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Compassion International @ NQC

November 10, 2011

Doesn’t the involvement with Compassion International validate their music’s message of the Gospel?  In a world where lines are blurred, authenticity lacks depth, and the core of the Christian’s mission often falls short, the declaration to support these methods of evangelism and missions is enhanced through the artists’ affiliations with Compassion Int. and others similar in function.

There is always buzz surrounding the Compassion pitch at NQC.  But mostly complaints.  I’d estimate a total of less than an hour throughout the week is slotted for Compassion.  And about 40 hours are dedicated to NQC mainstage, afternoon showcases notwithstanding. 

So what fans are saying is that they don’t like to hear all the commercial pitches. 


Going back to Abraham, God promised that all other nations would be blessed ‘through’ him, by Abraham blessing them.  That is Lybia, Honduras, Italy, Australia, Niger, Haiti, Turkey, America, and any other nation or people group.  Jesus came through the seed of Abraham, for the Jews, and then directed his mission to the Gentiles.  Yet, it was always God’s mission for believers, whether you interpret the Church as part of Israel, a replacement of Israel, or a joined Israel, for us to ‘bless other people groups’. 

But taking it in the context of as part of Israel, or a branch of Israel, we see that we (Christians) have been ‘adopted’ into the family of God.  The Bible speaks of adoption as God adopting us with the reality that we have nothing good within us, no righteous heritage good enough to earn our way to God, but He plucks us from the depths of our darkness, gives us light, and breathes into us life.  In the New Testament, whenever the idea of ‘clothing’ a person comes into view, it was implied as a form of adoption.  God clothes us with His grace and forgiveness, and exchanges our unrighteousness for His righteousness. 

The Great Commission is not merely a New Testament idea.  It starts in Genesis, and is runs through Revelation.  It’s not just Matthew 28.  (Really wish I could take you through every book of the Bible, but that would take a forever). But I think we’d all agree that it’s for each and every one of us to do.

So in relation to the The Great Commission, Adoption is considered one of the greatest, most selfless, sacrifical acts of love and grace.  Through Christ, we are enabled to become active members in The Great Commission.  And we are now enabled to be selfless, sacrifical, showing love and grace.  When the rich man asked Jesus what he had to give to enter into heaven, Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor.  That’s not a mythical form of symbolism.  Jesus was for real. 

So if you’re not interested in sacrificing some of your money through a great organization like Compassion or others, that’s on you.  But if you can’t be selfless enough to sit and listen to 45 minutes- 1 hour of a “commercial” pitch about kids who may only get the opportunity to receive acts of grace in the form of food, water, education, and access to the Bible from people like you, I would argue the core of what your Christianity is founded on.  Because it’s not founded on the Gospel.  Jesus Christ ain’t in that.  You honor Him with your lips.  Yet your heart…is so far away.  You are one of those “I just came to hear singing” people.  For it’s certainly not the Gospel that drives you into mission.  What you like is “Southern [ blank ] Music” (no, that’s not a curse word…it’s simply empty, maybe like your soul…maybe like mine). 

If you feel guilty, you should.  But your guilt should’nt drive you to support in this micro-form of adoption.  Emotion can’t get filled up on the Holy Spirit.  The Gospel is not a feeling.  Jesus didn’t have his wrists torn through by nails for you to get a feeling.  He did it for you to seal you.  He did so for your own adoption.  Not for your guilty conscience.  But for your repentance. 

When you give to a foundation like Compassion, you’re giving some kid hope, who otherwise had ZERO.  A hope you may have never had, had someone not loved you and shown you grace, and shared Christ with you.  That’s a reality check.  For me too.  How selfish can we be by complaining about the length of Compassion commercials at NQC.  The Gospel drives this entire ship. 

If you can spend the $ to get to Louisville, the $ to stay in Louisville, and the $150 or more some spend on new CD’s and merchandise, and fail to help some 5 year old girl drink clean water and learn about Jesus Christ, you are losing.  You may have life, but you may need to be re-captivated by abundant life. 

Can’t support a child monthly? Give a 1 time donation.  I’m not saying give all of your money to Compassion.  But if we were all a little more serious about this Great Commission, we wouldn’t be complaining about it at a National Quartet Convention when great men are singing about that very commission and Charles Stanley and David Jeremiah are expounding upon it in some fashion. 

I don’t care what kind of percentage groups get from supporting it.  It’s business.  It’s ministry.  We talk about it all the time, blah blah blah.  They do it and most of them are serious about it because they’ve taken the trips. 

Feel free to comment about your feelings, but if I heard you complain about a sales pitch in person to my face regarding Compassion, I guarantee that you would make me lose hope in your soul.  In fact, I would share with you the life giving grace of Jesus Christ, assuming you were lost.  If emphatic about your salvation, I would scold you gently, and hopefully, with grace.  To your face. 

Name the last person that got saved at a Quartet Convention, and went on to baptism, joining a Church, still active, and growing spiritually, tithing MORE than 10%, and now is in some form of Church leadership. 

There may be some, but by giving to Compassion, you are without a doubt “blessing other nations” in the name of Jesus Christ.  I love the NQC.  Lift Him up at NQC while The Perrys are raising the roof.  And lift Him up by giving to Gospel centered work.  Or at least, shut up…and keep pretending that Christ OWNS you. 

That was not a rant.  That is because I love you.  That is because as Christians, we are called to go further.  Count the hours.  40+ hours of music is worth 1 hour to me, if it led a kid to Christ. 

 “Fill their stomachs with food first, and they’ll listen to this Christ you intend to share…Don’t feed them?  They won’t hear about your Christ”.   –  Missionary friend

  1. Many Christians give sacrificially and are willing to give over and above the tithe for mission efforts. When they go to a concert and buy a ticket, they don’t want to be hit with yet another pitch for giving.

    I’m completely with you on call of the Great Commission, but you’re questioning a person’s Christianity if they don’t want to hear about this particular cause in this particular context.

    I give through my church. We support organizations locally, regionally, and around the world. One of those organizations is called World Hunger. Unlike Compassion International, 100% of donations to World Hunger are used for the purpose given. So, I much prefer that donations go to World Hunger rather than Compassion.

    When I’ve spent the money like you mentioned to attend NQC, I don’t want to sit through an extended pitch for money. Of course, I don’t begrudge them if they take two or three minutes to ask people to go by the Compassion booth, but sometimes they tend to go on and on. No one is less of a Christian if they express a bit of frustration over NQC’s choices and decisions on this issue.

    • Amen DBM. Glad you don’t grumble. I wouldn’t expect you too. And you DO give because you believe in the Great Commission, and you believe in the power of the Gospel and it’s certainly worth hearing about for a few minutes a night.

      But there are those who go out of their way to get upset about it. I’ve seen it and heard it. And yes, I do question a person’s Christianity. Not judgmentally. But there are some, who show no fruit and it’s on full display when they get irritated by Compassion pitches. Self-righteousness is a hard standard.

      • World Hunger is a good orgnization by the way. And anyone who reads this blog, click the link DBM applied.

    • i agree about compassion ,it actually puts a damper on the concert ,also ,I am involved with haiti orphanage ,and 8 missions USA AND ABROAD ,I COME FOR SINGING,.AND SAD TO SAY MON NIGHT WAS GREAT QUARTET NIGHT 2 THIS YEAR CAME FOR 18 YEARS .came saturday changed awards night on me switched to friday ..wife likes southern gospel quartets,,get them from booths in hall ,better quartets then many individuals ,etc.,whoever is making choices is ruining it for me ,and my wife .great dissapointment .then they make wed.all quartet night 14 leave mer less on friday ,and monday so time to change cant depend on great quartet nights on mon,and fri ,though fri ,is good 9 groups i like mon. just need quartets for me where whisnants,browns,rick webb are i would be good
      they sing good just like more quartets,or strong sound ,booth brothers great ,and others not mentioned..God willing ,and I could come back next year , I WOULD EXPECT things to change again ,and be worse.took my money ,I depended on better line up monday ,just like i had depended on saturday .I HAVE TOLD PEOPLE its not like it used to be you cant depend on getting to see lots of quartets ,.very sad. for the record any i didnt mention replace mon. im ok ,or great with .tallys, h oppers etc great

  2. tix3 permalink

    I guess it depends where you want to give your money. I prefer not to listen to the sales pitch of an organization whose president makes $273,000 per year, but that’s just me.

    • those convictions are completely understandable. I was careful to say organizations that “resembled” Compassion. There are others. But you could make the same argument regarding what the Pastor at 1st Baptist Dallas or Atlanta might make (though, I have no specific numbers).

    • DisneyGator permalink

      Compassion International currently holds a rating of four stars (out of four) from Charity Navigator, a grade of “A” from the American Institute of Philanthropy, and met the “20 Standards for Charity Accountability” from the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

      Now, you tell me, tix3 – where in this world can you find a company that has an annual budget of nearly $400 million and the CEO makes under $300K. You can’t tell me where, because it doesn’t exist. My company of nursing homes has a revenue of under $500 million/annually, and the CEO brings home over $1million/year. Do the math. Wess Stanford makes a horribly small wage for the company he runs. Sure, they could lower the wage – but then they would probably lose Stanford and would never find a person with his talents to run such a large organization.

      • tix3 permalink

        I can see your point there…but this is supposed to be about Christ, not a “company.” I’m not the judge of anyone–only God is–but to my way of thinking, if the only reason Mr. Stafford presides over Compassion is the big yearly salary, his priorities probably aren’t where they should be.

        Maybe I’m off in left field somewhere. It just seems wrong to use donors’ money to pay salaries like those, that’s all.

    • i am ok with 273,000 sometimes great directors cost ,and its necessary

  3. DisneyGator permalink

    Yeah, I was getting mad at the NQC message board. People ripping the one of the best ways to get the Gospel of Christ out of their home. Truth is, most people wouldn’t dare mention Christ to anyone, and don’t even guilt them into spending money to share Christ with children of the world. Reminds me of a song by one of my fav Christian Rock groups, Guardian – called “Hell to Pay”. Basically says, what you’ve done to these you’ve done to me.

    Also, Rebecca St James also released a song called Beautiful Stranger, that talks about how these “strange” looking people still need our help. This song will chill you to the bone if you really have a heart for the lost. If you’re not chilled….

    Reach beyond your world to the beautiful stranger. I reached 10 years ago to a girl in India and I’ll never regret it. I’ll never see her until heaven, but rest assured, she’ll be there because I reached out to her.

    • I never knew that’s what the song was about. How neat. I’m not a big fan of St. James stylistically, but she’s a godly lady.

    • here we go ,first my wife and i are both involved in missionary work,here ,and abroad ,FINANCIALLY ETC,witnessing do it frequently sometimes 2 to 5 times a day ,to change the quartet convention to family convention ,then hold people as a captive audience for compassion is wrong .2 or 3 minutes OK,.to here that 6 days ,every year 15 minutes / noT OK ,and how about cutting things to 5 minutes,and some nights do it for orphans in USA ,YOU THINK?

  4. I appreciate organizations like Compassion who handle their money responsibly. I don’t believe in making people feel guilty for not forking over cash to every charity that comes along and asks, however. For that matter, I wouldn’t even guilt-trip someone for not giving to Compassion—everyone’s in a different situation.

  5. quartet-man permalink

    I have mixed feelings about this. Now, let me say that I haven’t been to NQC, so I don’t know how much they do there. I agree with David in that tickets that are bought are not bought so that someone can hear a big, long commercial. Also, there may be several who already contribute to there or similar places and yet have to hear it again and again. It seems to have been handled pretty responsibly in the concerts I have been to. Mention it, the work they do so people are aware, and go on. It can be done much the same way they do their product pitches.

    I probably mentioned this elsewhere, but as a former employee and on the other side as a customer I hate having to make / hear pleas to every customer to contribute to this worthy cause or that worthy cause. As an employee, I hated having to bug every customer with it (let alone having to say it every time and it actually at times slowing down customer service) and as a customer who came in to buy something I shouldn’t have to be exposed to someone trying to guilt me into contributing. I choose what charities to give to and even if they have worthy things too, I can’t contribute to all. My thoughts are the companies often do this to feel good about themselves and for bragging rights (i.e. “Look at us we raised X amount of dollars for X charities, aren’t we just great?”) It seems to me that if the company wanted to help the charities they should contribute their own money instead of trying to strong arm their customers (who in essence are doing them a service in shopping at their establishment over others). Now, I don’t mind cans on counters or things like that, I am referring to the pleas when you are paying them. I guess they bug me less than they used to, but I still feel those shouldn’t be done in that fashion.

    So, I am talking more general terms in the NQC thing. A mention from stage about it would be fine so that people know they have the option and how to go about doing it if they want, but I think they need to be respectful of the people’s time because they are “customers”. Even in the store / restaurant type situations I mentioned above they don’t make you watch an hour video before they give you your merchandise or food. 😀 Perhaps a better way to deal with that is to do a few minute pitch and then offer a video somewhere else for someone who wants more info (or a link to it online or something). Otherwise, it seems they are forcing it on people and giving them something they didn’t pay for or ask for. I might even want to see what they are doing (at least once) myself, but I just don’t think they should dump it on people who aren’t interested, might be on their one night to do something fun as a family, who might need to be somewhere else etc. I don’t think that makes me uncaring or a heathen though. Generally people are going to give, already do, or won’t and their watching the video probably isn’t going to change that much.

    • THANK you well put ,about giving? i know many dont ,I seen maybe a 25 minute or longer pitch on compassion ,at a concert in kettering ,ohio the last half of the show may be 90 MINUTES HAD 45 MINUTES OR LONGER TALKINGwith compassion,Legacy five,and Greater vision ,though Gerald wolf was having to get an operation,.
      many times people can become obsessed,ocd[obseesive compulsive disorder]or just plain overly inthusiastic,and infringe on others rights .what let all things be done decently and in order .futtha more ,lets push some nights for USA orphanages ,instead of compassion .,can we say yes
      compassion is a great organization ,however for many who prefer more to help at home ,nights of 5 minute plea should be split up and pleas made for usa orphanages ,and places like Pacific garden mission [unshackled ]program ,please thanks

  6. quartet-man permalink

    Oh, I just thought of something else…imagine being invited to dinner at friends house, getting a babysitter, dressing up etc, getting there and then they give you an hour product pitch for tupperware or something. 😀 It isn’t what you signed up for, let’s say they are going to use the money either to send their kid to college or are going to donate the proceeds to a charity. Even if the end result is worthy, you probably aren’t going to be real happy. 😀

  7. quartet-man permalink

    Tix3, do you (or did you) get paid at a job? Did you believe in the product or service? Did you still expect to get paid? Face it, be we ministers, music directors (like myself), CEOs of charities or whatever, you are going to have bills that need paid. Saying “I do these things and accept no money” isn’t going to get them to forget your bills. You don’t know why the CEO is doing that. Perhaps he could make a lot more money doing something else, but chooses to use his talents there (at a financial loss to himself) because he wants to contribute to the cause. Sure, ideally someone could do it for love and wanting to make a difference, but unless they have lots of money and time, it isn’t really feasible. With that said, I don’t begrudge someone for wanting to contribute somewhere where more of the money ends up in the cause. Even then though, usually the people overseeing them gets money from somewhere. It could be from the church itself and they do it as an outreach or whatever.

    I do also want to say that even if someone is forced to sit through a long spiel, but a life is changed that wouldn’t have been changed elsewhere (say that person wouldn’t have given unless it had been done then and the length involved) then even if that person doesn’t like it or signed up for it, it would be worth it to see that life changed.

    • tix3 permalink

      yeah, I didn’t communicate that quite as clearly as I should have. I’m not saying he should do the job for free. All I’m saying is that the average middle-class person like me generally has no hope of ever making that kind of money, and it seems a bit hypocritical for his organization to ask for money from ME. I’d rather give to an organization whose top guns get paid $50 or $70k.

      • quartet-man permalink

        I understand that tix3, but different people have different skills and make different amounts of money. I do understand though how it would feel to be asked for money when the person asking makes more than you do, however the money doesn’t go toward them (although I suppose indirectly some of it does towards their wages.) But, I tend to feel the same way in wanting the contributions to go more towards the program than paying the people who oversee the program (even though they may well deserve and earn the pay).

      • DisneyGator permalink

        With companies like Compassion and World Vision, 82+cents on the dollar go directly to the child. The rest goes to infastructure – like the people getting the services to the children, people processing the money that comes in. Do you know how little $300K is in the CEO business world? Peanuts, man.

    • worth a life absolutely ,next time you go order a steak say medium well ,you should get a veggie burger ,healthier ,but not what you asked for ,nor wanted .their is times to change lives,and times as with Christ and his ministry he rested .let people enjoy their music ,and give it a rest.a 5 minute speal then done

  8. SGGranny permalink

    The groups get paid to promote ministries like World Vision and Compassion International. I think that is one of the causes of the grumbling. Just because you are getting paid to sell something, that doesn’t mean I want to buy it. I have supported World Vision for many years, so I don’t need to watch endless commercials for Compassion. There are more sides to this issue than you are presenting, so don’t judge our motives.

    • Rightly so. Agreed there are other issues. But if you support World Vision, then I would expect you to be sold out on others getting the opportunity to hear about a chance to help someone.

      But I will continue to judge motives until the comments I hear begin to cease.

      • quartet-man permalink

        I am not sure it’s right to judge motives. I am sure there are those who complain who simply don’t want to be bothered with ANY charity or challenges. They might just want to live selfish, self-absorbed lives without helping others. However, I am not sure how to tell which are that way and which have reasons like we’ve mentioned. I mean I haven’t even heard the pitches and am simply talking in general terms. It depends on other factors as far as how much of a hard sell and their motivation to some degree. So, the spiels don’t so much offend me as I haven’t been subjected to any. 😀 I just can understand how it isn’t cut and dried though. In the end, I guess if it causes more people to be involved, then that is reason to be happy. I love the way some artists I have heard handled it in that they talked it up and mentioned having it at the table, but didn’t feel the urge to preach an hour sermon on it. 😉

        I would think that as there are complaints over the CEOs making money, that knowing that artists got paid to promote it would be looked down as equally or worse. Sure ministries can use money to stay afloat and I can see how that might make SOME difference, but I would think that believing in the charity would be enough reason to promote it. I would likely not accept money to promote it, and put that towards feeding more kids, myself I think. That is why something like World Vision (I think) is better because the artists do it to make a difference. I don’t believe they pay artists, the artists believe in it and “sell it”. Nonetheless, I guess I can understand how paying ministries could be win win in that if they were going to HAVE to spend promotion money elsewhere to get the word out, by letting the artists be the “promoters” and get paid would help and might not cost Compassion any more and end up keeping the money in “the ministry” so to speak. So, I have mixed feelings on that too.

  9. Gladd Tupperware permalink

    You’re right. Most southern gospel fans completely overlook outreach ministries in which they have to help folk who need it. And a portion of the same ones also won’t go to see a group like The Whisnants or Legacy Five if there’s a ticket price.

  10. never2ice permalink

    World Vision does pay the artists (I was formerly involved in a group that promoted World Vision). However, the amount is very small (at least for indie artists). At the time, the group got $100 for every 5 or 6 successful sponsorships (I cannot remember the exact number of sponsorships, and this was 8 or 9 years ago). I would imagine the other organizations do something very similar. That is a small amount of money for a traveling group, but it provides some motivation and gratitude for your efforts. More importantly, it is a small investment for World Vision that allows for more revenue to accomplish it’s primary mission. I don’t really understand why so many people get upset by someone getting paid more than what they consider “normal.” If you happen to work in an office and make say 40K, would you just take $25K, start buying all of your clothes from Goodwill, but perform the same at your job? If you want an organization to be run well, you must pay for the appropriate skill level to achieve that outcome. If you paid someone 60K to run an organization the size of World Vision, imagine the outcome. It’s just not possible to find a person with the skills to run an organization of that size for that amount of money. Put it another way…if you are currently making 60K at your job, I guarantee that you do not have the knowledge necessary to run such an organization. That’s not to say you cannot get there, but you are not there yet. That 82 cents on the dollar ratio would not last very long after such a move.

  11. salary for a man overseeing 400 million 273,000 ceo ,never made a 4th of that .still ,a good man at the helm .doing a good job .great .I know of people making much bigger money ,and doing lousy jobs .

  12. when I got to a concert for a night a 5 minute speal is enough ,ALLREADY.i have came to hear mostly quartets,great trios ,and great family singers ,including some i just love their spirit .as for me I have went to NQC MAYBE 15 YEARS .NEED MORE QUARTETS.
    I go two or three nights , generally each year .self righteous people you can turn off to the convention ,and they wont come back .Those who care have came to enjoy singing ,forcing commercials on them ,add to that less quartets ,they will cut down their attendance.or not come at all ,if, if to annoyed . many wont complain they will just cut attendance ,or not come at all
    we never payed for this ,nor asked for it years ago ,why should we have to endure it now .we pay to hear singing ,not commercials .no matter how great the cause they serve ,let all things be done decently and in order .[seems I heard that somewhere before ]
    As for me Jesus is my savior,and I am involved financially 4 mission fields outside this country ,4 in this country ,and not rich ,still owe on property etc. not boasting ,you dont know what I give.
    God Bless

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  1. My Hope For A 1 Hour Compassion International Presentation @ NQC 2012 « Friday Night Revival
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