INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Prayer keeps us on God’s agenda, Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, the U.S. Army’s chief of chaplains, told fellow chaplains during a luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.
“Let’s make sure we’re on God’s agenda, because it’s much better than what you and I can come up with in our feeble abilities,” Carver said.
Carver addressed the luncheon for chaplains hosted each year by the North American Mission Board. The board endorses chaplains on behalf of Southern Baptists.
Citing the importance of Southern Baptists in the work of military ministry, Carver emphasized the vitality a local church can give to military personnel at home and during deployment.
“Just about every good thing has happened to me happened in a Southern Baptist church,” Carver said. “North Broad Baptist Church in downtown Rome [Ga.] is where I was licensed, ordained, commissioned and sent.
“Our soldiers carry a heavy, heavy load,” Carver added. “And we get to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ unencumbered while in uniform.”
As the United States continues the longest war effort ever fought exclusively by volunteers, Carver reminded chaplains of how important chaplaincy work is among the 1.2 million American soldiers in 80 countries around the world.
Noting the sacrifice soldiers make, Carver recounted the story of Ross McGinnis, a soldier recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for falling on a hand grenade and saving the lives of four other soldiers in northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on Dec. 4, 2006.
During the White House ceremony to honor McGinnis’ sacrifice, Carver had the opportunity to meet the medic, driver, platoon sergeant and team leader McGinnis saved that day.
“Ross gave his life up for them,” Carver said. “Their lives were forever changed. He had a chance to jump out of the vehicle but decided to put the full brunt of his body on that grenade.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the World War II generation, but I believe we are looking at the greatest generation walking on this earth,” Carver added. “At a time when it’s difficult to get Americans to sign up for community service,” he said soldiers subject themselves to the chaos of war, post-traumatic stress disorder and other ravaging effects of combat.
Carver called on churches to pray, which he said undergirds a confidence in God’s abilities and sustains through personal crisis. “There is a keynote that God has implanted in our hearts and we must tune our heart to that note so that circumstances and the things of this world can’t drown it out,” Carver said.
Carver’s address to the group was followed with brief remarks by North American Mission Board President Geoff Hammond.
“”I am grateful we get to process chaplains on behalf of Southern Baptists,” Hammond said. “May God give them freedom to minister and souls for their labor.”
Adam Miller is associate editor for On Mission magazine (www.onmission.com) and a staff writer for the North American Mission Board.