Chaplain Ministries: Unique Opportunities
to Change Lives
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
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.
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
(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
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.
Island Marine Corps recruits
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
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."
(Col.) David Peterson, MNA Coordinator of Chaplain
"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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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: email@example.com,
or call 404-320-3330.
How New Churches Can Help Renew
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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, <email@example.com>,
or Archie Parrish at MNA: 404-320-3330, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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; email@example.com.
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.
He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because
they were … like sheep without a shepherd."
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.
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.
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