taking the words of Jesus seriously

I began working for Tony Campolo almost five years ago. I was a student at Eastern University and needed an on-campus job that could help subsidize the food and fun portion of college. I had heard Tony speak alongside Shane Claiborne a few years earlier at a conference so when his name was listed as an “on campus Federal Work Study job” I thought, why not? I didn’t grow up in Church, had no idea what Tony really did, and thought the description of “assist in preparing details for Tony’s various events” sounded fun. I had no idea what I was getting into!

Five years, thousands of events, and a graduation later, I work with Tony full-time. I graduated from Eastern in 2010 and was asked to return in December of that same year to head up a new idea called Red Letter Christians. For those of you who know Tony, you know he has a lot of ideas! And that’s one of the things that makes working alongside him so interesting. But when I was told we were going to pursue this idea long term, and devote a lot of time and energy to it, I was really intrigued!

Fast forward two and a half years and here we are today: all around the world people are talking about Red Letter Christians and living out those “red letter” words of Jesus in their own backyards. It’s been unbelievable to see the response! I’ve heard Tony comment on multiple occasions that this movement is far larger than he could have dreamed and so much bigger than his voice. And that is what makes Red Letter Christians so beautiful! We never set out to be a huge network or movement. Rather, we started with a simple yet profound message that has been on Tony’s heart for years, namely that Jesus actually meant what he said. And we’ve learned that that same message has been placed on the hearts of millions of other people all around the world!

In two short years it’s become more than apparent that Red Letter Christians is a collaborative network of millions of people that’s moving and building and conspiring for good across the globe. We’re inspiring folks to take a first, or second, look at the words of Jesus. To rethink what it means to be a Christian in their own community and their own world right here and right now. And we’re finding more and more voices each day with a God-given message that needs to be heard. It’s deeply inspiring and downright exciting!

And starting July 1 we will begin our transition into our own non-profit! To date we’ve incubated under the leadership of Tony’s ministry, EAPE, but if our growth and momentum is any indication, this movement is just beginning! There are thousands of voices out there yet to be discovered and millions of individuals hungry for a lived out Christianity…there’s so much ahead!

So as we transition in our own entity, I come to you and ask for your participation in this as well. There are costs associated with each phase of the transition (legal fees, software, organizational needs) and then there’s the basic costs of keeping the site going and curating the content it provides. Could you chip in $10 to help us out? 

Tony has chipped in, as have I, and EAPE has promised to cover 50% of all our costs for the first year! Your support really will go a long way to giving Red Letter Christians a strong foundation as we branch out on our own to tell more people about the life-changing and empowering words of Jesus.

Likewise, if you have other means you’d like to donate to RLC, whether ideas or suggestions or leads, or whatever, please send an email my way, I’d love to hear from you: rlc@eastern.edu.

Tony and I are grateful to be on this journey with you,
Brian Ballard




Photo: Tony and I – courtesy of Brad Seifert

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