I was invited to go to a Compassion Coalition luncheon by my dear friend, Chip Finn, this past Tuesday. As I was listening to testimonies of lives changed, I was struck that before two years ago, after meeting it’s Executive Director, Grant Standefer, through Leadership Knoxville, I had heard very little about this organization in all of my time in Knoxville.
They are an unassuming crew that is content to be working behind the scenes to live up to their mission to “inform, equip and connect churches to transform lives and communities through the love of Christ.”
Connecting churches? Seems like common sense, right? But I cannot imagine that it has been an easy task. On top of that, they work closely with government agencies to pool all of the best resources and opportunities, not to enable, but to equip people to pull themselves up and get out of poverty.
Compassion Coalition offers a workshop called “Bridges out of Poverty” at area churches that equip volunteers and church staff with training to better understand working with people in need. They have also started a training class called “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by World” that takes individuals through 15 weeks classes that allows adults to reflect on their lives, investigate new information, make plans for the future and build a support team to help them reach their goals. Mentoring and support and the magic sauce that so many fail to invest in. My favorite statement of the day was “People don’t just want your used clothes, they need your time and love too” Compassion Coalition is living this truth every single day.
Currently 216 churches are members of this non-profit, but with more than 700 churches in Knox County there is room for so many more to join. Just think of how much stronger all of our resources would be if they were pooled together to do the very best for each person in need.
I encourage you to go to www.compassioncoalition.org and learn more about them. I encourage you to take this information to your own church leadership and inquire if you are a member and if not, how can you help that become a reality.
THEN, I encourage you to check out their Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Knoxville book. It is the most comprehensive resource of outreach and assistance in Knoxville, Tennessee that has been lovingly put together with years of effort. Its over 400 pages, detail agencies and ministries that serve our community and also includes glimpses of lives that have been disrupted and then restored. Every city should be so lucky to have this book and I consider it a must for my resource shelf. You can order it from their website at compassioncoalition.org
Grant Standefer, the Executive Director was a minister for 24 years before moving over to lead the Compassion Coalition 9 years ago. Why is he still doing it? He longs for Knoxville to be known for its compassion and not its poverty rate.
Compassion and Collaboration now that is BOMBDIGGITY!