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During his senior year of seminary, the Rev. Brent Campbell, '87, received a word of advice from Alvin Rogness, former president of Luther Seminary: "One key to a fruitful ministry," Rogness said, "is to embody God's love for your people by providing good pastoral care."
"I think it was the best advice I have ever heard, and that is what I have tried to do in my ministry," said Campbell, a 2012 recipient of the Faithfulness in Ministry Cross Award. The award recognizes Campbell's 25-year career in pastoral ministry, which is characterized by congregational leadership in Montana, California and Wisconsin.
Campbell currently serves at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Madison, Wis., where he has served for more than eight years. During that time, community members, congregants and colleagues have come to respect Campbell for his consistent and deeply present style of ministry.
"Pastor Brent Campbell, without a doubt, is one of the most compassionate and caring individuals I have ever met in my life," said Tim Nybroten, '99, pastor of evangelism at Good Shepherd. "Whether at the bedside of the sick and dying or at the birth of a newborn, Pastor Brent exemplifies the love of Christ."
"His very personal, empathetic manner is his most endearing attribute and truly his most faithful service to Jesus and his congregation," said Dr. Jeffrey Jones, a member of Good Shepherd.
"He knows the names of almost everyone in our congregation—5,100 to 5,200 people," Nybroten said. "He works hard at it. People even say, 'I'm here because he knew my name.'"
In addition to learning more than 5,000 names, Campbell has also led a number of mission activities with an outward focus. While at Good Shepherd, Campbell led the congregation in establishing a food pantry and clothes closet, which served approximately 2,500 children in the past year. He also helped develop a job transition ministry to serve the unemployed in the community. Started in 2009 at the peak of the recession, the ministry is now the largest of its kind in the area.
Additionally, Good Shepherd has raised and given away $100,000 in three years for programs that provide transitional housing for the homeless, started a Christian basketball league that has 500 participants, and started a summer internship program for college students to help with their vacation Bible school and children's camp programs."
"He has encouraged the development of new mission activities for the church," Jones said. "He believes strongly that followers of Christ are called to serve."
Campbell's faithful service is a humble witness to the God he proclaims. "He's compassionate, he's caring and he's always available," Nybroten said. "He's a John the Baptizer among us. He doesn't point to himself. He points to Christ constantly."
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