SBC Chaplains encouraged, informed at reception

By Josie Rabbitt and Daryn Sinclair

BIRMINGHAM (BP) —The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)’s Chaplain’s Reception at the annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., this June featured speakers who encouraged chaplains and those interested in chaplaincy as they look toward the future.

“We were honored to have General Douglas L. Carver speak on our ministry overview and highlight what we do and who we serve,” said Brent Bond, senior director of chaplaincy at the North American Mission Board (NAMB). “Also discussed at the SBC chaplain reception were the newly rewritten changes in SBC Chaplaincy endorsement manual and chaplaincy’s future training events.”

Retired Maj. Gen. Douglas L. Carver speaks during the Chaplain’s Reception during the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Ala. Carver serves as the executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board. Over the course of 2018, chaplains gave nearly 50,000 gospel presentations that resulted in nearly 12,000 professions of faith.Photo by Casey Jones.

The chaplain reception was an opportunity for SBC chaplains to be in fellowship together while they enjoyed drinks and appetizers provided by NAMB. During the reception, the chaplains were encouraged to build new relationships and become acquainted with others that serve in the same ministry. The reception was a time to honor the great work SBC chaplains are doing to spread the gospel to all corners of the world.

“The reception was also a wonderful way for chaplains to meet each other and share stories as well as encourage one another,” Bond added.

“At NAMB, we want chaplains to know we stand with them. They are never alone in this unique ministry.”

During the 2018 Chaplain Report, Carver revealed uplifting statistics about the steadfast commitment Southern Baptist chaplains have in sharing the gospel worldwide. Over the course of 2018, chaplains gave 47,931 gospel presentations, which resulted in 11,779 professions of faith and 3,092 baptisms.

“That’s your legacy,” Carver explained as he described the statistics to the audience of chaplains. “That’s your metric for keeping the gospel above all.”

Carver outlined five goals for chaplaincy to consider as they move forward:

  • Endorsing the best Southern Baptist chaplains to work toward the Great Commission;
  • Providing pastoral care to our 3,600+ chaplains;
  • Conducting annual chaplain training events;
  • Facilitating church planting near military communities;
  • Supporting three Military Collegiate Catalysts.

“Chaplaincy is a unique and distinct calling,” Carver explained. “Through every circumstance, NAMB is here to provide care for each and every SBC chaplain through any hardship they may face.”

During the reception, Carver welcomed Sean Tibleton, a recruiting assistant for marketplace chaplains, to speak on the importance of corporate ministry. Tibleton urged SBC chaplaincy to extend its reach, through prayer and resourses, to business and corporations.

“The 9-5 is the new mission field,” Tibleton said. “marketplace chaplains work to share God’s love and gospel in the corporate working place.”

In addition, the reception featured speaker Matt Hawkins, the former policy director for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who spoke to chaplains about the distress military personnel experience as a result of having their personal beliefs violated. Hawkins explained the effects of moral injury on Southern Baptist chaplains that serve our nation and what resources are available for chaplains enduring these hardships.

In some of the most emotionally intense and spiritually fraught circumstances imaginable, chaplains bring the light of Christ. On behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention, NAMB endorses and provides continued education and support for thousands of chaplains across many mission fields in North America and beyond.

Learn more about chaplaincy, support this ministry or find a chaplain near you at

Josie Rabbitt and Daryn Sinclair write for the North American Mission Board.
MASHALLTOWN, Iowa (BP) — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams have begun cleanup work in Marshalltown, Iowa, following a devastating tornado July 19.

A Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief team arrived Tuesday to set up incident command at Iglesia Karios in Marshalltown. Chainsaw teams from Iowa have dispersed throughout the city to clear debris. An SBDR feeding team has prepared meals for recovery workers in the area.

Additional SBDR volunteers from Kansas-Nebraska and Florida already are on the ground in Marshalltown. Carlson, co-director of Iowa Baptist Disaster Relief, expects volunteers from other nearby states to arrive later this week and early next week. Teams from other states interested in providing assistance should contact their state disaster relief director.

“It looks like a war zone to tell you the truth,” Carlson said. “When you go downtown, you’ll see a lot of glass and brick everywhere.

“On the east part of town, there are about 10 blocks that are very heavily hit. There’s really not many trees standing. A lot of those homes aren’t livable,” Carlson said.

The EF-3 tornado injured at least 235 people in the town of 27,000 located 50 miles northeast of Des Moines. Carlson estimates that at least 100 homes were destroyed. Many more homes will take substantial work before people can return to live in them. Carlson believes it will take months, if not years, for Marshalltown to rebuild.

Some of the worst damage in Marshalltown came to the town’s courthouse and the brick buildings in the town square. In recent years officials and property owners had slowly worked to revamp the buildings, many of which are now destroyed. Jenny Etter, executive director of the Marshalltown Central Business District, estimates that the city had spent $50 million in building renovations since 2002.

A dozen or more tornadoes hit central Iowa last Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The two biggest tornadoes, both rated EF-3, hit Marshalltown and Pella, with peak winds of 144 mph.

SBDR chaplains are also in Marshalltown to provide support and counsel to residents impacted by the tornado. Sam Porter, the North American Mission Board’s executive director of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, prays the SBDR response will provide volunteers opportunities to share the Gospel.

“[The] number one goal with disaster relief is to earn the right to share the Gospel,” Porter said. “We work with those impacted. We treat them with respect. We pray with them. When they ask the question, ‘What makes you do this for no charge?’ that’s when you’ve earned the right to share the Gospel.”

The Marshalltown tornado comes on the heels of the SBDR response to flooding in Des Moines, Iowa, where teams wrapped up work last week. Eight people came to faith last week during SBDR efforts in the capital city, Carlson said.

Porter and Carlson urge Southern Baptists to pray for Marshalltown and the rest of Central Iowa.

“Pray for all the people who live here,” Carlson said. “A lot of them lost their homes. They lost their cars. They lost their job. There is a lot of a need here.”

Tobin Perry is a writer for the North American Mission Board.,

Published June 18, 2019