ANAHEIM, Calif. (BP) — At a breakfast to honor the women and men faithfully serving as chaplains, attendees were once again reminded that the 24/7 work of a chaplain is never done. They prayed for one of their own, chaplain Tony Moore, who left the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting almost as soon as he arrived to go minister to the families of five Marines killed when their plane crashed during a training exercise this week.
Those exploring the call to chaplaincy fellowshipped alongside those with a triple-decade tenure. It was a visible representation of the unique and vital tribe tasked to “be the church in places the church cannot go,” said retired Chaplain Maj. Gen. Doug Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
“We have chaplains at every institutional setting you can imagine. … Thank you for answering the call to this particular kind of ministry,” he said.
“Chaplains know how to help work through a crisis – whatever that is,” said Carver to the room of more than 50 chaplains. “There’s training and experience that you have in working with the human dimension in all the seasons of life that you face. I challenge you to be a lifelong learner.”
Carver also challenged the group to bring that experience to teach their church. “Every member of the church should arguably know something about providing pastoral care,” he said.
And as these chaplains serve across North America – and around the world – the chaplaincy team at NAMB reminded them they are dedicated to serving chaplains on the front lines of ministry.
“The reason our team exists is to serve you – to wash your feet,” said Carver. “One of our core values at NAMB is to pray for our missionaries and chaplains. We pray for you daily.”
The diverse group has a goal to grow the ranks of Southern Baptist chaplaincy in the coming year.
“The best recruiter of chaplains is a Southern Baptist chaplain. The best recruiter is a Southern Baptist pastor. The best recruiter is a Southern Baptist family member,” said Sam Lee, Director of SBC Chaplaincy/Federal Endorser.