Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 11:31 pm
Choice Christian greetings!
Chaplaincy is more than simply a placement in ministry; it is a “theology of ministry.” In fact, every minister should think like a chaplain. What do I mean by this? Let us take a look at some basic principles of chaplaincy, whether in the military, prisons, hospitals, college campuses, industry or any other institution we serve. First, accept people with unconditional love. That is, when people walk into your church or institutional worship service, put no conditions on what they will mean to you, your institution or church. They are not a “future tithe payer,” or “future Sunday school teacher” or anything else. They are simply God’s child and they need, at that point of entry into your life, unconditional love. Secondly, regardless of their background (region, race, ethnicity), everything they have been, redeemed in the blood will be a gift to your institution/church or spiritual setting. If individuals feel they have to leave their deep identity behind just to be a part of your spiritual setting, then you have violated a “chaplaincy principle.” And, I believe you have violated a “God principle.” God sees all that we have been, even our life in the pits, as now redeemed and useful in the Kingdom. Thirdly, every believer needs “ministry within the gates and ministry outside the gates.” If we are going to truly disciple people around chaplaincy principles, we believe we need strong roots within the local church or chapel setting; but we must have a ministry that extends itself into the bigger world at large. Christians are anemic when they only have either a “ministry within the gates,” or a “ministry outside the gates.” These two callings are what keep us balanced. As one old-time preacher said, “God ministers to us on Sunday morning and on Monday, we go to where the pain is and minister to Him.”
These are just a few of those chaplaincy principles that would work whether in an institution or local church. We believe so strongly in these principles that we are now working with a number of churches, large and small, to apply these principles by retraining and reorienting the entire church. One large church, where the membership is trained to think of their responsibilities for ministry within and outside the gates, has more than 100 persons endorsed as lay chaplains to specific ministries within their communities. They are placed in jails, prisons, nursing homes, juvenile courts and even in parks in their city. Chaplaincy is more than a place in ministry. It is built on principles that are deeply embedded in the Word of God. Think like a chaplain; it will change your entire way of doing God’s business.
1. February 11-13 –Patten University Board; with a partnership to offer chaplaincy and care courses.
2. February 21-23 – Basic Community Service Chaplaincy Course and Specialized Course (Domestic Violence), Florida State Campground..
3. February 26-29 – South American Care Conference in Quito, Ecuador. (Strong chaplaincy emphasis.)
4. February 27 – Dedication of our new Urban Development and Chaplaincy Center, South American Theological Seminary, Quito Ecuador.
SPECIAL PRAYER NEEDS:
1. Our chaplains who are deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other critical areas, their Soldiers and their families need us to keep them daily in our prayers.
2. Remember Dr. John Nichols, Executive Director ofthe Lazarus Foundation, a true friend of our chaplaincy ministries, as he continues to receive treatment for a rare form of cancer.
3. Pray for the Female prisoners ministered to by Chaplain Betty Standifer, Cleveland, Tennessee, who states: “I come face-to-face with many women, some getting ready to get out of prison but have absolutely no place to go…no home, no job. Women who are so full of anger and grief that all they can do is cry and cuss; women who, for the most part, come from a life of poverty; many who grew up in the Church, but see the Church as offering them no help.”
4. Hospice and Nursing Home Chaplain Bobby Williford, Jessup, Georgia, asks us to pray for those that are confined. He states, “Send us chaplains and workers who can understand these individuals and can give an effective witness.”
5. Sheena, the adult daughter of Chaplain Randy and Darlene Imhoff, Carthage, New York, is into her second year of recovery from a head-on automobile accident. Her life, the lives of her children, husband and parents were temporarily shattered and looked hopeless. But Chaplain Imhoff sends the following concerning her slow, but significant, developments: “We continue to feed Sheena more pureed foods, work every day with her leg movements and note bit by bit some progress. She is a trooper! When we ask her if she would like to stand, she nods yes. Today, in reading Psalm 13, the Psalmist cries out, How long, oh Lord? Will you forget me forever? There are times when these questions go through our minds; and in asking them, He also gives us the answer in Psalm 13, I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me!”
6. This week, we learned that one of our outstanding law enforcement officers in Cleveland died suddenly of a heart attack. We are asking that you keep the Kenneth Simpson family in your prayers.
7. French Military Chaplain Michel Layes sends the following prayer request: “A few days ago, I sat with a three-star General to discuss a dramatic suicide of one of our service members. I explained to him that there are situations like this where one finds few answers. Only God can hear the cries and revolts that would lead to such an action. Keep this family in your prayers.”
8. Law Enforcement Chaplain Russell Holland, Norfolk, Virginia, sends this note: “I have had a backlash of infection following my surgery. At one point, I was unable to communicate and I was in extreme pain. I had not eaten in a week, and I had begun to shut down. I had to go through surgery again to remove the infection. During my hospital stay, one of my fine officers was shot and killed during a search warrant. Because of my illness, this news was kept from me. I thank God that he was a Christian officer; but it still hurts that I could not be there during this critical time in the lives of his family. I am still confined at home, but carrying out my chaplaincy ministries by phone. Continue to pray for my healing, and for those who need the chaplaincy presence so desperately.”
OTHER CHAPLAINCY NEWS:
1. Prison Chaplain Carol Johnson, Longview, Washington, reports: “I am dealing with a 26 year- old man who has admitted to murder and will spend the rest of his life in prison. He told me he had never been in prison before, grew up in a small town and has a 2 ½ year-old son and another child on the way. I told him that Jesus is his only answer. He showed his brokenness with many tears. It breaks my heart to see such a young man and his family facing such an ordeal. I know it will be hard, but we know what God has already done in the lives of others, and what He can do for this inmate.”
2. Hospital Chaplain Rod Harwood, Pendleton, Oregon, sends this report: “I was privileged to be the guest speaker for the hospice volunteer program at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. This program trains inmates to be companions with terminally ill inmates; to be with them through the entire dying process. Our motto is No one will die alone. Also, at one of our psychiatric recovery centers, I had the opportunity to work with clients and staff as they dealt with the tragic death of one of their clients. I took them through debriefing sessions and provided a memorial service for the client.”
3. Law Enforcement Chaplain Sam Saylor, Bismarck, North Dakota, reports that during the Christmas holidays, their chaplaincy teams hosted a most successful Christmas party for the families of the law enforcement personnel.
4. Law Enforcement Chaplain Mitch McClure, Middle Valley, Tennessee, reports: “On Sunday, February 3, 2008, our church will have special events to raise funds for the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department. We have been partners with this fire department for a number of years. This is another way of keeping my church connected to the agencies of our community.”
5. Law Enforcement Chaplain Wilbert Nichols, Williamsburg, Ohio,was recently cited in his local newspaper for his outstanding ministries with area law enforcement agencies and a special program, the Aberdeen Village Crime Watch Program. The article cited him, the father of a local law enforcement officer, as “providing services to those involved in automobile accidents, suicide and other community crises.”
Army Chaplain (CPT) Jeff Bartels, permanently stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, is now in Iraq with his unit for his second deployment. His second deployment is unique in several ways. Just prior to this second deployment, Jeff and Teresa adopted Maygan, who was only a few weeks old. In fact, the adoption became final a few days before Jeff left for Iraq. In reflection on his second deployment, Jeff stated, “I was certainly more prepared, spiritually and otherwise, knowing that God’s wisdom would serve me significantly in all of my ministries.” As Jeff stated, chaplaincy is about “interpersonal relationships, which includes good communication in high-stressed combat environments. Once that is achieved, ministry begins to flow on multiple levels. Of course, the key is my personal relationship with the Lord, a supported command climate, a lot of patience, a heart for ministry and Soldiers, lots of prayer and strength in the midst of chaos.” As Jeff stated, “My first deployment was a baptism by fire. My second deployment could be called shepherding the flock and sharing the Gospel. I have ten months to go…every day, I long to see my family and daughter. In the meantime, I will be faithful in my ministry task; trusting that God will guide me and my family, and keep the heart of this ministry focused on Him.” Jeff had only been on active duty a few weeks prior to his first deployment. Before leaving, I told him, “You will have to learn on your feet!” That is the nature of the kind of world we live in today. Not just one deployment, but multi-deployments; and this same reality applies to our civilian chaplains. We must be ready to “learn on our feet.” Our world is in a whirlwind. The only anchor is the Word of God and His Spirit which guides us daily. “Learning on one’s feet” is not bad as long as we are anchored firmly to Him. Pray for our chaplains and their family members.
Dr. Robert Crick
Director, Chaplains Commission
Director’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office e-mail: email@example.com
Web Site/Page: www.cogchaplains.com
Categories: Weekly Update