NEW ORLEANS – The setting sun cast a warm glow over the bustling streets of New Orleans as a group of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) chaplains made their way to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Monday, June 12.
With its rich historical significance, the museum provided the perfect backdrop for the nearly 300 chaplains who gathered.
From military to disaster relief and police to fire chaplains, the event provided a special occasion for these dedicated servants from different corners of the nation to gather, tour the museum and share in a time of prayer and encouragement.
These men and women understand the trials and challenges of their unique calling. Their shared experiences have formed a bond, making events like this all the more special.
“I heard once that when the world’s greatest needs and your passion intersect that’s where God is going to use you the most. And that’s, I believe, been the testimony of a lot of our Southern Baptist chaplains,” said retired Chaplain Maj. Gen. Doug Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board (NAMB). “They’ve seen the need, they’ve had a passion, and God has used them and is using them dramatically to share the good news of Jesus Christ.”
After some brief remarks from Carver and recognition of special guests, those in attendance found themselves immersed in the harrowing tales of heroism, sacrifice and resilience that unfolded throughout World War II. As they traversed the halls, the chaplains absorbed the weighty significance of the exhibits.
They studied the uniforms, weapons and personal mementos of the brave men and women who had fought for freedom. They read firsthand accounts of those who had served on the front lines.
Amid the somber atmosphere, the chaplains found community in their shared mission and faith in God. They exchanged stories of their triumphant and challenging experiences, finding strength in knowing they were not alone in their journey. The bonds of camaraderie grew stronger as they walked side by side, offering support and encouragement to one another.
Samuel Lee, director of chaplaincy noted that the setting was especially poignant for the guests because they know firsthand the challenges faced by those experiencing trauma, pain, suffering, separation from loved ones and the mental and emotional toll of serving others.
Each chaplain was also gifted with a compass to remind them that they are to point the people they serve to Christ during the wilderness journeys they are experiencing.
The chaplains bowed their heads as Brent Bond, NAMB’s senior director of chaplaincy, led them in a heartfelt prayer.
Together they prayed for strength, guidance and wisdom in their ministry. They prayed for the men and women they serve, seeking protection and comfort amid challenging circumstances. And they prayed for unity among the chaplaincy community so that they may continue to provide hope and encouragement to those in need.
As the gathering ended, the chaplains felt a profound sense of peace. The meeting reaffirmed their commitment to their calling—they understand they don’t do this alone.
With renewed spirits and strengthened resolve, they departed the National World War II Museum ready to face the challenges ahead, armed with the power of prayer and the support of their fellow chaplains.
United in purpose and faith, the SBC chaplains carry the torch of hope into the lives of those who need it most, embodying the legacy of compassion and service set before them.
Published June 15, 2023