Public Service Endorser
Brent Bond, Senior Director of Chaplaincy
“I applied my mind to examine and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 1:13a, CSB).
In considering a companioning presence introduced in the Fall 2022 SBC Chaplaincy newsletter, I thought it helpful to provide some theoretical support.
When I worked as a chaplain at a large hospital, I often faced scrutiny for my chaplaincy methodology from highly educated professionals. A doctor once inquired about the science that supports staying present with someone during a crisis (i.e., a companioning presence).
I shared with him how family systems theories focus on people’s behavior in groups. It acknowledges how others want to be cared for and accepted. According to family systems theory, a non-anxious, non-judgmental person serves as a calming influence for others. Naturally, this person’s presence is the core of a companioning presence.
Later, I discovered several neurophysiological studies establishing how a physical companion can encourage others during difficult experiences. In Daniel Siegel’s The Mindful Brain, he discusses how the mirror neurons in our brain demonstrate the social nature of our brains. As others sense our authentic concerns and our capacity to embed the feeling of others in us, they tend to feel our empathy and remain attuned to us.
Kelly McGonigal demonstrates how we are neurologically hard-wired for a companioning presence in her book, The Upside of Stress. She believes stress helps people connect and strengthen close relationships. When we face stressful difficulties, our brain releases a neurohormone—oxytocin—that fine-tunes the brain’s social instincts to connect with one’s social network. Scientists refer to this as the “tend-and-befriend response.”
Hard evidence demonstrates how God created us to be with others in crisis. In the next SBC Chaplaincy newsletter, I will share the theological support for a companioning presence.
Lord, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for creating me to be in community with others. Help me to understand how staying with others in crisis makes a difference. Amen.
Information to know:
- Every SBC Chaplain is a recruiter. Be aware of the opportunities within your ministry context to recruit chaplains and promote SBC endorsement. Ask people to text “Chaplaincy” to 888123 (msg & data rates may apply) for more information regarding chaplaincy and the pathway to becoming an SBC chaplain.
- How does the Cooperative Program benefit SBC Chaplains? Funds from the Cooperative Program underwrite your endorsement, the maintenance of your endorsement, pastoral support through the Chaplain Ambassador network and continuing education opportunities through regional events, webinars and newsletters.
- Your church is your primary spiritual support network. Share a PDF of your Quarterly Report with your pastor or church leadership. They can celebrate what God is doing in your ministry and offer prayer support. Additionally, it will give you an excellent opportunity to inform them about chaplaincy as a missionary opportunity for other church members.
- Transitioning out of a federal chaplaincy position? Contact me when you start planning your transition from federal to public service chaplaincy so I can come alongside you on this journey.
Brent’s Upcoming Conference and Site Visits:
- May 23-25: Association of Clinical Pastoral Education Annual Meeting (New Orleans, Louisiana)
- June 12-15: SBC Annual Meeting (New Orleans, Louisiana)
- June 22-25: Association of Professional Chaplains Annual Conference (Houston, Texas)
- July 17-21: International Conference of Police Chaplains ATS Conference (Phoenix, Arizona)
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.
The second chapter of Proverbs gives us the three requirements for the “fear of the Lord” and the “knowledge of God.”
- The first is having a receptive heart to the Scripture. God granted us the most precious gift of the living and written Word. When you desire to serve God, knowing Him through the Scripture and submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit is imperative.
- Christians must diligently seek His will and righteousness. Jesus came and accomplished the will of God and commanded His disciples to continually seek the will of the Father (see Matt. 5:33). When chaplains seek to only do their agenda and receive glory for themselves, they use the name of God in vain. They cannot maintain integrity. It is seeking the will of the Father that ushers us to obedience and helps us reject the temptation of indifference.
- Recognize that all things come from God. Do you want to preserve both spiritual and moral integrity? Then shift your focus from your agenda to His will.
We are the recipients of God’s grace and must live a life worthy of His calling. May we fear the Lord and be full of the knowledge of God.
Information to know:
- Monthly Chaplain Candidate Roundtable: In March we initiated a monthly “Roundtable” for SBC chaplain candidates which meets on the first Tuesday of each month at noon and 3 p.m. We had 17 chaplain candidates update their current status and share prayer requests at our first meeting on March 7.
- Mentorship: I am collecting resumes for potential senior chaplain mentors. This process is somewhat slow; however, it is a necessary step to positioning the mentorship process for the SBC Chaplaincy. For those I’ve contacted already, thank you for your quick response. If interested, please submit your resume as we implement this mentorship initiative.
- Designated Giving: Consider supporting us by designating a gift to “Chaplaincy.” Give online or mail your gift to 4200 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022. Thank you!
Sam’s Site Visits:
- Date TBD, Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Date TBD, Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida
Below are the Europe and Asia training dates. Please make sure to mark your calendar and plan accordingly.
- Europe Training: October 30-November 1, 2023, Garmisch, Germany
- Asia Training: December 4-6, DHL, Seoul, Korea
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 April 25, 2023