World Vision, Tony Campolo, and Child Sponsors


I really didn’t want to write a response to the whole World Vision snafu. There are so many who have commented on the core question, that my voice would not shed any more light on it. However, I can speak to a sidebar issue that has arisen. Tony Campolo commented on it this way:

“What upsets me even more is that, within 24 hours of World Vision USA’s initial decision, there were more than 4,000 cancellations by those who had been sponsoring children in Third World Countries through the auspices of World Vision USA. It is hard for me to understand how being opposed to the hiring policy stated by World Vision USA should lead these fellow Christians to withdraw support from desperately needy children. To make innocent children suffer because of outrage over what the Board of World Vision USA decided does not seem to me to fit with the requisites of Jesus as he outlined in Matthew 18 the way to handle differences between Christian brothers and sisters….”

Two issues concern me about this statement:

1. It implies that sponsored kids will be forced out of World Vision programs because their sponsors quit on them.

At World Vision nobody is saying to 10 year old Jonathan in Kenya, your sponsor quit, sorry, “no food for you”. Sponsorship is a uniquely successful marketing tool that gives the appearance of a one-to-one money transfer… but in reality it does not work that way. The children in the program are taken care of by World Vision whether there is a individual sponsor or not.

2. The statement also assumes that those who canceled their support were desiring to harm children… I do not believe this to be true.

Donating requires that you trust the organization you give to. If World Vision’s decision and reversal has lowered your trust of World Vision then you may need to stop giving and find organizations you do trust.

I give World Vision the benefit of the doubt and believe them when they say they care about the values they were founded upon. They were able to admit their mistake and humbly ask for forgiveness. That is the Biblical way to do it.

If you disagree with World Vision’s reversal then you probably shouldn’t have supported World Vision in the first place, since their core beliefs are probably not within your belief system.

Obviously the initial decision by World Vision was better left on the shelf in the boardroom. It should never have been made in the first place. However, since it was made, many good questions about leadership, corporate decision-making, faith and culture are being talked about and debated.

If you throw the needy children into the mix, then the discussion becomes emotionally charged and not focused on the critical aspects of this situation. Leave the children out of the debates.

I echo how Tony closes his post, “But then, that’s my belief – and I could be wrong.”

About C.H. Dyer

I am the CEO of Bright Hope. I am dedicated to helping those who earn less than $1.00 a day. There are one billion people in my target market (the extreme poor) and I could use some help. I am a Christian, father of three (two are internationally adopted), entrepreneur, speaker, improving writer and amateur photographer.

3 Responses to “World Vision, Tony Campolo, and Child Sponsors”

  1. Thanks for this post. Understanding WV’s model is essential in understanding this issue.

  2. Dennis Shewell Reply April 7, 2014 at 08:56

    I don’t totally agree with you on this CH. I believe the reason Christianity is struggling today is we are seen as haters and raters of sin instead of unconditional lovers like the Lord we worship. We have sponsored a World Vision child since 1975 and will continue (and yes I know how it really works) but I think more big and visible Christian organizations must show we are not better than anyone and “fall short” like everybody else. Not too many years ago a divorced person got the same treatment from the church as gays do today. Now that doesn’t seem to matter even though Jesus said nothing about gays but did about divorce. We must start loving unconditionally and stressing what we are for and not what we are against if we wish to change the world. Love can change people, condemnation rarely does.

    • You’re sponsoring a 39 year old! 🙂 Just a little levity to break the ice. Thanks Denny for sharing your views. God is love and absolutely, love can change people. Appreciate all you do for the kingdom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: