Ministry in Austerity: Making the Most out of a Difficult Situation

By Chaplain Sean Callahan, US Army, Middle East

The greatest blessing this quarter has been to minister to our Paratroopers in a very austere environment in the Middle East. There are no other Chaplains in my area of operation, and only occasionally do we have one pass through to provide support to some of our low-density faith groups. This has been a blessing and a challenge: we provide area coverage, but also have the freedom to shape the religious support environment, which has been very fulfilling.

The many locations we have has presented a unique challenge for ministry. That, and the lack of connectivity at times, makes it hard to “livestream” anything. What we’ve done instead is pre-record Sunday services and post them on a YouTube channel. This way, Paratroopers can access them and pre-buffer them before watching. Additionally, we’ve tried to build ministry teams at each location: Paratroopers who want to spearhead a gathering where they read the Scripture, sing songs, prayer together, and then listen to the sermon. This has enabled our UMT to provide consistency with messages and services despite the fact that we only get to each location once a month. I’ve received a lot of good feedback.


Additionally, we’ve leveraged Zoom and other media to provide one-on-one discipleship and small discipleship huddles. There have been several Paratroopers who have expressed a desire to go deeper, and so we meet as regularly as we can to discuss the Word and spiritual formation. There are two in particular who want to go into ministry in the future, and they have been key to providing help in our services.

As the deployment continues, we pray that God blesses us with opportunities to bring Paratroopers together to worship our Lord, to deepen their relationship with Him, and to bring Him glory in their daily lives. Please pray for their safety, provision for their families at home, and the strength to keep our focus until the very end.

Please pray for:

1. Continued safety for our Paratroopers and open doors for the Gospel
2. Katie’s pregnancy as she is due in mid-March
3. Focus and strength to “finish strong” on the deployment

Chaplain Callahan’s update reminds us that many of our service members currently battle more than a virus. Pray for Sean and his deployed paratroopers as they battle a determined enemy in an austere environment. He is one of 200 chaplains in our network of military and civilian ministry specialists who face life-and-death situations, daily. Ask God to guide and sustain them and their families as they follow their unique call to ministry.


For more stories by and about CBAmerica’s 200 chaplains, younger and older, visit Chaplaincy – CBAmerica. For information on chaplain endorsement, email Randy Brandt, Director, at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Veterans Day Ministry: Retired/Redeployed Chaplains Wear the Uniform with Pride

By Andy Meverden with updates from Chaplains, Colonel (Retired) Bob Hicks & Wylie Johnson

One of my continuing duties as Associate Director of Chaplaincy is to scan chaplain reports and correspondence for stories to post on our webpage. Serving a network of humble and busy chaplains, it’s often a challenge to get them to tell their faithful, fruitful and often amazing stories, especially with illustrative photos. The following two emails recently appeared in our inbox ready to share:

Retired Air Force Chaplain Bob Hicks wrote:

Hey guys, last week I spoke at the Veterans Day in Emporia, Kansas.  Since I am a graduate of Emporia State University, and retired USAF chaplain, I was asked to speak by a person in my alumni association.

Emporia is the founding city for Veterans Day which most people know very little about. FYI, I have attached a couple of photos of me speaking plus the printed program. On the back of the program you will see the history of this event, which was the first city to call, Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day.

Hope you both are doing well and staying healthy.

Enjoy, 

Bob Hicks
Ch, Col. USAF, Retired

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Not to be left in the contrails of the Air Force, Retired Army Chaplain Wylie Johnson reported on a special Veterans Day Sunday preaching assignment, requested by a member church in Pennsylvania:

Randy & Andy

I arrived at First Baptist Mifflintown, PA on Saturday evening. It was about a 2.5-hour drive over state highways through the mountains – very scenic. The church is a few hundred yards down the highway. I taught a Sunday School lesson about various Chaplaincies with emphasis upon the military, but including the wide range covered by the CBAmerica.

For worship (in uniform), I spoke from the text Psalm 33:11-12 “Blessed Is The Nation.” At the conclusion I gave a strong invitation and about 6 individuals of various ages raised their hands for having prayed the sinner’s prayer. The congregation was exceptionally appreciative and supportive. Pastor Ron Shupe is a congenial host. 10 members of the congregation took me to lunch and then I departed.

Tuesday, 11/10 – The VA head here in Carbon County PA arranged a small ceremony in the center of Jim Thorpe, across from the county offices. I was surprised and pleased to find that retired Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Daily  was the featured speaker. I brought the Invocation in uniform (photo). The entire event last a bit more than 30 minutes.

Blessings,

W. (Wylie Johnson)

CH(COL) USA, Retired
Law Enforcement Chaplain

Join me in thanking God for retired chaplains like Bob Hicks and Wylie Johnson, who continue to serve in their communities and circles of influence. Their recognized godly wisdom, ministry experience and Gospel message continues to build the Kingdom of God.


For more stories by and about CBAmerica’s 200 chaplains, younger and older, visit Chaplaincy – CBAmerica. For information on chaplain endorsement, email Randy Brandt, Director, at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.


Motorcycle Chaplain Vies for Dream Chopper: How cool is this?

By Shawn Taylor, Motorcycle Club Chaplain, Phoenix, AZ

Brothers and Sisters in Christ I need your vote! I recently entered and was accepted for the chance to win a custom chopper built by Paul Teutul Sr. and Orange County Choppers. The competition is called Dream Chopper.

Those who know me I have a passion for riding and a calling to reach motorcycle riders from all backgrounds.

This is a great opportunity to not only have a one-of-a-kind bike built. But it includes an appearance on American Chopper and the cover of Cycle Source Magazine. Imagine the chance to share my passion and love for Jesus on a nationally broadcast TV show. Also, the appearance on the magazine and other promotions will give a secondary exposure that can reach riders across the country.

My #dreamchopper is a ministry themed bike. Including the nails from the Two Thieves Motorcycle Ministry and a matching color scheme. I have told them I want something built that is low & fast. A bike that has an aggressive “beefy” stance & a big head light that looks like a freight train heading toward you.

I think I can do so much good for the kingdom on this bike. And yes, I confess the bike will be nice to have.

You might ask “How can you help?” I am glad you asked.

Voting starts Monday October 26th. I earn one vote per person every 24 hours by you logging in with a valid Facebook account and voting for me.

There are multiple rounds over the next seven weeks. Each week people are eliminated until December 17th when a winner is selected.

I know I am asking a lot of you and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to help me do this.

Here is a link to my profile page https://dreamchopper.com/2020/shawn-taylor

I will also be giving updates to everyone, so for the next seven weeks you will see a bunch of motorcycle posts on my social media accounts. Wait. That is no different than normal huh?

You can follow me and my progress at:

  • Twitter @intheknight
  • Facebook facebook.com/NotYourEverydayGeek
  • Instagram instagram.com/intheknight/

Associate Director, Andy Meverden writes: “I had the privilege of casting the first 10 votes in Shawn’s favor. Join me in helping Chaplain Taylor win this chopper and the opportunity to share his ministry on this unique, nation-wide platform. I’ve known Shawn since 2015 and have seen his grit and passion in winning bikers to Christ. Vote now!”

Infantry Chaplain Still on Point: Trail Chaplain seeks the Lost on America’s Great TrailsBy

Dennis Newton, Chaplain, Colonel, US Army, Retired, current Trail Chaplain

Chaplain Dennis Newton is known around the Appalachian Trail as “Trail Pilgrim.” After his retirement in 2015 from 35 years of service in the Army, he decided to combine his chaplain skills with his passion for the out of doors. CBAmerica changed his chaplain endorsement from Military to that of Trail Chaplain. He spent 6 months hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine with the Warrior Expeditions walking along side Veterans making some difficult transitions after their service. The spiritual conversations were many.

It was during this time that he became acquainted with many leaders on the trail and learned of opportunities to put his leadership training to use assisting Hikers.

One such group, the Appalachian Long-Distance Hikers Association (known as ALDHA) focuses more on the people hiking the trails rather than on the administration of the trails. Part of their purpose is education and the history of the trail. This helps hikers appreciate what a rare thing it is find a trail created to take them on multiple day journeys to escape the chaos of modern times.  Dennis says he’s always appreciated that Jesus lived in a culture which had to travel by foot or hoof and that the closer we come to experiencing this ourselves can help us understand the life of our Lord.

While attending a Trail Days gathering (about 5000 hikers participate each year) in Damascus, VA, Dennis overheard a discussion between the Coordinator of ALDHA, Ron Burger, and several other leaders of the group. Ron felt he was not making much progress on putting a replica of the iconic AT “Hiker” plaque back at the original 1934 Southern Terminus. This was located on Mount Oglethorpe about 30 trail miles south of the current starting point atop Springer Mountain near Amicalola Falls.

The trail was moved to Springer in 1958 as post war Atlanta sprawl was causing a loss of wilderness around Mount Oglethorpe. But over the years the reasons for that original location have been forgotten and the story about why the AT was founded in order for city dwellers to experience wilderness.

Dennis approached Ron Burger to learn what roadblocks were keeping the project from completion. The biggest hurdle, it seems, was the replica plaque. No one knew how to copy it and have it made. Dennis said he had worked in a foundry while he was in college and knew of various methods which could be used. Mostly it seemed to him it was more like the contracting duties he had performed where one researches for the best quality and price from the businesses competing in the field. He quickly located two foundries – both with AT ties and obtained bids. He soon favored the East Point Foundry near Atlanta for 2 main reasons. The first was the original plaque was made in Georgia for the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club and the 2nd, the foundry owner’s son had completed a Thru Hike of the AT.  East Point committed to a price well below their own costs.

In February another aluminum replica was discovered in Penn State and transported to East Point by Ron and Dennis. Two Bronze “Hiker” plaques were cast from it, one for Oglethorpe and the other for the AT Museum. In March Ron and Dennis met in Abington VA with the COVID19 issues beginning to close restaurants and hotels, where they coordinated for the next steps. COVID19 ultimately delayed project.

Both of the plaques were kept at Dennis’ home in Ozark, AL until a lull in the virus outbreak in October 2020 allowed for the current ALDHA leadership to hold a workday with a Stone Mason and the plaque was mounted in a spot at Oglethorpe where one can actually see Springer Mtn. A very fitting place to tell the story.

Dennis Newton continues as a Chaplain for CBAmerica walking alongside hikers having conversations wherever they may lead. He is currently serving as the Alabama State Chaplain for the Military Officer’s Association of America and as the Recording Secretary for the Appalachian Long-Distance Hikers Association. 

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Join us is asking God’s guidance and sustaining grace for Chaplain Newton. With a faith forged in battle, he brings needed wisdom and insight to those with whom he continues to march and serve. While you are at it, pray for the 200 other CBAmerica/Venture Church Network chaplain in military and civilian settings.

For more stores by and about our conventional and creative chaplains, visit http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/ .  For information on chaplaincy endorsement email Randy Brandt at chapbrandt@cbamerical.org.