Chairman of Compassion commits to expanding church base

By December 24, 2007

USA (MNN) — And finally, Compassion International is poised and ready to move into 2008. They have a new chairman and a renewed commitment to continue helping children out of poverty both physically and spiritually.

Robert Hawkins Jr. was named chairman a few months ago and spoke openly about where he anticipates Compassion will head in the years ahead.

"There will be changes, but they're not going to be changes that are new. One of the things is that our board is going to become more international in scope. We're really seeking to reflect the areas in which we work and the areas from which we receive funds on our international board so we can more accurately reflect the ministry that we're doing around the world."

Hawkins is the first American African American chairman, which is a reflection of that commitment. Hawkins believes this is a good example to the world for one very good reason. "This to me is just a reflection of heaven; it's reflective of the kingdom. And it's very significant that Compassion is the kind of organization that has been that progressive in their thinking and their approach."

This new diversity won't change their emphasis on local church involvement both at home and abroad. Churches around the world help implement the programs, while churches in the west help fund the work.

According to Hawkins, Compassion has an intentional strategy to engage the local church and denominations to get involved in their work. He believes this new diversity may encourage more churches to get involved in the ministry. "I do have a relationship with the black church, and I'd like to use my influence there to also bring more African American churches into the fray with respect to engaging in this message of hope around the world for children."

Hawkins believes this could be a great partnership. "One of the things about Compassion is that we're uniquely qualified to deliver on the ground in what I believe is the heart of the African American church, and that is helping disadvantaged people. Having a partner like Compassion has not necessarily been something they've been tuned in to."

Compassion is one of the world's largest Christian child-development organizations, working with more than 65 denominations and nearly 4,000 indigenous church partners in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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