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Blog / How Jesus Modeled Change: An Interview with Hal Donaldson

How Jesus Modeled Change: An Interview with Hal Donaldson

Hal DonaldsonDo you observe a need to instigate a change in your immediate environment but are unsure how to move beyond pity, helplessness, and outrage? Do you wonder what one person can really do to enact the profound change the world needs?

Bible Gateway interviewed Hal Donaldson (@HalDonaldson), who, along with Kirk Noonan and Lindsay Donaldson, is the author of Disruptive Compassion: Becoming the Revolutionary You Were Born to Be (Zondervan, 2019).

What message are you conveying by the title?

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Hal Donaldson: When followers of Jesus consider the condition of the world, we can’t be satisfied with what we see. Millions are still lost and suffering. And hatred is on the rise. If we do nothing, the status quo will prevail. Thus, we must disrupt our lives in ways that change the normal course and rush love and hope to the world. The book challenges readers to reject a life of selfishness and isolation and practice radical kindness. If we aren’t willing to make changes in how we live and how we think, the normal course will only perpetuate more oppression, racism, poverty, crime, and moral decay. And, for believers, that’s unacceptable.

Why do you encourage people to be revolutionaries?

Hal Donaldson: Some may not be comfortable with the term “revolutionary” because it conjures up images of rebels toting guns or extremists marching through the streets. But I think the word “revolutionary” fits the need. The world doesn’t need tweaking. It needs fundamental change that can happen if believers follow Jesus’ example and lead a revolution of kindness. True revolutionaries turn their dissatisfaction into action (see 1 John 3:18). We need a holy anger to rise up in the church, where believers say, “Enough is enough – but with God’s help I’m going to do something about it.”

How did Jesus create a model for revolutionaries?

Hal Donaldson: Jesus is the greatest protester the world has ever known. Dissatisfied with the state of the world, he came to Earth in protest of the status quo. He didn’t provoke change through acts of violence, marches, or boycotts. He disrupted the culture with acts of kindness. He led with grace and mercy. He refused to isolate himself from those society deemed unholy or unclean. Instead he became their advocate, eventually giving his life for those he loved. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Why is the word “why” so important?

Hal Donaldson: Followers of Jesus refuse to throw up their hands and say, “Whatever will be, will be.” Revolutionaries believe change is possible. They aren’t afraid to ask, “Why do things have to be this way?” They inspire others to dream of a better future and challenge them to pay the price for lasting change.

How does a person’s view of the Bible fit in with being a compassionate revolutionary?

Hal Donaldson: The Bible says there’s hope for people who’ve lost their way. With Jesus, there are no lost causes. In Scripture, we see lepers healed, thieves redeemed, adulterers forgiven, the wicked saved, and the poor esteemed. Time and again, Jesus challenges us to love people in need. Matthew 25:40 says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me.”

Buy your copy of Disruptive Compassion in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Why and how did you start Convoy of Hope?

Hal Donaldson: When I was 12, my father was hit and killed by a drunk driver. My mother was in the car and suffered severe injuries. My parents didn’t have insurance and the man who hit them didn’t have insurance, so our family of four kids was forced to live on welfare. We survived, in large part, because of the kindness of churches and neighbors who brought groceries to our door and placed shoes on our feet. I experienced the power of kindness first hand. As an adult, I wanted to give back. Along with my family and friends, we began passing out groceries to working poor families from the back of pickup trucks and U-Haul trailers. That was 25 years ago. Since then, Convoy of Hope has partnered with thousands of churches to feed and share the love of Jesus with more than 100 million people through community outreaches, disaster response, international children’s feeding, job training for mothers, and agriculture initiatives.

Why do you say the enemies of progress are doubt, apathy, and blame?

Hal Donaldson: According to Scripture, Jesus longs to work through each of us to transform lives and lead people to salvation. But, too often, we succumb to attitudes such as doubt, apathy, and blame that are contrary to that mission. That’s why Bible study and prayer are essential to building our faith, sustaining our motivation and maintaining a positive outlook (see Matthew 21:21).

What steps should a person take to define their mission?

Hal Donaldson: The process begins with praying, “Lord, use me where you need me most.” That opens the door for your mission to find you. But, in Disruptive Compassion, I also encourage readers to create a bucket list that includes things they want to do for God. I also recommend they write a personal manifesto, which details the kind of person they want to be. The next step is to do reconnaissance, to see the needs around them and hear the cries of hurting people. That’ll prepare their heart to accept the mission God has for them.

Buy your copy of Disruptive Compassion in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

What do you want your book to achieve?

Hal Donaldson: Most people want their lives to make a difference in a desperate world. But they don’t necessarily know what to do. Hopefully this book becomes their playbook and results in a new generation of compassion revolutionaries who take the love and message of Jesus to desperate places.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Hal Donaldson: Proverbs 21:21 says, “Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself.” Kindness and doing the “right” thing are keys to greater fulfillment and happiness. Jesus said it this way: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind…. Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mathew 22:37-39).

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?

Hal Donaldson: I’m thankful for Bible Gateway and the role it plays in encouraging Bible engagement. Scripture gives us hope and inspires us to share that hope with others. Thus, Bible Gateway is a critical tool in our quest to show the world that Jesus loves them.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Hal Donaldson: The greatest threat to the church today is pride. If we aggressively pursue humility, reliance on God, and radical kindness to one another, we’ll see the church’s influence grow and millions will find hope in Jesus.

Disruptive Compassion is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.

Bio: Hal Donaldson is the founder and CEO of Convoy of Hope, an international relief organization. He has authored more than 30 books, including Disruptive Compassion: Becoming the Revolutionary You Were Born to Be and Your Next 24 Hours: One Day of Kindness Can Change Everything. He and his wife, Doree, have four daughters. For more information about Convoy of Hope and Hal Donaldson, go to and @HalDonaldson.

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Filed under Books, Discipleship, Interviews