Campolo encourages faith-based service

By Katie Maze

Internationally acclaimed minister and author Dr. Tony Campolo urged students in chapel on Sept. 14 to adopt a needy child from a foreign country.

Campolo is founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education and has devoted his life to establishing schools and providing aid for developing countries.

 He is professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern Univeristy in St. Davids, Penn. He previously served for ten years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania.He is a graduate of Eastern College and earned a Ph.D. from Temple University.

 He is the author of 38 books and an ordained minister. 

Campolo was inspired to begin his ministry on a trip to the Dominican Republic in the mid-sixties. There he became aware of the vast number of children sleeping in the streets and dying of starvation and other preventable causes. He returned home to the United States and immediately began work raising money to establish a university for the people within the country.

Junior nursing major Heather Nichols, who attended the chapel presentation, said, “He woke me up and made me realize that there are a lot of things that you normally don’t think about as we carry on with our everyday lives.”

Nichols and her roommate, sophomore English major Sarah Norrell, said they were inspired to form a group to share the expense of adopting a child before they graduate.

“Transform yourselves from worldly machines into godly instruments of change” were Campolo’s words as he urged students to take an active role in making the world a more godly place by caring for those who struggle to live a fulfilled life in the slums of poverty.

His mission statement, derived from the Gospel of Matthew, says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Campolo presented an array of illustrations and personal experiences that conveyed his desire to provide for oppressed children in the world. He centered on one specific theme: are we taking the Word of Christ seriously?  He spoke honestly to Christians, forcing them to consider how their lives would change if they took the words of Jesus literally and laid down their possessions to become slaves in service.

Using the teachings of Jesus, Campolo urged students to sacrifice their money to care for and possibly save the life of a child in an impoverished country. He challenged Christians to act on their faith by making small sacrifices in their lives in order to fulfill their ultimate responsibility to God by loving and serving others who are living in oppression and poverty. 

The size of the crowd around an adoption table indicated that Campolo had been successful.

“His speech motivated me to adopt a child. I may not have a lot of money, but I have spare change lying around that could save a life,” freshman Shelby Gale said.

Jena Coulson, assistant director of the Baptist Student Ministry, adopted a young Peruvian boy named Luis last year through Compassion International, a Christian organization for adopting children.

Coulson became involved because she believes that an important part of ministering to Christians is popping their bubbles and intruding into their comfort zones.

“Dr. Campolo gives a good message that encourages students to act on faith. We’re in a society that teaches us that it’s OK to simply go to church. It’s important that people know there is more responsibility involved with Christianity.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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