you’re Interested in Chaplain Ministries
PCA chaplains serve a vital purpose in the military as well as
in civilian posts, such as hospitals and prisons, by
ministering to thousands of people at their point of need.
If you’d like
to know more about their work and how you can help, request a
brochure or a video about MNA Chaplain Ministries. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call MNA: 678-825-1200.
to the Military
Mullen was a 19-year-old shipman in the US Navy, stationed
in a remote port in Adak, Alaska, he was introduced to the
Lord by a Navy chaplain. That life-changing experience
gave Joe a deep and continuing appreciation for chaplains.
Years later, it led to a continuing development in
ministering to the military and a church partnership with
a number of chaplains.
Today, Joe is
senior pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian in Virginia
Beach, Virginia, where he has served since 1984. Regular
attendance now numbers about 300, 35 percent of whom are
military. The congregation has always included several
chaplains, representing PCA as well as other
Covenant is not the only church here ministering to the
military — a number of PCA churches do the same — but
New Covenant is an excellent example of how churches can
effectively reach and serve this segment.
“As soon as
we came to serve this church,” says Joe, “it was our
prayer to establish a ministry to chaplains, and we feel
privileged to do so.” His wife, Brenda, is the daughter
of a 22-year veteran of the US Navy, which gives her a
unique understanding and appreciation for the military.
how they feel about New Covenant, and they’ll tell you
the church’s ministry is extremely significant.
According to chaplain Joseph Paul, now serving at Norfolk
Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, “New Covenant understands
military families and encourages them. Chaplains often
serve amid unbelievers, and sometimes our ministry is not
especially welcome, but thanks to New Covenant, I have
been spiritually nourished, and that’s very important to
has taught adult Sunday School at New Covenant, preached
on occasion, and taken part in growth groups (the church’s
small group ministry). He and his wife, Marla, work with
the teen youth group. She is nursery captain, teaches a
children’s Sunday school class, and is involved with
vacation Bible school, while their daughters help with the
Also active in
the New Covenant congregation is chaplain Ken Counts,
currently assigned to a Guided Missile Cruiser, home
ported in Norfolk, Virginia. “The church has been a rock
and a shelter for my family through times of separation,”
Ken points out. “My wife, Gwen, attends a midweek care
group and the two elders who shepherd that group have been
a great encouragement to her and my son, Joel. The church
has also been faithful to hold up my name and ministry in
Rosander and his family are now in Rota, Spain, but were
leaders at New Covenant while they were stationed in the
area. “There are plenty of opportunities for chaplains
to be involved in ministry at NCPC,” explains Doug. “I
taught adult and high school Sunday School classes,
preached at times, and served on the worship committee.
The church does a good job of encouraging families when
military members are deployed.”
are also associated with Crossroads Community Church in
Upper Darby, PA, where Tim Witmer is the pastor. Like New
Covenant, this church lists chaplains and other military
personnel in their bulletins, and asks the congregation to
pray for them.
of chaplains are distinctive in that they have unique
opportunities to reach men and women who might never
attend church, as well as many who have not been raised in
a church-going family. The majority are in their 20s and,
because of loneliness and other difficulties, they’re
often in search of life’s meaning. As a result, these
people can be particularly receptive to the Gospel.
coordinator of Chaplain Ministries Dave Peterson commends
PCA churches who reach out to the military and urges other
congregations to follow suit, whether or not they’re
situated near a military installation. “More than half
of our PCA chaplains are sponsored in prayer by one or
more PCA congregations,” says Dave. “We hope to enlist
congregational and individual prayer support for all our
chaplains by the end of this year.”*
Counts recommends that churches treat chaplains as
missionaries, such as by naming them, along with
missionaries, in newsletters and other literature, and
thus connect them with missions-related programs. He
suggests they invite a chaplain to churches’ missions
events and allow them to talk about the acts of God they’ve
observed that have led to saved lives.
Thousands of military personnel are stationed aboard ships
and on bases throughout Virginia’s Tidewater area. There
are four military installations, including Norfolk Naval
Base, the largest in the world.
Joe Mullen, senior pastor of New Covenant, is considered
by chaplains to be “a true chaplain’s pastor.” Up to
eleven chaplains have sat in his congregation at one time,
and they commend him for his ease with ministry and with
PCA chaplain Joe Paul (left), based at Norfolk Naval
Shipyard in Portsmouth, says, “New Covenant understands
military families and encourages them. When we go to sea
or are transferred out of the area, we can stay connected
with the church through email and the church’s Web site.”
Kay Wrigley (left), wife of Navy chaplain Paul Wrigley,
with Brenda Mullen, wife of Joe Mullen. Kay finds it
"comforting that the church prays for us and our
ministry while we're away." The Wrigleys are now
serving duty in Okinawa.
Chaplain Ken Counts (left), now stationed in Norfolk,
says, “The church faithfully prays for me — it has
been a rock and a shelter for my family through times of
separation.” Ken participates in a New Covenant growth
group with Cynde and Dennis Morgan (right).
CDR Kurt Nelson (left) with his wife, Joanne, and Bruce
Anderson, a chaplain of the Christian Reformed
denomination, are active in one of New Covenant’s weekly
Turnover is a fact of life with the military. And so it is
with New Covenant. While turnover presents challenges, it
also continually brings new faces into the community and
new opportunities for outreach. Another advantage —
military people know how to get involved and form
friendships on short notice.
Churches can Minister to the Military
US Armed Forces personnel within the
congregation so that church leaders can invite
them and their families into their homes; also
plan church-wide events for the military.
specific resources for military families (for
example, to assist them with separation,
financial problems, etc.).
names of chaplains and other military in
church publications and ask the congregation
to lift them in prayer.
veterans within the congregation so that
church leaders can ask their advice about
ministering to the military.
veterans and other members to correspond with
regularly from the pulpit for the nation and
the military; highlight annual observances
such as Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, etc.
Presbyteries can do
also can take an active role in ministering to
chaplains and military personnel by doing many
of the things stated above. In addition:
Chaplain Ministry updates with missions
reporting (information can be furnished by the
MNA presbytery chairmen).
a chaplain to make a brief presentation at a
congregations to include Chaplain Ministries
in annual missions conferences.
Chaplain Ministries in the annual budget.
or individuals interested in sponsoring a chaplain may
contact Mr. Climie Hewitson at email@example.com
or call (612) 703-3995 for details.
Military Leader Focused on Christ
Born into a
pastor’s family, Bentley Rayburn can never recall a
time when he didn’t know Christ as his Lord and
Savior. His father, Robert G. Rayburn, was founder of
Covenant College and Seminary in St. Louis and its first
president. Two of Bentley’s children are currently
enrolled at Covenant College, now located atop Lookout
Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
attraction to the military took shape as he saw his dad
participate in the Army Reserves. The senior Rayburn had
served as an active duty chaplain during World War II
and in Korea, before moving to Pasadena, California, to
become president of Highland College in the early 50s.
Out of high school Bentley chose the Air Force Academy
because he wanted to fly. Even today, his favorite
assignments are those that give him the opportunity to
fly jet fighter aircraft — the last was in 1997-98
when he served as commander of the 4404th Wing at Prince
Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.
his exemplary military career, Bentley has been clearly
focused on his Christian walk.
he says, “at nearly every location, we have been close
to PCA churches and /or PCA chaplains. I know firsthand
how much it means for the church to reach out to the
the importance of evangelical chaplains, he says, “Over
the years, I have become increasingly more impressed
with the tremendous influence they have with service men
and women. Our military is a cross-section of society.
We have thousands of young people who were raised in our
post-Christian culture and who do not know the Lord. It
is a wonderful place to minister. Though military
chaplains have demanding careers, they have access to a
wonderful mission field — and the government picks up
served as a ruling elder at Westminster Presbyterian in
Alamogordo, New Mexico, and at Spring Meadows
Presbyterian in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a commission
member of the Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission
on Chaplain and Military Personnel — the endorsing
body for PCA and Reformed chaplains. He and his family
attend Calvary Reformed Presbyterian in Hampton, VA.
Major General Bentley Rayburn, a 26-year veteran of the
Air Force, shows how non-chaplain, committed Christians
can complement the efforts of evangelical chaplains and
local churches to create a strong Christian presence
among the military. Director of plans and programs for
Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC), Langley Air Force
Base, VA, Bentley is responsible for plans, programs,
and manpower for the command’s 600 ACC and ACC-gained
units at 275 locations, involving more than 165,000
people and a budget of nearly $20 billion.
Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian, St. Louis, a Kingdom
Campaign conference led to the formation of a number of
“fire teams” among the church’s 1500 members, who
committed to pray daily for church staff and elders.
Jonathan Taylor, minister of congregational outreach,
said, “The conference was tremendous, and our
congregation fully embraced the campaign’s principles
and practices. We’ve seen strong results from our
congregation’s prayers — the Lord is really
by MNA Church Vitality, led by Archie Parrish, the
Kingdom Campaign has been presented with effective
results at several PCA churches.
For details, call MNA: 678-825-1200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Embers to a Flame conferences have typically been
scheduled only once a year, until this year when two
additional meetings were planned specifically for
minority groups: Koreans and African Americans. The
Korean Embers Conference, held last March, was at
Briarwood Presbyterian. It attracted not only Korean
leaders of the PCA, but also leaders of other
denominations. Because of good response, a second such
conference is slated for February, 2002. The
African-American conference will be in late November
(see details below). In 2002, Embers to a Flame
conferences for all church leaders will be held twice
— one in Birmingham and the second in Colorado.
on Revival and Reformation
6 - 8, 2001, Trinity Presbyterian, Jackson, MS.
Speaker: Eric Alexander of Scotland. Pastor of the
foremost church of the Church of Scotland for 20
years. Internationally known for his speaking skills
and evangelical leadership.
a pattern for God-sent, Christ-centered,
leaders/speakers: Ligon Duncan III, Mo Leverett,
Carl Kalberkamp, Jr., Michael Ross, Archie Parrish,
and Harry Reeder.
for a brochure: 601-362-8244.
Register by October 15.
to a Flame Conference — Focus on the African-American
28 - December 1, 2001, Briarwood Presbyterian,
Harry Reeder, Briarwood senior pastor, and Nathaniel
(Hank) Hankerson, urban missions pastor; John
Patrick, Assistant Dean of Birmingham Theological
accommodate bi-vocational pastors, sessions are
evenings plus all day Saturday.
credit may be earned through Birmingham Theological
to a Flame Conferences — All Church Leaders
17 - 20, 2002, Briarwood Presbyterian, Birmingham,
17 - 20, 2002, Village Seven Presbyterian in
Colorado Springs, CO.
information about any Embers conference, visit the
or contact Carolyn Phillips: 205-776-5399 or email@example.com.
All conferences are designed to lead churches to
renewed vitality and health.
the joint MNA/CE&P Mercy Ministry Conference last
March in Atlanta, GA, over 600 people gathered to
explore the theology ••and practice of mercy
ministry based on the theme, “The Call of the
Gospel: Sharing Christ — Showing Mercy.” Following
are excerpts from messages brought by three lead
know what love is. Jesus showed it when He died for
you and me. He didn’t have to. He was the Son of the
Almighty God — He gave up Heaven and His life to die
in your place. That’s the Gospel! And people
desperately need to hear it. We need to understand the
implication of that love from the way Jesus loved us.
He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down
our lives for the brothers. Love is going to cost you
something. •Love is not an idea that we just talk
about. Love is a costly idea. Because when Jesus
Christ comes into your life, He takes over — He
possesses you — He changes you.”
Nabors, MNA Urban & Mercy movement leader and
senior pastor, New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN
have homelessness today because of disconnectedness
— people don’t have the family, the community, the
cushion in place when trouble happens. When families
broke down, when the government forgot its appropriate
role, and when the church stopped being the church, we
opened the door to the pathologies that we have in
this country today. While it is important — even
mandated by God — to meet the individual and
specific needs of people in our communities, it is
also important to reestablish the systems and the
cushion that God ordained to be in place when trouble
comes. We should encourage rebuilding of families,
encourage government to take its proper role, and call
the church to be the church.”
Cole James, former dean of Regent University,
Virginia Beach, VA
John the Baptist asked Jesus’ disciples how he could
know that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus sent the
message back that ‘the lame walk, the dead are
raised, and the poor have the good news preached to
them.’ What Jesus is pointing to is that He doesn’t
just preach the Gospel, but He embodies the Gospel by
His deeds. His entire ministry is summed up in Luke
24:19: ‘He was mighty in word and deed.’ In the
epistles, you find that the church is supposed to be
like its Master — you have elders and deacons. Acts
6 tells us we have word officers and deed officers —
I Peter 4 refers to word gifts and deed gifts…. I
John 3 says don’t love in word only, but also in
Keller, senior pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian, New
(Call or email as
indicated for ordering information.):
Ministries of Mercy — The Call of the Jericho
Road by Tim Keller, Order
Now from CE&P Bookstore
Restorers of Hope by Amy Sherman, Order
Now from CE&P Bookstore
Charitable Choice Handbook for Ministry Leaders,
Sharing God’s Heart for the Poor, both by Amy
Sherman: 434-293-5656 or ShermanA@cstone.net
Urban Ministry: The Kingdom, the City and the People of God by Harvie Conn
and Manuel Ortiz, Order
Now from CE&P Bookstore
and Mercy Directory: firstname.lastname@example.org
MNA Web site for additional resources:
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