to explore ways to keep the Church involved and to encourage existing sponsors while looking for new ones. It would be great to get fresh ideas to use. What are some ideas you can share with us?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Le is a Compassion volunteer and has been a sponsor for two years. She lives in Minnesota, where she teaches first grade.
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Maria…how did I miss this post? It’s great….great ideas. I’ve been wanting to do the poster idea for years, but have not stayed in a church long enough (we’ve moved 4 times in 4 years – 4 different states). I have a friend in MN, who has a “wall of Compassion” at her church. She has been there for many years and has been presenting there for many years. The number of kids the members of that church sponsor is amazing. And they put the pictures up on the “wall of Compassion” – which extends down the hallway. It’s really quite cool.
I have yet to do a presentation in my current church, but I am presenting to the women at our retreat in a couple weeks. I will think about ways i can implement some of these ideas.
i’m a compassion staff in thailand. and it’s very encouraging to read such post like this! 🙂 being here, it’s easier to understand our own challenges than to imagine how a sponsor goes through difficulties, especially financially. so thank you for such honesty on this post. we, staff, are praying for you, sponsors. and we hope that you can pray for us as well. another book i recommend you read or do a bible study on is “when helping hurts” by steve corbett and brian fikkert. have you read it?
Mink, yes I have read the book and since I am also involved in community development building the capacity of poor women this book has been a great resource. Be blessed
maria, i’m a compassion staff in thailand. and let me tell you that this makes me both excited and grateful to hear such passion and committment from sponsors all over the world. 🙂 being here, it’s hard to imagine what a sponsor goes through or is challenged by. all i can say is thank you so much. another book i recommend to read and do a bible study as an individual or a group is “when helping hurts” by steve corbett & brian fikkert. 🙂
I would like to share the perspective of a sponsor from a developing country. I have been a Compassion sponsor since 2008 and this year as a family decided to take on a second child. Our decision to become sponsors was borne out what we could do with $38. We noted this was an amount we could spend so quickly and yet could not account for it profitably. By the the cost of the dollar in Uganda shillings was 54k today that amount has doubled to more than 106k. With 2 sponsored children that is close to 4 times the cost. We have considered giving up one child but each time we see the photos of the two amongst our family photo gallery we pray to God to enable us stick in there. The Ugandan economy is not doing well at all. The current inflation is estimated to be at 30%. We are determined to support our two little girls through this. We have realized our reward in not in earthly this but in eternity. Please be encouraged the Lord knows the world economies are not doing well at all.
Steven this is such a great story and reminder that our reward will be in heaven when our Savior comes again. I can for sure relate to you as I sponsor 3 children myself and have wondered whether I need to re-evaluate my finances if I support all three. At the same time, God has always come through and given me what I needed. God put these children on our hearts for a reason. I pray that God will continue to provide for you and your sponsor children.
Maria this is an excellent blog that shows that you are a true advocate. Keep up the amazing work and fantastic ideas!!
– Elaine (from the Compassion Melbourne office, Australia).
Thanks for this ideas. Talking about children and poverty, I want to share with you a video concerning actions against hunger. I found it on Humania TV website.
Thank you Javier for this resource! It’s great!
Thank you so much for the ideas!!! I love them and will plan on using them within our home and at our Church!
Thanks so much for these excellent ideas! I’ve been an Advocate for 17+ years and there is also another side to this. As the economy gets tough, I find that many sponsors refuse to give up on their sponsorships, and are willing to dig in and spend less on themselves. I also find that as I explain (in church presentations) that although the economy is tough on us, it’s devastating to people in 3rd world countries, an interesting thing happens — many more are eager to sign up as sponsors and current sponsors reaffirm their commitments. I think this is because God is ultimately in control, and has creative ways for people to meet their commitments to children in need, even in spite of hard times. As we look to Him, He will provide funds as well as new sponsors for these children who are desperately in need!
Awesome ideas to keep the spirit alive. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this for sharing with others.
So well done! What a blessing to read. Thank you!
Thank you Christine. Please check out my personal blog as well. It is geared towards sponsors and potential sponsors.
Thanks so much. I have been an Advocate for a few months. So many of you have been so helpful. We have sponsored since 2008, and we love CI. I have thought of the welcome packs too! Have you see the book Far and Away? I love it.
Yes. I actually give the book as a gift to families that sponsor together. It was a great way for children to be involved and get a sense of what it is like in the eyes of a child in another part of the world.