At a time when so much of our world seems out of control, compassion remains a choice everyone still owns. Not the programmatic expression of the word compassion; the heart-sized, personal version. The type anyone can do. Or any group — even a church.
When a principal learned that a nearby congregation planned a vote on whether to start a mentoring program, he agreed to visit and share his thoughts. He knew that at-risk students in his elementary school had a common need outside his ability to provide: someone to make them feel noticed, valued, even loved by a grown-up. With constant budget cuts and staff reductions, fewer adults worked in his building every year. So the opportunity for an organized group of volunteers to meet with kids was, literally, a no-brainer to him.
However, the church had concerns about their ability to launch any new programs. They, too, had budget constraints to live within. They, too, had fewer adults — or that’s how it looked on weekends. Significant risk existed about this program launching, so the principal decided to accept the pastor’s invitation to show up at church on Sunday morning before the vote.
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David Staal serves as a consultant to the nonprofit sector following 11 years as President & CEO of a national organization (Kids Hope USA), 10 years in church staff leadership (Willow Creek Community Church), and a 13-year marketing career (Abbott Laboratories). A senior editor for Christianity Today International for 12 years, he also authored these books: