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Newsboys, MercyMe Partner with Secular Child Sponsorship Groups

Both Christian bands promote Children International on their tours.

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MercyMe and Newsboys, two popular and well-known Christian music bands, have partnered with the child sponsorship group Children International as part of their band tours.

Photos via social media

“We are grateful that MercyMe supports our mission to invest in the lives of children and youth, build the healthy environments they need to thrive, and empower them to create lasting change in their own lives and communities,” the Children International website reads.

A similar statement is made about the non-profit group’s partnership with the Newsboys.

“Putting our faith into action is a mindset that the Newsboys strive to live by every single day. By partnering with Children International, it provides a perfect opportunity to give love and a better life to a precious child each and every day,” Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait said on the Children International website.

Christian bands partnering with child sponsorship or other mercy ministries is a common practice. Compassion International has been partnering with Christian musical artists to connect needy children with Christian benefactors since the 1970s when it worked with The Imperials.

It currently works with over 100 bands “who are passionate about our mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name,” including For King & Country, Casting Crowns, Phil Wickham, and Jeremy Camp, Compassion spokesperson Tim Glenn told MinistryWatch.

Compassion International is a distinctly Christian ministry whose mission is “Christ-centered, church-driven, and child-focused.” Its partnerships with Christian musical artists has led to the sponsorship of over 400,000 children, Glenn noted.

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The mission statement of Children International “to create a world without poverty where every child, family and community is connected, productive and thriving” makes no mention of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, or church.

No statement of faith could be found on Children International’s website nor is it a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. It is, however, a top-rated charity with Great Nonprofits and Candid.

According to its history, Children International started as a faith-based group Holy Land Christian Mission in 1936 to provide food to women, children, and families in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

In the 1970s, under the leadership of Joseph Gripkey, the group began a “a gradual shift to non-religious-based programs.” It changed its name to Children International in 1989.

The Chalmers Center for Economic Development acknowledges that secular groups can do good work in the world, such as feeding the hungry and caring for the sick.

“However, for Christians seeking to fund ministry work, we would encourage them to look wherever possible for opportunities to fund organizations that hold forth the love and worship of Christ in the midst of the good physical work they do,” Justin Lonas, director of foundational projects and regional partnerships at the Chalmers Center, told MinistryWatch.

“If two organizations, side by side, do the exact same work in the exact same way…but one embeds the truth of Christ and God’s story of redemption in all their work, and one doesn’t, we’d recommend that Christians fund the organization that is more fully holistic by keeping the gospel connect to all the work of restoration,” he added.

If Christian musical artists want to partner with an organization that helps needy children other than Compassion International, there are other Christian, faith-based options to choose from.

World Vision is a Christian ministry with a child sponsorship program that also works with Christian musical artists such as Big Daddy Weave to bring awareness and donors to its program.

The Children’s Hunger Fund has been the winner of MinistryWatch’s Shining Light Award multiple times. Feed the Children has been working to reduce child hunger for 40 years.

In the MinistryWatch database, Compassion International earns an “A” transparency grade, a three-star financial efficiency rating, and a donor confidence score of 91, meaning donors can give with confidence.

MinistryWatch did not receive a reply from Children International after multiple attempts.

Neither band could be reached for comment about why they chose to partner with Children International rather than a faith-based group.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a freelance writer who holds a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University. She has home schooled her three children and is happily married to her husband of 25 years.