As Tony Campolo is known for pointing out, “The Church is God’s instrument for changing the world.” The Campolo Center for Ministry was formed to support that vision by recruiting and financially supporting students who demonstrate the gifts of vocational Christian service. Far too often, aspiring leaders must choose between serving the poor and paying off their student loan. The consequences are obvious; pastoral retirements are outpacing ordinations and 4,000 churches close their doors each year.
After 40 years of nurturing over 20 charitable organizations to organizational maturity and financial independence, Tony Campolo, Founder and President of EAPE and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University, has shifted his leadership towards supporting young people who demonstrate a calling, giftedness and commitment to vocational Christian service. The Campolo Center for Ministry is supporting the Church as God’s instrument for changing the world by preparing the next generation of leaders and providing them the academic training, spiritual formation, and financial undergirding they require.
When choosing its leaders, the early church watched potential candidates over a period of time, and when the people “were together and of one accord” (Acts 1.14; 2.1) they hand-selected them for special roles as preachers and ministers.
Inasmuch as the Campolo Center is aimed at helping the best and brightest leaders work in full time ministry by graduating debt free, we are equally concerned with growing the influence of the Church by providing it the best and brightest leadership. Far too often, the Church has relied on an individual’s subjective sense of their own calling to determine its leaders, when the truth is, it is the Church that is responsible for calling into ministry those who have demonstrated the requisite aptitude and spiritual giftedness. This is what we find in the Book of Acts and yet somehow, we’ve lost our way.
Perhaps no one communicates the challenges facing the modern church (and their solutions) as effectively as Tony himself. To read about this subject in greater depth, see Tony’s article: Recovering the Biblical Call to Ministry.
If you would like to nominate someone in your congregation to our program, please be in touch with us.
Training and Mentorship
The Campolo Center for Ministry represents a vast network of ordained and lay leaders throughout churches, businesses, and nonprofit communities who are committed to providing scholars with vocation-specific training based on real-world experiences. Experience tells us that what a student learns in the classroom must be practiced in the street and what is learned in the street must inform what is taught in the classroom. Our training and mentorship program, therefore, provides each scholar with the opportunities needed to put what they are learning into practice before leaving the university and provides regularly mentorship by Tony Campolo. It is our goal that every scholar be personally, relationally, spiritually, and financially equipped for their vocation upon graduating.
The Campolo Center for Ministry is a partnership between the Campolo scholar, their family and home church and Eastern University. Upon admission into the program, scholars are immediately connected to a network of colleagues and mentors who come alongside them for their journey. Their academic and vocational training takes place within the context of an intentional Christian academic community that has been deeply informed by Tony’s public advocacy for a holistic gospel which combines a personal commitment to Jesus and the pursuit of social justice.