You may be a part of the leadership of a church that has a pastor interested in reserve military chaplaincy. Your pastor may have introduced the subject and you are not sure what to think.
Why should the church be willing to support a pastor interested in military chaplaincy? Isn’t it just a distraction from the congregational ministry? Military chaplaincy requires time for training. The pastor will be away at times, occasionally on Sundays. Military chaplaincy may seem like too much of a hassle for the sake of the pastor’s strange interest in the military.
I would like to suggest that it is important for a church to support their pastor in military chaplaincy. Here are some benefits to military chaplaincy.
- Military chaplaincy will make your pastor a better pastor. The experience they receive in the military will benefit your congregation.
- Your pastor will receive chaplain training, such as pastoral counselling, ethics and suicide awareness, that will be applicable to a local church context.
- Your pastor will develop leadership skills that are not normally available in seminaries.
- Military chaplaincy can be an extension of your church’s outreach ministry.
- You may find that your pastor’s involvement in the local regiment may bring some soldiers to your church.
- This is a way for your church to support your country.
If you are worried about will happen during emergencies within the church, be aware that schedules are flexible in the reserve forces. There is no reason why a chaplain cannot stay home from the armoury one night to deal with a situation in the church.
It may seem like a sacrifice, especially in the beginning during basic training, but having your pastor in military chaplaincy is a good thing. If your pastor is interested in military chaplaincy, don’t just close the door. Talk to your pastor. Talk to other military chaplains. Talk to other churches that have been doing this for a while. Do your homework before making your decision.