Inside this issue:

MNA Chaplain Ministries
Church Plant Highlights
Campus Scenes
Showing God's Mercy
The Vital Church
Your Stewardship

Living and working day by day with the people they serve.  PCA chaplains have many opportunities to share  the Gospel and witness God's life-changing power.

MNA and you:  Reaching North America for Christ
Spring 1999

 


MNA Chaplain Ministries: Unique Opportunities to Change Lives

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Chaplains perform many of the same duties as civilian pastors, but their lives are quite different in that they experience the same daily environment as the people they serve. The result is a unique camaraderie that frequently opens doors for communicating the Gospel. For instance, Chaplain (Captain) Chip Huey (below, far left) often goes into the field with the troops at Fort Bragg.

Domestic abuse. Drug addiction. Depression. Issues like these are daily fare for PCA Chaplains who spend much of their time in personal counseling. Because they live and work side by side with the people they serve, they have unique opportunities to see lives changed through Christ.

One example is this story provided by PCA Chaplain John Maas, serving at the Mansfield Correctional Institute, about an inmate of several years – a former drug-runner and a hardened criminal. After spending time in the segregation unit ("the hole") for stabbing another inmate, he began reading the Bible. God touched him, he accepted Jesus, and asked God to "make him a living sacrifice."

"Now," John reports, "this prisoner is active in our discipleship group and praying to become a minister – he’s already a talented evangelist among the inmates. He’s a leading testimony of the love of Christ and is studying, through correspondence, for a degree from Reformed Bible College. It’s an honor to be his pastor. As a prison chaplain, I see many men become believers in this prison of 2,500 (including death row)."

Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Griffith, currently stationed at Fort Bragg, has also seen many lives changed during his career. One incident he remembers is a sad one, but is significant in that it shows how a young family had been drawn close to the Lord and was better prepared when tragedy struck.

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Also stationed at Bragg is Chaplain (Captain) Dan Oh (above, right), one of eight PCA chaplains on this base, and one of two Korean-American chaplains in the PCA. Dan spends about one-third of his time in counseling, a lot of it dealing with separation issues that families experience when service personnel are deployed overseas.

"Last year, two officers on our post were killed in an air maintenance accident. One of the men, only a short time before his death, had begun to take his faith more seriously and approached me about baptizing his children. I counseled the young officer and his wife on the significance of baptism. He had already received the Lord, but she had not and made that decision right then.

"As a result, both were active in our chapel here at Fort Bragg when he was killed. I was asked to travel back to Michigan with the family in order to conduct the funeral. Certainly, this young wife has many questions, but her faith has given her strength and comfort in facing this terrible loss."

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Chaplain (Lt. Commdr.) George Ridgeway of the US Navy teaches the "Chaplain’s Confidence Course" to Marine recruits who have problems during basic training at Parris Island. A brief course focused on core values and practical instruction for facing challenges, it allows George to influence spiritual thought and present the Gospel to a diverse mix of people.

Counseling is often more prevalent for chaplains because of the cultures in which they serve – cultures often fraught with troublesome circumstances – such as separation of families.

Case in point: An incident described by Chaplain (Capt.) Bob Owens who is assigned to the Army’s Special Forces (Green Berets). An officer’s wife, and mother of two young children, attempted a nearly successful suicide after learning her husband had an adulterous relationship while overseas. Bob was called in to the hospital to provide crisis counseling, which later led to marital counseling.

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At Fort Bragg, Chaplain (Captain) Tom Eddy served as pastor to several units, comprising 1,000 military personnel. An experienced paratrooper, he ministered to two units responsible for packing parachutes. "Working with the men and women on a daily basis means moment-by-moment ministry opportunities," Tom said.
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Parris Island Marine Corps recruits     
corrections.jpg (16207 bytes)Right: In addition to serving in the military, PCA chaplains serve in Veteran’s Administration hospitals, the Civil Air Patrol, retirement centers, and prisons. Chaplain John Maas is with the Mansfield Correctional Institute in Ohio. He has seen many men come to belief in God in this prison of 2,500 which includes the state’s death row inmates.
peterson.jpg (8019 bytes)"We need a total of 300 churches who will each commit to pray faithfully for a chaplain and will pledge $300 a year to MNA Chaplain Ministries."
Chaplain (Col.) David Peterson, MNA Coordinator of Chaplain Ministries

"During the time this couple was coming for counseling," said Bob, "they started attending chapel services and, before too long, professed to trust in Christ. There was a remarkable turnaround in their marriage. I’m glad I happened to be the sign on the side of the road when they needed help."

Chaplains are ordained just like civilian pastors and perform many of the same functions. A big difference, however, is that they do not have an established congregation of believers. "That’s why," explains MNA Coordinator of Chaplain Ministries David Peterson, "we’re enlisting churches to sponsor chaplains and provide prayer support. We want to have at least 120 people who will pray for each of the PCA ’s 150 chaplains."

The "120" concept is based on Acts 1:14-15: "They all joined together constantly in prayer…a group numbering about one hundred and twenty." Currently, 35 PCA chaplains have sponsoring churches. If you want more information about sponsoring a PCA chaplain, contact David Peterson at 404-320-3330 or dpeterson@pcanet.org.

MNA Chaplain Ministries is supported by designated gifts from churches and individuals. These gifts are not used to compensate chaplains, since they are paid by the military or other organizations they serve, but to support the work of the coordinator of MNA Chaplain Ministries who serves as pastor and advisor to all PCA chaplains and as liaison with the military.  

Encouraging Chaplain Ministries Sponsorship

If you’d like to support MNA Chaplain Ministries as an individual, consider encouraging others to join the Chaplain Guardian Corps. A new Chaplain Ministries video is also available for church presentations. To request a brochure or video about MNA Chaplain Ministries, e-mail DiAnne Rivette: drivette@pcanet.org, or call 404-320-3330.

 

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Church Plant Highlights

 

How New Churches Can Help Renew North America

Once the most Christian nation in the world, the US is now a secular land where the Judeo/Christian values that were integral to our culture are now considered intolerant and judgmental. Other countries have become evangelically stronger over the past decade while throughout North America the influence of the Gospel has dwindled.

In the US, as masses of immigrants arrive – a great number of them uncommitted to any religion – many are won over by cults, such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims. In Canada, multitudes of people are migrating from other countries, and a large percentage are highly receptive to religious influence.

C Hall.jpg (19802 bytes) Without question, North America is a mission field. In cities and towns of all sizes – from upscale suburban communities to inner-city housing projects – the need for the Gospel is great. And whether they just arrived from overseas or they were born here, people are searching for the significance that only Christ can give.   Cleveland, TN, exemplifies the smaller, more settled towns where PCA churches are needed. Last summer, church planter Tom Gibson started Trinity Presbyterian here, and growth has been steady since then.

What is the best way to reach them? Consider these facts: established PCA churches average 4 conversions per 100 members, while new churches see 8 conversions per 100 members. In new churches that reach immigrants, the number of conversions increases to 13 per 100. The conclusion? Church planting is the most effective way to reach these people with the Gospel.

We invite you to become a partner with Mission to North America in order to help plant more churches. Your time, talent, and treasure can be used by the Lord to advance His Church and ensure that the Gospel will be passed on to future generations. Many communities throughout North America are targeted for a PCA church. Pray for the Lord’s provision of church planters to plant new churches. With the Lord’s provision of leadership and your support, these mission churches can begin.

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Vancouver, British Columbia, typifies the large metropolitan areas in North America where the population is highly unchurched and evangelical Christianity has little influence. Vancouver now has one PCA church — Faith Reformed led by Doug Codling; John Smed plans to start a second this summer.

For details about pending church plants and opportunities for your support, contact Fred Marsh at MNA fmarsh@pcanet.org.

 

 

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The Vital Church

convocation spkr.jpg (15703 bytes)Preparing for Revival: "Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?" (Ps. 85:6). That was the theme of the first PCA Convocation on Revival and Reformation held last October at Trinity Presbyterian in Jackson, MS. One hundred PCA pastors attended, receiving encouragement and preparation for revival. Trinity’s Senior Pastor Mike Ross, pictured at right, who planned the meeting, said, "Our goal is to build a network of committed PCA men so that pastor by pastor, church by church, we can ready ourselves for a Great Awakening. We’ve had tremendous response from those who took part."

Other pastors who led sessions were Ligon Duncan, senior pastor, First Presbyterian, Jackson; Richard Phillips, CEO, The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals; Carl Kalberkamp, senior pastor, Pear Orchard PCA, Ridgeland, MS; Harry Reeder, senior pastor, Christ Covenant, Matthews, NC; and Archie Parrish, MNA coordinator of Church Vitality.

The 1999 convocation will be Oct. 26 – 28. For details, contact Trinity Presbyterian: 601-362-8244, <trinityjackson@juno.com>, or Archie Parrish at MNA: 404-320-3330, aparrish@pcanet.org.

 

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Campus Scenes
South Carolina Campus Ministries

Reformed University Fellowship is in place on five SC campuses. The state’s three presbyteries (Fellowship, Calvary, and Palmetto) are all involved, and many churches provide support. John Gess, pastor of Bethel Presbyterian in Clover, who is chairman of the SC Joint Committee on Campus Ministries, says, "More churches are getting involved as they see the value of these ministries…we’re very excited about the progress and the results."

Campus SC3.jpg (19542 bytes)Clemson University, Clemson, SC     Stephen Speaks came last fall to lead Clemson’s RUF, which was started in 1984 by David Sinclair, now pastor of Lexington Presbyterian, Lexington, SC. A Clemson graduate, Stephen is a product of RUF. He was already a believer when he came to college, but had never been taught about living the Christian life. "Currently, we have a good turnout at large and small group meetings," Stephen points out. Working with him are campus staff Jerdone Davis and campus intern Jen Morley.

In addition to the RUF, Reformed University Ministries has established an International Student Christian Fellowship (ISCF) at Clemson, led by ISCF minister Rick Brawner. Rick spends a lot of one-to-one time with these students – most are from mainland China. "We’re closely involved with Clemson Presbyterian and a local Chinese church," Rick says. "Our activities include off-campus outings, Bible studies, and a monthly dinner and discussion group, which typically draws about 100 students."

 

Campus SC1.jpg (13312 bytes)Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC    Begun ten years ago by Sam Joyner, the Winthrop RUF was well established when Rich Lambert came in 1997. Rich is especially pleased with the strong relationship they share with a ministry composed of African-American students. The group does not have an adult leader and often joins RUF for large group meetings. In turn, RUF members attend their prayer meetings. "It’s a beautiful thing that we didn’t initiate," Rich explains. "We’re simply two ministries committed to the Gospel and to Scripture who have chosen to bond together."

 

Campus SC2.jpg (18801 bytes)University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC   USC, in the heart of downtown Columbia, is not a typical southern university. Out of 26,000 graduates and undergraduates, only about 6,000 live on campus. The culturally broad student population includes a large body of international students. Daryl Mădi came in the fall of 1997 to start an RUF and says, "The Lord has been wonderful – we’ve had excellent response and a number of conversions." Outreach efforts to international students have been effective, and Daryl hopes to expand the multicultural mix.

 

Campus SC5.jpg (14163 bytes)College of Charleston--The Citadel,  Charleston, SC  The Citadel and the College of Charleston are close to each other; Berry Hudson is campus minister at both. Supported by four PCA churches, RUF began at both last fall. "God has blessed these ministries, and we have an excellent core of students," says Berry. At the College of Charleston, (about 10,000 students), he leads weekly large group meetings as well as small group Bible studies. At the Citadel (about 2,000 students), he leads a small group Bible study.

 

Campus SC4.jpg (14740 bytes) Busy SC campus ministers share a rare moment of fellowship. Left to right: Rick Brawner, Rich Lambert, Daryl Mădi, and Berry Hudson. Not pictured is Stephen Speaks.

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Your Stewardship

The price of planting a church is high; but so is the return, since new churches are the most effective means of evangelism. Thus, when you support MNA, you provide resources God can use to bring many people to Him. Moreover, you follow through on scriptural guidelines.

For instance, giving a portion of your earnings is one way of acknowledging that God owns everything (Psalm 24:1). So, in giving to ministries that advance the Kingdom, you not only return what belongs to God, but also participate in His plan to supply the needs of others and fulfill the Great Commission.

The Bible also tells us that giving to the Lord’s work should come first (Exodus 34:26). Though our giving is not limited to "first fruits," it should include them. In this way, we demonstrate our belief that God’s work has first priority.

The act of giving means far more than the amount. Your gift may seem small to you, but all gifts add up to form a crucial part of God’s total work. Whatever you give, you will realize the truth of Christ’s words: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

Remember that the most vital form of support you can give to a church plant is prayer. As a daily guide, consider using the "Intercessor" in this issue of Multiply. It includes a number of prayer requests related to PCA church plants.

If you want professional advice about giving, contact the PCA Foundation for free counsel: Call or e-mail Randy Stair, president: 404-320-3303; rstair@pcanet.org. Ask also about the MNA Advise and Consult Fund which enables you to contribute now and then designate later the ministries you want to benefit.

"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were … like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36

 

 

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Showing God's Mercy

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PCA participants at the conference were educated and inspired at sessions covering various topics on urban ministry. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together Christians from urban, mercy, and cross-cultural ministries who focus on addressing economic and physical as well as spiritual needs.

At the tenth annual conference of the CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) last October in St. Louis, over two thousand people from throughout the nation who are involved with urban, mercy, and cross-cultural ministries assembled, including more than 100 affiliated with the PCA. Sessions focused on the theme "Integrity, Vulnerability, and Brokenness," and were conducted by such well-known Christian leaders as John Perkins, Bob Lupton, and Wayne Gordon. Those from the PCA who led workshops were Yvonne Dodd Sawyer, Amy Sherman, Jim Barrs, Randy and Joan Nabors. More than 100 attended a luncheon, sponsored by the PCA, which emphasized fellowship and praise. "It was an awesome and wonderful conference," said Randy Nabors, "and a blessing to share with others who work with urban and mercy ministries. The 1999 CCDA conference is scheduled for November in Chicago. For details, contact the CCDA at 3827 W. Ogden Ave., Chicago, IL, 60623; 773-762-0994.

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Address comments to Fred Marsh, Managing Editor / Photographer. Design: Studio Supplee. Copy Editor/Writer: Joan Quillen. Material in Multiply may be reproduced with permission.