Note: In 1989, Tony and Bart collaborated on a book called Things We Wish We had Said, in which each shared his perspectives on a variety of 'growing up' issues. This month they are at it again, only this time they are writing to you about the future of EAPE.
A few weeks ago my wife Marty and I drove back east to tell my parents that we need to start looking for a new Executive Director. They were surprised, but they quickly appreciated my perspective and immediately gave me their blessing, as did the EAPE board. Of course, I am hoping for the same from you.
The reason I am leaving isn't that I am frustrated. Actually, I've never been more excited about the direction of EAPE. However, after spending the better part of the past fifteen years actualizing my father's visions, managing his affairs and looking after his best interests, lately I have found myself practically waiting for him to retire so I can get on with the rest of my life, and I can't stand feeling that way. On the contrary, I want to keep celebrating the latter stages of his brilliant career.
I always said I would stand by my father, professionally speaking, until he was finished, and I fully intended to do so. However, I failed to anticipate how long he could keep going strong, or how uncomfortable I might become as his evangelical heir apparent. Nobody has done anything wrong; after all these years of serving the family business, first with Mission Year and then with EAPE, I simply need to follow my own path as a spiritual leader.
At the same time, the sudden rise of my father's Red Letter Christians campaign, and especially our growing capacity to nurture a new generation of Tony Campolo-like speakers and ministries to the poor, are clear signs that EAPE needs a full-time Executive Director who is unequivocally committed to carrying its mission into the future.
So now the search is on for that special someone who can support and maximize Tony Campolo's ministry, and also make it his or her own, so that EAPE continues to inspire and equip followers of Jesus to live out God’s love for the poor and oppressed, in inner-city America and around the world, even after Tony is gone. I'm not leaving until we find that person, of course, but then I'll become a faithful EAPE supporter, just like you. After all, the best days of this ministry are still ahead of us.
Keep the faith!
Bart isn't kidding when he says Peggy and I were surprised by his decision, but the more we've thought about it the prouder we've become. Everyone knows what a great job Bart has done for us at EAPE, but not everyone knows how much he has sacrificed for me and for this ministry. The fact that he waited to leave until we had a solid support staff in place, a terrific new campaign underway, and a clear vision for our future is just another example of his commitment. I know he's going to keep doing lots of good on his own.
Bart and I joke about me sticking around so much longer than we expected, but I still love what I'm doing, and I still believe in what we are doing together through EAPE. I know I won't keep going forever, but the more young missionaries we support, and the more young preachers we train, and the more innovative ministry programs we help start, the more certain I am that our impact WILL keep going forever!
I understand why my son doesn't want to follow in my footsteps, but both of us believe that for the right person, leading EAPE into the future is an incredible opportunity. After all, we have a great track record, a great reputation in the evangelical community, and a great group of ministry partners all over the world. Best of all, we have a great group of faithful supporters, many of whom have already decided as - Peggy and I have - to include EAPE in their wills so that our Kingdom work will long outlive us.
Remember, there are hundreds of young workers out there, serving the poor, educating inner-city kids, rescuing Haitian restaveks from grinding servitude, reaching out to teenagers in trouble, and sharing the Gospel with those who are lost and broken. These sacrificial servants deserve our support, and we need to give all we can to help them help the poorest of the poor, in the name of Jesus. Now is not the time for us to slow down. Now is the time for us to ask God to renew our strength...and to raise up the new leaders we need.
Keep the faith!
P.S. The sacrificial and generous giving of friends like you has sustained EAPE's ministries over the years and we are counting on your continued financial support and partnership in our ongoing commit-ment to inspire and enable followers of Jesus to live out God's love for the poor and oppressed! Please click here to make a one-time gift or schedule a monthly pledge of support. Your gift will make a difference!
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ABOUT TONY + APRIL 2011