Where the Church Cannot Go

Every day, these Southern Baptist chaplains go to places where no one else can go and share Christ with the people they find there.


Justin Combs

Military Chaplain

Sometimes people think that military chaplains can’t talk about Jesus, and that’s not the case at all. Those doors are wide open to me, so we are, in essence, missionaries who’ve been sent to a very specific mission field. What’s really hard about it is that with the ebb and flow of the military, people could be gone tomorrow, and I may never see them again. So I have zero time to waste when it comes to building relationships. Every conversation is critical.”

There are more than 1,000 Southern Baptist chaplains serving in all branches of the U.S. military.

Kenneth Herman

Correctional Chaplain

We’re surrounded by murderers, child molesters and drug dealers, and people ask me all the time how I can work with these people. For me, it all comes back to this question: do I love God enough to share the gospel with anybody and everybody? God hasn’t thrown these people away. He still cares for them. And it truly is impactful when Christ grabs hold of somebody who you never thought was going to change and there’s a radical transformation that takes place. I see it all the time.”

More than 250 Southern Baptist chaplains share the gospel not just with those who are incarcerated but also with the staff at prisons, juvenile detention centers, and all kinds of other correctional facilities.

Gay Williams

Disaster Relief Chaplain

We meet people in the most difficult season of their life. Their home has been blown away by a tornado or washed away in a flood. And they’ll say, ‘Why would you come all the way here just to help me?’ That’s my chance to say, ‘Because I know a man named Jesus who loves me. And if you’re interested, I’d like to share with you how much He loves you.’ We help them make it through, and as we do, we earn that right to share our faith.”

There are more than 700 Southern Baptist disaster relief chaplains. They travel, sometimes on a moment’s notice, to wherever disaster strikes and share the hope of the gospel with the people they meet there.

Fabian Maganda

Healthcare Chaplain

My pulpit is at the bedside. Not long ago, I met with a Muslim woman who was just told she had cancer. We started talking, and she asked me, ‘Why am I so afraid?’ We talked some more. And then she asked me, ‘How do you find strength?’ When I told her about how Jesus is so important to me, she said, ‘I’ve heard of Jesus. Where can I find information about Him?’ That is the kind of ministry that we do—things a normal pastor can’t do.”

There are more than 600 Southern Baptist chaplains serving in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare settings.

Eddie Hill

Public Safety Chaplain

Imagine the things a police officer experiences. I joke that a good police chaplain has to be half blind and half deaf because he doesn’t want to see and hear the things these people see and hear. Sometimes it takes years to earn the right to be heard, but what a privilege it is when you do. I get to go into this community that’s really shut off from the rest of the world and share the love of Christ, see lives change and the Kingdom expand.”

Eddie is one of almost 400 Southern Baptist chaplains embedded with police departments, fire departments and every other kind of local, state and federal public safety agency.

Lajuana Rich

Corporate Chaplain

Everybody needs a chaplain, especially as it relates to their jobs. So I go to the workplace and I build relationships, and slowly but surely, people begin to trust me. Sometimes it takes a long time for the Spirit to open someone’s eyes and for them to see their need for Christ. But when it does happen, that’s the greatest thing about being a chaplain— seeing someone begin a relationship with Jesus.”

Lajuana is one of more than 150 Southern Baptist corporate chaplains. They share Christ with people in workplaces all over North America.

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Published January 22, 2024