Public Service Endorser
Brent Bond, Senior Director of Chaplaincy
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him’” (Genesis 2:18, CSB).
One morning while I visited the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a patient’s nurse asked me to join the medical staff to discuss a patient’s future treatment plan with his family.
The patient, now in the ICU because staff had found him unresponsive in his hospital room, suffered from several chronic ailments, including AIDS, lung cancer, neuropathy and an esophageal mass.
Upon my arrival, the neurologist, intensivist and nurse were already in the room meeting with the family. The doctors shared their recommendations to provide only comfort care, including removing artificial hydration and nutrition.
Once the medical staff answered all their questions, the family’s focus shifted toward me, the chaplain. “I know why the doctors and nurse are here,” declared the patient’s oldest brother, “but why are you here?”
Never underestimate the ministry of presence.
I’ve heard this assertion many times during my work as a chaplain. The Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling defines “ministry of presence” in the pastoral office as a “vulnerability to and participation in the life-world of those served . . . [and] may take the specific form of silent witness.”
I prefer identifying this aspect of ministry as a companioning presence. A companioning presence means being with people because God created humans to be social. In the New American Commentary Series, Kenneth Matthews writes, “Isolation is not the divine norm for human beings; community is the creation of God.”
It is not clear how long Adam worked in Eden before God realized that “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). John Walton explains in The NIV Application Commentary, “When something is ‘good,’ it is functioning as God intended.” This statement of “not good” is the first instance of its use in Genesis and indicates something not right. God’s concern is that Adam was alone (Genesis 2:20). Again, commentator Kenneth Matthews points out, “God has created human life to have fellowship with him but to also be a social entity, building relationships with other human beings.”
How would you respond to why you stay with someone during a crisis? Why do you, as a chaplain, provide a companioning presence with others? Rather than just a mantra, several studies demonstrate how a physical companion helps others during these difficult experiences. I will share some of them with you in the next SBC Chaplaincy newsletter.
Lord, thank you for creating me to be with others. Help me to see how your incarnational ministry through me as a chaplain makes a difference. Amen.
Information to know:
- SBC Chaplaincy endorsement is more than a “box to check.” Although the primary reason many people seek ecclesiastical endorsement is that their institution requires it, below are other reasons/benefits to endorsement:
- Helps to clarify one’s calling to chaplaincy ministry through the application process
- Gives tangible affirmation of your chaplaincy calling by 15 million SBC members and over 45,000 SBC churches
- Offers a support network with other SBC chaplains
- Provides regional professional development training for chaplains each year
- Promotes pastoral care through our Chaplain Ambassador program
- Nurtures prayer support from the SBC Chaplaincy Team, NAMB and beyond
- Gives field guidance as needed on current issues that chaplains are facing in their ministry setting
- Provides a theological base from a recognized denomination upon which you perform or provide spiritual care/rituals in your ministry setting
- Protects your institution by only having properly vetted and qualified SBC chaplains
- Why should your church consider sending a chaplain as a missionary? Share a PDF of your Quarterly Report with your pastor or church leadership so they can celebrate what God is doing in your life and ministry for prayer support. Additionally, it will give you an excellent opportunity to inform them about chaplaincy as a missionary opportunity for other church members.
- Chaplaincy Data Scrub: A data cleanup team is assisting with personally updating 4,500 NAMB chaplaincy records. You may get a notice from them stating such as they examine your records. They should complete the data scrub by the end of October 2023.
- Transitioning out of a federal chaplaincy position? Contact me when you start planning your transition from federal to public service chaplaincy so that I can come alongside you on this journey.
Brent’s Upcoming Conference and Site Visits:
- September 16-19: Ohio Site visit and SCBO DR Training (Columbus, Ohio)
- September 28-30: SBC PrayerLink Network Gathering (Ridgecrest, North Carolina)
- October 17-19: Ridgecrest CPDT (Ridgecrest, North Carolina)
- December 1-10: Korea CPDT (Seoul, South Korea)
Samuel Lee, Director of Chaplaincy
Regarding Ministry Limitations as an Endorsed SBC Chaplain
When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman by the well, He told her, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life” (John 4:13-14). The Samaritan woman hoped the water would quench her physical thirst. Interested in her spiritual life, Jesus told her that He would provide a flowing fountain of water, ushering her into eternal life.
Jesus’ promise has been the foundation of ministry for two millennia and is still the cornerstone of our chaplaincy. SBC Chaplains provide living water, the gospel, to those who thirst for the truth in a chaotic world.
Understanding our limitations and boundaries is a good indicator of our overall health. Healthy chaplains have three common characteristics amid difficulties: accountability, gratitude and obligation.
A strong chaplain intentionally builds a system of accountability to avoid moral pitfalls.
Notice the “Who is your mentor/mentee?” question in the Quarterly Report. The reason for this question is to help you discuss your struggles and obstacles with your accountability partner(s). If you haven’t, it’s not too late to seek a godly mentor. Ask a senior SBC chaplain to serve as your mentor. If you need help, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
The attitude of thanksgiving is a sure sign of dependency on God. One way to express gratitude is to share a storyboard of God’s actions in your life and those around you. What a way to express your appreciation to the Lord and encourage fellow chaplains!
Let me encourage you to reflect on your responsibilities to your family, community and the Lord. Many of you are already deeply committed to your family. Keep it up and stay mindful of the cross of Christ in your ultimate dedication.
Annual Training Requirement
All Federal Endorsed Chaplains MUST attend Annual Chaplaincy Professional Development Training (CPDT). This requirement is not an option to maintain ecclesiastical endorsement. Federal funding is available for the annual training for most cases and should be worked through your chain of command.
For training-related information, please email Antione Robinson or call him at 770-410-6227.
Overseas Training in 2022
Please do not wait to register. There is limited space available for these events.
Please update your endorsement and be mindful of the time and process requirements:
- Time: minimum two weeks
- Process: completion of “Background Check” and “Endorsement Update Form,” then video interview with the Federal Endorser
For more information, please email Ms. Noolie Yoon, Endorsement Consultant, or call her at 770-410-6364.
Recruiting Chaplain Candidates
The Chaplain Candidate Program (CCP) is for a seminary student to experience the U.S. military as a commissioned officer while studying master’s level (M.Div equivalent) courses before they become a chaplain in the military. It is a great program and we are looking for more SBC members to participate.
The application process can begin at the end of a student’s junior year in college and there is no better recruiter than you, our chaplains.
Please refer college or seminary students to our office:
- As our way of thanking you for the referral and support, if your referred student completes the application process, we will send you a FREE SBC Chaplaincy gift.
- For any CCP questions or referrals, please get in touch with me or call me at 770-410-6118.
I am praying for you.
Brent Bond, SBC Senior Director of Chaplaincy, serves as the Public Service Endorser for Southern Baptist Chaplains.
Samuel Lee, SBC Director of Chaplaincy, serves as the Federal Endorser for Southern Baptist Chaplains.
Published September 21, 2022