Through partnership with Compassion International, the people of Mars Hill Church and Mars Hill Global have altered the course of the lives of more than 1,000 children in Ethiopia. Nathan Hawkins, Church Relations Regional Director for Compassion, prepared this post for the Mars Hill blog.
Compassion International is thrilled to congratulate and thank Mars Hill Church for an awesome beginning to a powerful partnership serving children and churches in Ethiopia. Mars Hill’s focus on and belief in the local church sharing the gospel aligns strongly with Compassion’s distinctive of being church based. To date, over 1,000 Ethiopian children have been sponsored by Mars Hill Church! Each of these children is being cared for by a local church and will hear about Jesus. Compassion’s ministry is committed to Christ, child focused, church based, and committed to integrity. When someone chooses to sponsor a child through Compassion in partnership with Mars Hill, whether at their local church or online, Compassion International manages the corresponding funds directly and exclusively; Mars Hill does not handle any Compassion child sponsorship funds nor receive any percentage of them. All Compassion International child sponsorship funds are sent directly via sponsors to Compassion’s main office in Colorado Springs. From there, Compassion directs funding to our local church partners in the developing world where the sponsored children receive the benefit.
Jesus Christ is at the heart of Compassion’s ministry. This corporate commitment drives the content of our programs, characterizes the kind of people we hire, and guides our ethics.
We believe we must do more than simply meet the physical needs of the poor. Poverty sends a defeating, painful message into the heart of a child, a message that says, “You don’t matter.” Introducing children to their loving, heavenly Father is the most powerful way of reversing this message. Every child who participates in a Compassion program is given the opportunity to learn about Jesus and discover how to develop a lifelong relationship with God. This good news is modeled and shared in age-appropriate and culturally relevant ways—never through coercion. The Great Commission is at the core of our mission and discipleship is at the core of our program.
Compassion’s ministry is focused on the individual child and his or her development. By working holistically with individual children to address their spiritual, economic, social, and physical needs, we present every child with an opportunity to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults. Although entire communities may feel the positive impact of Compassion’s presence, our goal is to release children one by one from poverty in Jesus’ name. What happens in the life of a child ripples throughout their environment now and into the future. We believe that changed environments may assist children; we have seen that transformed children will inevitably change their environments.
The Church is God’s chosen instrument to bring hope to a hurting world and to deliver justice to the poor and oppressed. That’s why Compassion works exclusively in partnership with local churches in developing nations to deliver a holistic child development program. Only the local church is uniquely qualified to understand the real needs of her community and reach the children in poverty who need her care. The local church creates an environment of unparalleled stability, enabling children the opportunity to experience God’s love and acceptance.
With much hope and gratitude,
Nathan “Chivo” Hawkins
Our campaign to sponsor children in Ethiopia through Compassion will continue through the end of the James: Jesus’ Bold Little Brother sermon series. If you’d like to be a part of changing the heart of Ethiopia, speak to the Compassion representative at any Mars Hill Church or click here.