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Changing of the Guard: Barry Slauenwhite and Compassion Canada
Pray for London
Post Easter 2020
Mission Peru 2020 (A Dad’s Perspective)
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An interview by Mike Toth

Addendum by Rick Vandekieft

Titus 1:7-9: For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

On July 12, 2017, Compassion Canada announced that their long time President and CEO, Barry Slauenwhite, will be retiring in the fall of 2019. While this will conclude 34 years of vocational service with Compassion, Slauenwhite will remain available after retirement to support Compassion as President Emeritus. It is unusual for an organization to announce a CEO retirement two years in advance of the actual date, but this will actually be the culmination of a ten year plan of succession that Slauenwhite embarked upon in 2009.

“When I presented my ten-year plan to retire to the board they laughed,” says Slauenwhite. “But if I’m serious about the ministry being God’s and not mine, then a plan must be in place.”

“The leader is a steward, a manager, not the owner. The steward is responsible to manage well and plan for succession.” Slauenwhite’s white paper on the subject, “Leadership Succession-An Act of Worship,” is a guide to ensuring Godly and effective continuation of leadership.

Slauenwhite’s career in the service of Christ actually began in his parent’s kitchen. Having been saved at five years old, he would often hide in a large cupboard after Sunday service and preach the sermon he had heard to vast audiences using a hose from an Electrolux vacuum as his microphone. One day, he emerged from the cupboard to find his father seriously ill. In his child like faith he prayed for his father, fully expecting him to be healed. Slauenwhite was not at all surprised when his father went to work the next morning, fully healed from his illness.

In his young adult years, Slauenwhite became quite successful in business, but his early calling to preach never left. Every time he prayed, his childhood memories of preaching in the cupboard or leading other children to Christ would come flooding back. Finally, he told God, “You win,” and he and his wife left their comfortable lives and went to Bible college.

Although Slauenwhite and his wife believed that this call meant a vocation as a church pastor and they successfully pastored a couple of congregations, they felt a consistent love for Christian missions and helping underprivileged children. They didn’t see how they could reconcile this yearning with their work in the church until a fateful trip to London, Ontario.

“I was invited to lunch by the President of Compassion Canada,” says Slauenwhite. “I went to the lunch quite flippant as I knew nothing of the organization. Compassion? Of course I have Compassion.

“The lunch lasted three hours and I was mesmerized. This was everything we had dreamed of. Could this really be true? This is what God made me for!”

Unbeknownst to Slauenwhite, at the very time he was having his lunch his wife was watching a story on the Trinity Broadcasting Network about Compassion International and was feeling the same excitement. After much prayer, wise counsel, and overcoming some trepidation about joining a para church ministry, they took the leap of faith to join the organization. Slauenwhite’s passion for the work is as strong as it was 34 years ago when he entered the call he believes God prepared him for.

“The answer to poverty is not money. There is too much corruption and waste for money to be effective in truly changing lives. The answer to poverty is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The answer is the transformational message of the life-changing Gospel.

The secret of Compassion’s success is the Gospel component. Our goal is to lead children and their families to Jesus Christ. It’s too easy for the people living in poverty to just see the handout and not to see Jesus.

We have turned down many millions of dollars in donations because the donors wanted us to cut the evangelism and discipleship components. This is why we don’t do traditional fundraising or accept money from government or secular agencies.”

Compassion’s board is firm that the organization will retain this mandate after Slauenwhite’s retirement . The organizational philosophy can, and will continue to be, summed up in what they call the “3 C-s:” “Christ Centered, Child Focused, Church Based.”

You can read more about Slauenwhite’s retirement and the organizational plan at:

From Christian Life in London Publisher, Rick Vandekieft.

In December of 2011 the Board of Christian Churches Network of London (CCNL) were meeting at the Compassion offices in London. The Board was chaired by Barry Slauenwhite and one of the topics on the agenda was “What to do with their quarterly newspaper, Christian Life in London”.

The paper had become too costly for CCNL and the decision was made to discontinue it. I presented an alternative, go digital, make Christian Life in London a paperless paper. This would eliminate the costs while still continuing to bring the Good News to Londoners.

Barry and the rest of the board endorsed the idea and since then, Barry has been a wonderful friend and supporter of the e-publication. He has always made himself available to offer advice and suggestions as the electronic version of Christian Life in London grew into the highly successful e-publication it is today.

I personally thank Barry Slauenwhite for his friendship and support since I was blessed with meeting him for the first time at that CCNL gathering in December of 2011. I wish him great happiness in his retirement yet I hope I will still be able to call upon him for his opinions and advice.