Even at my age it pays to listen to your older brother. My brother asked me a question over lunch a couple of weeks ago, and based on my answer he made what I think is an excellent suggestion. We were talking about my blog and the one that he wants to start. As we talked he asked me if I ever give details of my military ministry here, and up to this point I really haven’t. From his question I realized that I have made a huge oversight by not talking about what God is doing through that ministry. So, moving forward, as I can, I will give updates and talk about the ministry to soldiers that God has allowed me to be a part of.
As a National Guard Chaplain I typically spend one weekend each month and two weeks in the summer with the soldiers of my battalion. I serve as an adviser on issues of ethics, morale, and religion for my commander and other leaders, and I also protect the rights of soldiers to express their faith according to their religious beliefs. I help lead ceremonies, worship services, and Bible studies, and also do a lot of counseling. I am available to soldiers of all faith backgrounds, and also to those who no none at all, while holding firm to the distinctives of my own faith. It’s a truly unique ministry.
The below is an overview of the last few months.
Over the last several months I have had approximately 16 counseling sessions. The issues centered mostly around relationships and finances. Some were positive encounters like pre-marital counseling and education and career coaching while others involved walking with soldiers through some extremely tough situations. In each circumstance, though, is the opportunity to speak life and hope into the lives of the soldiers I serve with. Being salt and light for these soldiers in the midst of joy or chaos is an extreme honor.
I was able to lead 3 chapel services this quarter. Each one is a unique opportunity to connect with soldiers and give them a few moments away from their normal work for refreshment from worship and God’s word. My hope is that these services will not only be a time of worship and discipleship, but will also lead to a greater sense of community among fellow believers here. I’m looking forward to the day when the Christ followers in our battalion pull together as a body and serve as an extension of the ministries of our churches in proclaiming the hope of Christ to every soldier.
I also had the privilege, a couple of months ago, of leading a wedding ceremony for one of the soldiers from my battalion. He and I had been talking about and planning the service for over a year so it was a huge honor and joy to be a part of such a life-changing moment in his and his new bride’s day. Just like in marriage there were roadblocks and speed bumps along the way, but in the end it was beautiful and worth all of the work.
The next part of this journey for me will include finishing the final phase of the Amry’s Chaplain School. I will give an update once I finish the course. It has been a unique learning experience that has challenged me in many ways.
I hope that this report and the updates that I post here in the future will be a blessing to you and will encourage you to pray for the men and women who defend our freedoms and also those who seek to minister to them.
For God and Country!