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Editor’s note: The North
American Mission Board’s evangelism ministries are focused on six primary areas:
Evangelism Networks/Resources, Chaplaincy, LoveLoud ministry evangelism, Disaster
Relief, Church Revitalization and Collegiate evangelism. This article, the
first in a series of six, spotlights chaplaincy ministries.
By Tobin Perry
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – From
foreign battlefields to American corporate board rooms to hospital bedsides to
the front seats of police cars and more, Southern Baptists minister through
their chaplains in some of the most hard-to-reach locations of North America.
have continued to see the need to send chaplains to places where the church may
not have access,” said Doug Carver, the North American Mission Board’s
executive director for Southern Baptist chaplaincy and retired chief of
chaplains for the U.S. Army. “They provide the ministry of presence, provide
the good news of Jesus Christ, opportunities to evangelize and witness—and
sustain the faith of Southern Baptists who are in those places.”
Carver notes that
Southern Baptist chaplains—serving in military, institutional, counseling,
disaster relief, corporate and public safety roles—extend the evangelistic
reach of SBC churches throughout North America and around the world.
Chaplaincy is one
of six areas of focus for NAMB’s evangelism group. He says while evangelism at
times happens differently in the military and organizational contexts where
chaplains serve, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is a critical part of any
chaplain’s ministry environment. In 2013 SBC chaplains presented the gospel to
over 125,000 people and baptized more than 3,700.
preach during our worship services here on post at our Protestant services,
they have the freedom to preach a powerful evangelistic message,” said Col.
Jeff Houston, the installation chaplain at Fort Campbell, Ky. “We regularly
baptize folks who have come to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.”
Often the critical
places and times when chaplains serve provide open doors for ministry that
aren’t available to the local church.
“When we walk into
the room of someone who is not a Christian, our approach is to provide pastoral
care,” said Jim Wright, a Southern Baptist chaplain serving as the director of
pastoral care at Baptist Hospital in Paducah, Ky. “But eventually the
missionary aspect will come out. We’ve had many opportunities to lead people to
Carver notes that
NAMB’s chaplaincy team is focused on four main areas over the next year. First,
NAMB will focus on providing care, support and appreciation for chaplains on
the field. Carver noted that when chaplains are fulfilling their pastoral roles,
they’re often doing so in some of the most difficult circumstances.
critical, and often tragic, moments of life that chaplains provide an
invaluable ministry of the presence of God to those seeking peace, comfort, and
hope in a particular life situation. Obviously,” he added, “when our chaplains
are engaged in that demanding and emotionally draining role, they need pastoral
embracing chaplains will mean giving them more frequent opportunities to share
their stories in SBC churches. He also says his team is working on a strategy
to help re-engage chaplains in the ministries of local churches once their
chaplaincy ministry concludes.
chaplaincy team will continue to educate churches on the ministry of all of its
chaplains and about their own opportunities to serve the military. As part of
that effort, NAMB has produced a toolkit (http://www.namb.net/Honoring-Military-Service_Members-and-Chaplains/) to help churches honor and appreciate
chaplains in their midst. NAMB is also encouraging churches to adopt chaplains.
churches don’t realize that they have chaplains and veterans in their midst,”
Carver said. “We want to increase the awareness so that chaplains can help
local churches in their evangelistic efforts.”
NAMB will continue
to come alongside of churches and help them reach out to the military community
among their members and around them.
“Just because of
the way God works, those serving in the military are often searching
spiritually,” said Gary Sanders, the founder and president of Military Missions
Network and the pastor of military missions at First Baptist Church of Norfolk,
Va. “It is a tremendous opportunity to share the love of Christ with them
because they are looking for relationships, they are looking for stability,
they are looking for hope. And of course all of those things can be found in
God through Jesus Christ.”
ministry at FBC Norfolk is an example of this. Among other service
opportunities, FBC Norfolk provides their building and childcare for military
Family Readiness Groups.
“Just by serving
the military that opens all kinds of doors of getting to know them and to get
into conversations with them about Christ,” Sanders said. “We serve them in
word and deed.”
Third, Carver and
his team are developing a strategy to help pastors and denominational leaders
incorporate chaplains into their ministry plans. Often, Carver says, chaplains
have ministry expertise that can help in other efforts, but those planning the
efforts don’t know of their availability.
chaplaincy is working toward a long-term strategy of developing a church plant
ministry near every U.S. military base in the world. At this point, Carver
says, NAMB is in the process of talking with leaders in each North American
region about what it would take to increase military ministry around U.S.
NAMB recently made
the strategic move to appoint a military church planting catalyst to help
foster church plants to better serve members of the military and their
families. U.S. Marine Reserve Captain Endel Lee accepted the position in
January. Lee brings a 33-year career as a reservist, 20 as a chaplain to the
work. Lee has also served as the national Southern Baptist Disaster Relief
chaplaincy coordinator since 2006.
Carver notes that,
although there are strong military-focused churches and Christian organizations
already supporting many of these bases, there aren’t nearly enough to properly
reach these military communities with the gospel.
information about NAMB chaplaincy, visit http://www.namb.net/chaplaincy. Listen to a
podcast to discover more about chaplain ministry.
Perry writes for the
North American Mission Board.
God works through His people, the Church. The Bible makes it very clear. The local church is central in God’s plan to move the gospel throughout the world. That’s why the evangelism teams at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) are geared to encourage and extend the ministries of the local church.
Date Created: 3/12/2014 2:38:38 AM
By H. Al Gilbert
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – God works through
His people, the Church. The Bible makes it very clear. The
local church is central in God’s plan to move the gospel throughout the world.
That’s why the evangelism teams at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) are
geared to encourage and extend the ministries of the local church.
We believe in the continuum of
church—every evangelism effort should be rooted in and flow back into the local
church. NAMB’s role becomes clear in the light of this conviction.
North America needs more churches. This
may not be apparent in your community but it is clear when we look at the
density and diversity of our cities—especially outside the South region. In
many places Southern Baptists must plant more evangelistic churches if we want
to proclaim Christ and disciple new believers in every place in North America.
Many established churches need help.
As we learn from the challenges of church planting in the cities, we can better
serve established churches struggling with how to share Christ in a changing
and diverse culture. We are committed to discovering best practices for
effective ministry and sharing these approaches with Southern Baptist churches
NAMB’s evangelism teams are encouraging
the local church through:
NAMB’s evangelism teams are extending
the local church through:
The Great Commission was given to
every believer and every church. It is exciting to work together with
you—encouraging and extending the ministry of the local church—seeking to share
the good news of Christ with every person in North America.
Al Gilbert is vice president for
evangelism at the North American Mission Board.
From foreign battlefields to American corporate board rooms to hospital bedsides to the front seats of police cars and more, Southern Baptists minister through their chaplains in some of the most hard-to-reach locations of North America.
Date Created: 3/12/2014 1:59:01 AM
By Sara Shelton
NEW YORK – One of the biggest parts of the
continued Sandy Rebuild effort is the arrival of college students sacrificing
their spring breaks to serve the people of Staten Island. This year Southern
Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers will welcome close to 200 students
from more than six states over the course of two weeks to aid in the cleanup
and rebuild work on the Island.
When Ronda and Randy Corn arrived in Staten Island, N.Y.,
in November 2012—just five days after Hurricane Sandy
made landfall—they didn’t
think they would still be there today.
“Randy and I have been here since the beginning,”
Ronda Corn explains, “and
we plan to stay until the end. There’s
still such a mess here—homes are gutted and unlivable,
people are displaced. Below the surface there is just so much hurt. Time has
passed and media attention has faded, but the people here still need so much
Serving under local construction team leaders and fellow
SBDR volunteers, students will work on hanging sheet rock, tiling floors, hanging doors, putting up
walls—anything to help homes become livable once again.
“The students work with a construction team leader and learn
a lot about skilled labor,” Corn explains. “It’s
hard work but really an awesome experience.”
The experience is a stark contrast to the way many college
students spend spring break. SBDR built a volunteer village on a three-acre
field on Staten Island, complete with shower, kitchen and water units. Students
will camp in tents built specifically for Sandy Rebuild workers. With New York
closing out one of its roughest winter’s
yet, volunteers face the difficult challenge of braving the elements.
“Weather conditions this season haven’t
made our work easy, and we’ve tried to prepare students for the
potential wet and cold weather we’ve
seen all season,” Corn says. “They’re
all still excited to serve. For all of us, it’s
not about the project itself; it’s about the people. That’s
been our motto from day one, and keeping the hearts of the people we’re
serving in mind has helped tremendously on the difficult days.”
It’s not just the hearts of the people
they’re serving, but the hearts of the college students as well
that the Corns and their team hope to see changed.
“Our main goal is that the gospel goes out to the people,
both the ones we’re serving in Staten Island and the
college students here doing the work,”
Corn says. “There are opportunities for the body
of Christ to minister both inside and outside our camp.”
Just last year the Corns met a student named Belle. Though
she didn’t know Christ, she signed up to serve
with her fellow students. She returned to her campus after the week with a new
curiosity about Christ and, after talking with her group leader, placed her
faith in Christ. This year, Belle is returning to serve and share what Christ
did in her life through service to Staten Island last year.
“It’s an incredible story,”
Corn says. “This girl came to know Christ, and
since then, has been walking with her roommate as she begins to seek Christ in
her own life. She’s even kept in touch with the
homeowners she served last year, helping point them to Christ as well. Just one
story like this—one soul coming to know the Lord
through serving here—that makes all the difference.”
Students have virtually year-round service opportunities
now with Sandy Rebuild. To explore more about assisting in New York, visit http://www.namb.net/sandy.
From its disaster operations center
in Alpharetta, Ga., NAMB coordinates Southern Baptist responses to major
disasters through a partnership between NAMB and the SBC’s 42 state conventions, most of which
have their own state disaster relief programs.
Southern Baptists and others who want
to donate to the disaster relief operations can contact their state conventions
or contribute to NAMB’s
disaster relief fund via http://www.namb.net/disaster-relief-donations. Other ways to
donate are to call 866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543,
Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”
Sara Shelton writes for the North American Mission Board.
Date Created: 3/11/2014 4:20:04 PM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC