Dr. Phillip A. Campbell, who has been serving as interim executive director of the Synod’s Board for Black Ministry Services for nearly three years, has accepted a call to serve in that post permanently. He announced his decision May 16.
Campbell holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind.; a master’s degree in divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; and a doctorate in ethnic and Black family ministry from Howard University, Washington, D.C.
He also has served as pastor at congregations in Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Detroit, and has taught philosophy and religion at schools in Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Ann Arbor, Mich.
He and his wife, Rose, a Lutheran school teacher, have been married for 37 years.
As interim executive director for the Board for Black Ministry Services, Campbell also continued work as the board’s director of mission networking, a position he has held since 1992. And, while the latter post eventually will be filled by someone else, Campbell says he will continue to be “mission focused” in his new position.
“That’s my zeal,” he said. “I have a passion for mission.”
That passion feeds Campbell’s “vision for Black ministry,” which includes sharing the Gospel with a million “unreached” African Americans over the next 12 years.
“At this time in history we have a unique opportunity, and that’s simply because of the vision of our [LCMS] president — ‘One Mission, One Message, One People’ — and the Ablaze! initiative,” Campbell told Reporter. “I’m tied into Ablaze! — it fits so well with my vision. And my goal is to touch the lives of approximately a million African Americans who don’t know Jesus by 2017.”
Ablaze! is LCMS World Mission’s worldwide effort to share the Gospel with 100 million people — “unreached by the Gospel and uncommitted to Christianity” — by 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. That effort was endorsed by delegates at the Synod’s national convention last summer.
To help make his goal a reality, Campbell is asking each member of the Synod’s 350 congregations in Black ministry — some 70,000 people — to contribute $5 per year for three years to Black-ministry outreach efforts. In other words, a family of four would contribute $20 per year, for a total of $60.
“That’s not going to break anybody,” he said, and everybody — from children to retired folks — “can get involved.”
The total of $1.05 million would be used to:
- provide grants to congregations in Black ministry for outreach-oriented efforts such as Sunday schools and planting new congregations.
- help Lutheran teachers in Black ministry attend educational conferences and brainstorm ideas for improving the outreach efforts of schools.
- establish an endowment that would provide grants to help families attend national Black ministry convocations.
“People are ready to move forward in Black ministry,” Campbell said. He knows this because, when he speaks about his vision at Black congregations, the people are enthusiastic, he said. For example, at a congregation in Philadelphia, people stood up and applauded when he mentioned his plan for raising money. At another, in Youngstown, Ohio, a dozen people came up to him and gave him their contributions right then and there.
“That’s what I’m looking for — I want to see people involved,” he said.
Even though the financial phase doesn’t officially begin until the next national Black Ministry Family Convocation — July 19-23, 2006, at Concordia College in Selma, Ala. — Campbell already has more than $100 from early contributors.
In the meantime, smaller, regional Black ministry convocations are being planned for eight cities this year, he said, to give Lutherans in Black ministry opportunities to discuss local issues and get involved in local ministries. The gatherings also will enable Black ministry leaders to introduce Ablaze! and to encourage attendance at next summer’s national convocation, he added.
At Pentecost, “it was the local people, the grassroots, who carried the Gospel to others in their local cultures and communities,” Campbell said. Likewise, he sees the regional Black ministry convocations as “firing people up” and “setting them ablaze to share the Gospel of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ.”
For more information about Black ministry, contact Campbell at (800) 248-1930, Ext. 1755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted May 26, 2005