Chaplain Ambassadors

By Keith N. Croom, Ed.D

After serving our nation as an Army chaplain for a total of 31 years, I’ve recently stepped away from the uniform and joined the ranks of the SBC Chaplaincy team serving as their chaplaincy pastoral care manager. During my years of military service, the Southern Baptist Convention endorsed me, providing me with ministry-enhancing regional training, online resources, local visits, personal friendships and encouragement along the journey. As our family moved from one duty station to another, the SBC Chaplaincy team ensured we remained connected, supported and resourced.

Our family developed a habit of gathering with local SBC chaplain families as an opportunity for connection and continuity, finding support with each other and a chance to share concerns from each of our frontline ministries. We were constantly amazed and grateful to find SBC chaplains at each location.

Together with my wife, Kelly, we now work to give back by encouraging a pathway of care for our 3,300 chaplains as they serve across the country and around the world. We can’t accomplish this monumental task alone. Our primary source of help comes from a group of 13 chaplain ambassadors who care for our chaplains and their families directly. The SBC ambassadors carry most of the pastoral care work, and Kelly and I are always amazed by their excellence in doing so.

For more than seven years, the chaplain ambassador program has worked to fulfill our endorsed chaplains’ connection and resourcing needs as they serve in federal and public service areas. These ambassadors provide focused care for SBC chaplains, offering prayer, encouragement and a connection point to the North American Mission Board, headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Chaplain ambassadors are former or currently serving chaplains with a heart for support. Their purpose is to strengthen support systems, broaden professional networks and enhance the ministry of fellow chaplains. The ambassadors use many methods of communication, from text and email to face-to-face meetings. Contracted for part-time ministry, they pour themselves into this ministry with great passion and purpose as partners.

There are currently 13 chaplain ambassadors (see list below). Within this stellar team, we have more than 475 combined years of ministry and 450 years of married life, including 38 children and 31 grandchildren (and counting). We eagerly anticipate building community within our families and among our chaplains.

Additionally, we have an international ambassador, a national ambassador for women and two ambassadors who serve the Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander chaplains. Eleven serve as regional ambassadors, with regions varying in size from one to 12 states incorporating 100–750 chaplains, respectfully.

Every chaplain has access to support. If you have not already connected with your chaplain ambassador, I encourage you to reach out and introduce yourself today.

Chaplain Ambassadors:

Terry Whiteside
Region 1: Florida and Georgia
[email protected]            470-662-9177

Jeffrey Renken
Region 2: North Carolina
[email protected]                            919-819-5503

Scott Squires
Region 3: South Carolina
[email protected]                   253-732-3273

Jesse Quintero
Region 4: Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
[email protected]             940-257-9340

Harlan Kimball
Region 5: Virginia, Washington D.C., Mid-Atlantic, Northeast
[email protected]                             910-787-5414

Richard Worshill
Region 6: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia
[email protected]                   847-254-7702

Mike Crowell
Region 7: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
[email protected]              816-678-8358

Manuel “Don” Biadog
Region 8: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah
[email protected]        858-444-7125

Joseph Payne
Region 9: Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
[email protected]               308-627-2098

Michael Koontz
Region 10: Kentucky and Tennessee
[email protected]               865-208-0031

Bitrus Cobongs
Region 11: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana
[email protected]                    214-563-7514

Phyllis McMinn Brewer: National Chaplain Ambassador for Women
[email protected]                864-554-8367

Jeff Nevin: International Chaplain Ambassador
Europe, Pacific, Canada, Guam, Alaska, Hawaii
[email protected]                +49 152 27714508

Published September 26, 2023

Keith N. Croom, Ed.D

Keith serves as NAMB’s chaplaincy pastoral care manager providing pastoral care oversight to Southern Baptist chaplains and their families. His wife, Kelly, and a team of chaplain ambassadors support him in this effort.