Read Tony’s Christmas Letter

December 3, 2014

Dear Partner in Ministry:

The Sunday before Christmas is exciting, but difficult for any preacher! People come to church on that Sunday who may not frequent the church very often during the rest of the year.

As a result, the preacher wants to be extra good, hoping that those infrequent attendees will be so inspired that they will want to attend church more often.

The big preacher problem is what to say that hasn’t been said time and time again.

Scholarly work will help. There are deep levels of understanding that the casual readers of the Bible’s Christmas passages are likely to miss. The trained preacher is able to provide new insights into those stories surrounding Christ’s birth.

A stimulated imagination will give a preacher the ability to connect profound theological insights learned in college and seminary with the seemingly simple story of what happened when Jesus was born. In addition, a good Christmas sermon will connect the gospel accounts with events in today’s world and to the listener’s everyday lives.

If you agree with what you’ve just read, you will understand the urgency for the Campolo Center for Ministry! Our goal is to recruit and train a new generation of preachers who will be able to craft sermons that do all of the things I just described.

Here is how your support now will help prepare this rising generation of preachers: 1) scholarships and mentors for 5 Campolo Scholars each year; 2) service-learning opportunities and year-long internships for these Campolo Scholars to work with top ministries; and 3) specialized classroom training to give Campolo Scholars the tools to do their jobs well.

The urgency of this task cannot be overestimated. When preachers do not deliver engaging sermons, people drift away from churches. There are thriving churches out there, but if you check them out you will find that they have outstanding pulpit preachers, with homiletic skills and an evident presence of the Holy Spirit in the words spoken.

We need your help to make this dream of vibrant preachers serving growing churches a reality! The reason we want the recruits to study at Eastern is so that we can personally and directly nurture prospective preachers in spiritual disciplines.

If you have supported EAPE over the years, please consider generous support at this time for the strategic work of the Campolo Center for Ministry. In years past, the vast majority of support is raised in December – and we hope to see this trend continue now!

We’re committed to helping our ministerial candidates live up to what is required for the church of the future. Please do all you can to support these efforts this Christmas.  Your gifts will be used wisely and appreciated greatly!



Professor of Sociology

Eastern University


P.S. Check out our new website at and look for email updates from us throughout December!