The Good News About Global Poverty

The Good News About Global Poverty

What Americans Believe About the World’s Poor–and What Churches Can Do to Help


Dear pastor,

Compassion International commissioned this research project with the Barna Group to provide you with a tool that reveals the U.S. Church’s views toward global poverty. We are excited to place this resource in your hands and pray it will be valuable in your efforts to develop disciples who deeply engage in caring for the poor.

At Compassion, we are enthusiasts for and servants to the local church. Throughout our 65 years of ministry, we have frequently witnessed firsthand how the Church brings hope and life in Jesus’ name to the “least of these.” We believe that Jesus and his Church are and always will be God’s “Plan A” to reveal his love to a world that desperately needs it.

Jesus and his teachings are at the very heart of our ministry—our mission statement is simply “Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.” It is his example of considering the poor and oppressed that compels us forward. The Greek word splagchnizomai was used to refer to Jesus’ compassion. It describes more than just an emotion; it also depicts action, a deep stirring in your core that moves you to do something because you can’t sit idly by while the innocent suffer.

This action-based understanding of Jesus’ compassion is what fuels our desire to release children from poverty in his name. Recent research has shown that there are 385 million children living in extreme poverty, as defined as living on less than a $1.90 a day.1 But even that staggering proportion is nothing compared to the number of Jesus followers in the world today. It’s powerful to think that their generosity alone could alleviate the suffering of every child currently being ravaged by extreme poverty.

While the magnitude of millions of children living in poverty can easily feel overwhelming, the truth is that each one is a precious individual in the eyes of Jesus. That’s why, following Jesus’ mandate to disciple individuals, Compassion has chosen holistic discipleship as our model for life transformation with each child entrusted to us. In partnership with local churches, both in the U.S. and around the world, children in our program receive spiritual, economic, social and physical care to help them transcend what is often a multi-generational cycle of poverty.

Having personally served churches for over 25 years in my ministry calling, I have loved seeing the potential of pastors like you to bring change in this world. As you will see in the research contained in The Good News About Global Poverty, yours is the most significant voice that can inspire the Church to be a powerful force in eradicating poverty. I pray you will be moved with compassion and inspired to even greater action as you review the findings, infographics and interviews in the following pages.

May God bless this resource to support you and your church well as you care for the global poor in Jesus’ name. Thank you for allowing us to journey with you in this precious cause.
In Christ,

Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado
President and CEO Compassion International



Barna Group has conducted multiple studies in partnership with Compassion International for more than 25 years, and much of that historic data is represented comparatively throughout this report. This particular study included two online quantitative surveys conducted in May 2017, one among 1,001 U .S . adults and another among 609 U.S. Protestant senior pastors. For full details about this and other studies covered in this report, please refer to the Methodology in the Appendix.

View Online

Watch an exclusive conversation between Jimmy Mellado, CEO of Compassion International, and David Kinnaman, President of Barna, as they discuss some of the recent findings from our research partnership and how churches and individuals are joining together to help end global poverty.

Watch a video from Barna Studios about perspectives of global poverty and the hope for eradicating it in this generation.

To view videos and gain additional insights on this research, please visit www.barna.com/goodnewsaboutglobalpoverty
Watch a video from Barna Studios about perspectives of global poverty and the hope for eradicating it in this generation.

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