Advent Reflections: On Being Thankful and Hopeful!

Advent, Incarnation and the Future of the Church

Advent is a season of celebration and hopeful expectation. As Christians, we celebrate the incarnation; that God is with us and has become one of us in Jesus of Nazareth. And, we anticipate the completion of God’s salvific work, which is being accomplished in and through the Church, which Jesus, the risen Savior, established.

All that is to say, we believe the church—the people of God—has an important part to play in God’s work in the world. Or, as Tony often says, “the Church is God’s instrument for changing the world from what it is to what it ought to be.”

Clearly, the Church faces many challenges: alarming and sustained declines in churches, members, and ministry leaders; indication that the U.S. has become a post-Christian, secular nation; rising costs for theological education and ministry training; and growing student debt that is a deterrent or burden for those seeking to prepare to serve the church. Yet, we remain thankful and hopeful.

Thankful to God for bringing the Campolo Scholars to us—and for friends like you who support them and the training, mentoring and teaching we’re committed to provide them. Hopeful for the work God is and will accomplish through their service.

As this year comes to an end, I’m pleased to share some of 2017 highlights with you.

  • We’ve expanded the Campolo Scholars program to now include 8 students, six of whom are women. All have demonstrated a commitment to a life in vocational Christian service. Each is already actively working in ministry with a local church or para-church ministry. We’ve witnessed growth and spiritual maturity in them all.
  • We have added two new students. James Williams, the programs first seminarian; he is a bright, gifted and dedicated servant of Jesus studying at Palmer Theological Seminary here at Eastern University. Claire Thompson is a talented musician with a heart for ministry who comes to us with unanimous pastoral recommendation of and partnership with Wayne Presbyterian Church.
  • Tony and I have met with church and ministry leaders across the country to discuss the mission, vision and goals of the Campolo Center. We’ve been encouraged by the reception we’ve received. And we’ve been assured of the importance and urgency of this work as these pastors and church leaders express their concerns about the future of the church and the need for a new generation of pastors, youth workers and missionaries. (Tony and I are eager to meet with you, your pastor and church in the coming year, so please contact us about scheduling a visit.)
  • Together with the Campolo Scholars, we have studied The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society, by Henri Nouwen, a short, but deeply insightful book full of wisdom. As the Campolo Scholars and I have discussed this book, we’ve shared about our own wounds and limitations. We have been reassured by God and each other that we can faithfully and effectively serve God and others despite our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

At such a celebratory and hopeful time of year, we celebrate your wonderful support of the Campolo Center for Ministry – and are hopeful it will continue or even increase for the year ahead! Would you prayerfully consider making a generous gift now – as an investment in the church of tomorrow, “God’s instrument for changing the world from what it is to what it ought to be”?

With gratitude and hope,

Robert Gauthier
Executive Director

P.S. Please let us hear from you soon – now is the time to invest in the church in these days through the work of the Campolo Center for Ministry. Please give now and partner with us today!

P.S.S. Read Tony’s whitepaper, Who Will Lead The Church?  Recovering the Biblical Call to Ministry!, which was the inspiration for launching the Campolo Center at Eastern University.

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