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In this video update NAMB President Kevin Ezell shares what Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are doing to help survivors of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.
Date Created: 5/23/2013 2:10:08 PM
In this video, veterans remember how they saw God at work through Southern Baptist military chaplains. Consider sharing this Sunday as part of a Memorial Day observance.
Date Created: 5/23/2013 2:05:16 PM
By Joe Conway
APLHARETTA, Ga. – The North American Mission Board is
encouraging churches to use Independence Day as an opportunity to honor members
of the military, chaplains and veterans for their extraordinary service.
July thousands of our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace from
Afghanistan,” says Doug Carver, executive director for chaplaincy services at
NAMB. “Our military forces and their families have successfully engaged in a
12-year combat deployment post 9/11. The unsung heroes among all of those
returning from combat environments are chaplains, including our pastors in uniform,
endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention.
Chaplain (Major General Retired) Carver says churches play a
more vital role in chaplaincy than some members may realize. That role is
essential, Carver believes.
“The personal connection and contact
that churches provide for chaplains is so important in helping meet their own
personal needs and assisting their military families, particularly in the
chaplain’s absence,” says Carver, who served as U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains
before his retirement. “Southern Baptist Churches are a critical lifeline for
our chaplains who are called and sent out by their local church to carry the gospel
of Jesus Christ to members of the Armed Services. Chaplains minister to our
troops as an extension of the church’s ministry to the military.”
Carver recommends churches use either the Sunday before or
after Independence Day to honor returning members of the military, veterans and
chaplains. He suggests an order of service including patriotic hymns and the
inclusion of a testimony from a chaplain or veteran.
“A worship service honoring our veterans is especially
meaningful this year as our Nation marks 40 years since the end of U.S. combat
operations in Vietnam,” said Carver. “On March 29, 1973, the last of our combat
forces departed the country and with the final release of American prisoners of
war, the conflict drew to a close.”
President Barack Obama has proclaimed May 28, 2012, through
November 11, 2025, as a 13-year commemoration of the 50th anniversary
of the Vietnam War. The President is
calling for all Americans to honor Vietnam veterans, the fallen, the wounded,
those unaccounted for, former prisoners of war, their families and all who
served during the war.
NAMB has produced a set of 50 prayer cards to assist
Southern Baptists in praying for military chaplains. Each Southern Baptist
church will receive a set of the free cards along with instructions for
ordering more. Churches can download military ministry videos at namb.net/chaplaincy.
The website also includes suggestions for conducting a
service to honor members of the military.
In addition, NAMB has produced a tool for churches that want
to commission members to the mission field as chaplains or missionaries. The
commissioning resources include everything a church needs to conduct a
commissioning service for a chaplain or missionary. Information about the commissioning
guide is also available at namb.net/chaplaincy.
Carver says the Independence Day emphasis is not only a way
churches can honor military members, but also a way to show Southern Baptists
how their efforts through chaplaincy have a significant impact every day. Marine
Major Keith Warren is one
who experienced that impact first hand.
When a chaplain asked to speak with him in December 2005, he
assumed there was bad news for someone under his command.
“I expected him to tell me that
one of my Marines’ had a family emergency. To my surprise, it was me who had
the family emergency,” said Warren, who was serving in Iraq at the time.
Warren had left his new wife
alone at home to deliver their first son. The child was lost at delivery.
immediately began to blame myself for not being there to prevent the incident
from happening,” said Warren, presently
in Afghanistan with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “(The chaplain)
listened patiently as I beat myself up for doing my job, deploying and leaving
my newlywed wife to give birth to our child alone. He calmly talked to me
about how the situation was beyond my, my wife’s and family control.
chaplain helped me see that there was nothing that we could have done to
prevent our loss. He said a prayer for my wife, our son and me. He provided
a list of contacts and resources to help us heal from our loss.”
Warren’s story is an example of
why Carver asks churches to consider testimonies as part of a service honoring
veterans to give a testimony, both of how Christ provided for their needs when they
served, and their faithfulness to Christ during their military service,” said
Carver. “This may also include the service provided to them by chaplains. It
would be appropriate to honor the families of, and the memories of, those who
lost their lives in service to our country.”
To explore how your
church can honor and support veterans and chaplains, learn about the chaplaincy
prayer cards or commissioning kit, or to view videos about NAMB SBC chaplaincy,
visit namb.net/chaplaincy. To view a video
honoring veterans and chaplain service, visit www.namb.net/video/war-stories/
Joe Conway writes for the North American Mission
Board. Portions of this article will be published in the Summer 2013 edition of
On Mission, onmission.com.
Date Created: 5/23/2013 12:39:49 PM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC