My mother, Mary Campolo, was the best storyteller I have ever known. Her ability to hold a group entranced was amazing. For several years she was on the staff of a Lutheran home for the elderly. She was so good at story telling that the administrators at the home relieved her of other duties and asked her to spend full time just keeping the residents at the home entertained. My mother enjoyed inspiring, encouraging and helping these senior citizens laugh. There was no doubt she had a very special gift.
Years after she had gone to live with the Lord, I read in her journal that this gifted communicator had always wanted to be a preacher. Unfortunately, my mother lived at a time when there wasn’t much room in the church for women preachers. She learned, however, from a radio show called “The Pillar of Fire Mission” that its denominational churches ordained women preachers. She wrote to the leader of the denomination how she planned, when old enough, to join their church, get ordained, and get to preach the gospel as a missionary. She never heard back from the Pillar of Fire Mission.
The proclamation of the gospel lost out on a powerful communicator when it lost out on having my mother as a preacher. If you stop to think about it, not only was my mother’s calling neglected because of a male chauvinistic value system that pervaded the Church in days past, but the Church lost out on countless other young women who could have done much to bring people to Christ and into the Church.
Times have changed, and across the nation and around the world women are taking up positions as Christian leaders and communicators. Today, we wouldn’t know what to do without them as teachers and preachers. (Meet the gifted young women in the Campolo Scholars Program.)
As you probably know, we have five women among the students under the sponsorship of the Campolo Center for Ministry. We thank God for your gifts that are making this possible. And, we thank God for the many other people out there, young and old, who will be won to Christ and nurtured into mature discipleship because together, we made the ministries of these future church leaders possible.
Don’t let up! As Jesus said, “the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Matt 9:37).
Pray and give so that more and more men and women, like my mother, will be called and trained to harvest a host of people who are ripe and ready to be gathered into Christ’s church.
Yours in Christ,