By Samuel Lee
Peace be with you.
I am grateful for this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Samuel Lee, and I am the Director of Chaplaincy and the Federal Endorser of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The past 29 years as a U.S. Army Chaplain has been a great ride. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, I had a rather hasty retirement ceremony at the U.S. Forces Korea at Camp Humphreys, with my bride of 32 years beside me. Although I never imagined the negative impact of COVID-19 has had in our world, the Lord has been gracious to our family. Both Hannah and I are at peace with our decision to step into this new ministry.
I am still in transition (just got my first vehicle two days ago and still unpacking one of three household goods), but I’m enjoying virtual meetings with many chaplains. However, I will be able to present my initial assessment to the broad audience, including you, in the next 60 days.
As I work with various organizations and different personalities, this is my philosophy of ministry:
Commitment is first and foremost. Our service begins with the determination to serve the Lord. One’s salvation experience is a must and prerequisite for the service. Some senior leaders are setting a bad example by defining “calling” as a vocational commitment to a particular institution such as Army, VA, or any specific service they are leading. However, we are never called to an institution, but to God. In many instances, a sincere and deep sense of commitment to the Lord in His mercy is the only reason to overcome impossible obstacles.
Second, cooperation is the key to success. Christ is the head of the church, and we are a part of the body of Christ. As each part works together with other parts, we must work together to glorify the Lord. In SBC Chaplaincy, cooperation means mentorship, reporting, recruiting and training. The motto, “One for All, All for One” is not just for the Three Musketeers. It’s also for us. Let’s work together to glorify God by demonstrating unity in Christ.
Third, competency is an indicator of maturity. The greatest oxymoron is “an incompetent leader.” Such a person brings so much chaos to an institution and deteriorates the moral fiber of the organization. We, SBC Chaplaincy, must develop capable chaplains in every echelon by supporting various training venues as well as advocating our chaplains as their champions. I do believe that there is no better denomination than the Southern Baptist Convention in terms of chaplaincy support. We must not stop our effort to lead the way for all others.
Once again, thank the Lord for His grace mercy for you and me. Let’s work together to honor God.
Dr. Samuel Lee is the Director of Chaplaincy and Federal Endorser for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.