Oct 30, 2019
Wherever you are, you have
an opportunity to serve. My “life verse” is
1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you
should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as
faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” When
we meet the calling on our life right where we are, powerful and
life-changing waves are set in motion. My guest on the Business
with Purpose Podcast today is Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, and I can’t
wait for you to hear how the waves of his experiences growing up in
seven different countries and being an Olympic athlete lead to
fulfilling a calling to serve the church and become the President
and CEO of Compassion International.
International is one of the oldest, largest, and most
reputable Christian Humanitarian Aid Child Sponsorship
organizations in the world.
Their mission is dedicated to the
long-term development of children living in poverty. If
you’ve ever considered sponsoring a child through Compassion
International, today is your day! Jimmy and I will talk
more about sponsorship during the show, but you can
also go to compassioninternational.com/molly for more
5:26 - The Jimmy 101
- Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado was born
in El Salvador and grew up in seven different countries due to his
Jimmy's father’s career in development building roads, powerhouses,
and dams in developing countries. The faith of his parent’s created
stability while they moved around different parts of the
- Jimmy’s mother grew up in Mexico
and her parents were migrant farmers. Jimmy’s mom didn’t realize
she was poor because she grew up with joy and dignity, as well as a
heart for the poor.
- Jimmy’s father joined the US army
at 18-years-old and served in the Korean War for three years. After
Jimmy’s parents got married, his family traveled around the world
for his father’s various engineering jobs.
- Both of Jimmy’s parents served the
poor in their roles, whether with his father’s engineering projects
bringing electricity to people who’d never had it before, or his
mother educating her children to care for the less
- Jimmy’s travel and love of
athletics grew into a fascination with the Olympic games and their
power to bring people and nations together. He went to college in
the US and competed in several colligate sports, but he dreamed of
competing in the Olympics. In 1987 he received a letter from his
birth country of El Salvador asking if he would compete for them in
the Pan American games.
- The next year, Jimmy went on to
train for the Olympics during a civil war and ended up competing in
in the 1988 Olympics as the only male track and field competitor
from El Salvador.
15:14 – You Can Call Me
- Before Jimmy left El Salvador to
come back to the United States, the President of the El Salvador
Olympic committee told him that most of their athletes leave for
the US or Europe and never come back.
- For a few decades, Jimmy was more
focused on being successful in the US and forgot about the world he
came from for a long time.
- During a church meeting, his
pastor reminded the staff of the lack of diversity in leadership
and in their congregation. Jimmy spoke up about his heritage, but
his colleagues associated him with being an American rather than
his Hispanic heritage. It forced Jimmy to ask why he was running
away from his identity, heritage, and culture.
- Jimmy helped start Spanish
services at that same church, which kickstarted his journey toward
leading at Compassion International.
22:48 - Revival in a country,
Redemption in a calling
- Compassion had its start in Soul,
Korea, where Jimmy competed in the 1988 Olympics. The country
experienced a huge revival right after the end of the Korean
- Jimmy was invited to a church to
be prayed over before his competitions, and he heard the stories of
revival. He wanted to be a part of a movement like it to start
serving the church.
- After Jimmy finished business
school in the US, he made a career out of serving local churches
but mostly worked in the well-resourced world. It wasn’t until many
years later that he felt the call to serve churches in areas of
- When the baton was literally
passed to Jimmy in a ceremony to become the new leader of
Compassion International, his mom couldn’t get any words out, so
she simply hugged her son and told him in Spanish, “We’ll talk
- Jimmy’s mother’s experience of
coming from poverty was fully redeemed in seeing her son coming
back to serve the developing world.
29:03 – The Roots of Compassion
- The revival in Korea started in
the North. As the Korean War began, many believers fled the North
and went South. When the country was split into North and South
Korea, South Korea was ravished by the war with poverty, orphans,
and no economy.
- Various countries came together to
help South Korea get back on its feet. An evangelist named Everett
Swanson went to preach to the troops in South Korea.
- Swanson noticed how many orphans
there were, and so many of them were freezing to death in the rough
winter without any resources. When he went back home, he had a
vision to help the orphans of the war.
- In 1952, a man in Swanson’s church
signed a $2,000 check, praying for God to show him who he should
give it to. When he heard what Swanson was doing, he donated it to
the efforts to help war orphans. That was the start of Compassion
37:15 - Releasing Children from
- Jimmy became the CEO of Compassion
International in 2012. He’d been friends with the former president,
Wes for many years before Jimmy’s evolvement.
- Wes let Jimmy know that he felt
God might be calling Jimmy to succeed him, but Jimmy thought the
job should go to someone with more experience, but Wes reassured
him they were looking for someone who was already serving the
- Serving the church in the
well-resourced world prepared Jimmy for serving the world he grew
up in. He didn’t have to abandon his calling; he just moved his
calling to a different part of the world.
- Compassion is now in 25 countries
around the world. They partner with local churches to help local
people. This helps eliminate the “white savior” mentality that can
come from Western influence.
- In the 7,500 churches in the
program, 100,000 workers, (about 15 per church) serve
250-300 kids per project. These are the people living in the
communities who know what the community needs. The children are
served holistically in their physical needs, cognitive,
socio-emotional and spiritual development.
- As children move through the
program, they also have opportunities in higher education, and
vocational, entrepreneurship, and ministry training. Many children
go on to become leaders in the communities they grew up in and now
sponsor children through Compassion.
51:13 - How
to Start Sponsoring A Child with Compassion International
- Go to compassion.com/molly
- Look for Molly's face
☺ and the button that says
“Sponsor A Child” with my quote below it.
- From there, you can search by
country, age, birthday, and children who have been waiting the
longest for a sponsor.
- Fill out your information
(it’s a 100% tax deductible donation).
- You’re now coming alongside a
child to be a part of their transformation
I would love to see my
listeners come together to become Compassion sponsors so that more
children are released from poverty in Jesus’ name. I KNOW we can do
Story of Two Lines
- It took 56 years to reach the
first million children.
- Then it took 11 years to reach the
2 millionth child served.
- There has been huge growth in the
last 11 years but compared to the number of children living in
poverty today, the number is one billion children.
- This means Compassion is still
only serving 0.2% of the need.
- There’s such need out there for
children’s lives to be transformed, even in our modern world. With
Compassion they can be transformed right within their own
- One billion may seem like a lot,
but as far as we know there are about 600 million people following
Jesus who truly want to respond to the call to end poverty. Within
the church, we have the capacity to serve the one billion in need,
but we all have to play our part.
- By connecting children in the
well-resourced world with children in the under-resourced world
(especially when they share the same name) we not only fight
poverty, but the effects of plenty too.
- There are so many tools now to
connect with your sponsor child through letter writing, the
Compassion app, and even trips to visit your sponsor child. You can
change a child’s life on less than $40.00 a month. It’s a drop in
the bucket for most of us.
1:01:06 - Be sure to listen to what
it means to Jimmy to run a business with purpose!
Memorable Quotes from this
19:05: “Having grown up in the
developing world, lived more as an adult in the developed world and
serving the well-resourced church, I think God has brought me here
to be a bridge between the under-resourced world and the
well-resourced world. That’s at the center
of my call now. To link those two worlds better so we can heal each
other on both sides.”
22:23 “God totally took that
disappointment and wrapped my calling around it and then he took my
failure athletically of getting inured over and over again and said
“No I don’t want you to compete for the US, I want to bring you
home and compete for the country of your birth.”
22:52 “In 1988 when I competed in
the Olympic games in Soul, South Korea, I went for an athletic
experience and I came home with a calling to serve the
ABOUT Santiago “Jimmy”
Mellado, Compassion International President and
President and Chief Executive Officer Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado has
a deep love and passion for the beauty and potential of local
churches fulfilling their Jesus-given mandate to redeem and restore
this world for His name’s sake. Born in El Salvador and raised in
seven different countries, Jimmy has experienced firsthand the
powerful impact thriving local churches can have on their
communities, especially in under-resourced environments.
Compassion’s church-based approach to delivering a holistic child
development program resonates with Jimmy at a deep
Prior to joining Compassion in
June of 2013, Jimmy was president of the Willow Creek Association
(WCA) — a global ministry completely dedicated to helping local
churches thrive. During his 20-year tenure leading the WCA,
worldwide ministry income grew from $2 million to more than $20
million and membership grew from 860 churches to over 7,000
Beginning in 1995, Jimmy was
instrumental in launching and hosting The Global Leadership Summit.
The Summit is an annual not-for-profit event created to address the
dire need for excellent leadership training in local churches and
other people-centered organizations around the world. One of its
highest values has been an insatiable desire to learn from many of
the world’s top leaders and most gifted communicators. The Summit
shares leadership insights from a variety of voices and disciplines
— from corporate CEOs, heads of state, leaders in academia, leaders
within the church, and leaders from the not-for-profit sector. By
the time Jimmy completed his last Summit in 2013, the event spanned
100 countries and reached an audience of 170,000 attendees with
this valuable training.
Jimmy’s educational background
includes graduating cum laude with a mechanical engineering degree
from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, and a
Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business
He is also an accomplished
athlete. In college, Jimmy was a member of the 1983 NCAA Division I
Indoor & Outdoor National Championship team at SMU where he
competed in the decathlon and held the school record. After
college, Jimmy went on to place 4th at the 1987 Pan American Games
and 26th in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, competing for his birth
country, El Salvador. He has continued to stay engaged with the
sport he loves by serving as a volunteer track and field
Jimmy married his wife Leanne in
1986. They have three grown children and three
Connect with Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado and Compassion