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November 19, 2000: Randy Hurst: Hunger and evangelism

October 29, 2000: Randy Stonehill: Adopting God's agenda

October 22, 2000: Bettina Richardson: Setting priorities

October 15, 2000: Fulfilling the Great Commission

September 17, 2000: John Castellani: Giving hope to addicts

September 10, 2000: Kermit Bridges: Spiritual renewal on campus

August 27, 2000: Phil Vischer: The Big Idea behind VeggieTales

August 20, 2000: Chonda Pierce: A time to laugh

August 13, 2000: Thomas E. Trask, John Bueno: The launching of Global University

July 30, 2000: G.L. Johnson: Keeping passion for Christ alive

July 23, 2000: Hal Donaldson: More than fame and money

July 16, 2000: David Moore: America in a sea of change

July 9, 2000: Jim Seymour: Real reconciliation

June 18, 2000: Randy Phillips: Plugging into the local church

June 11, 2000: H. Maurice Lednicky: Pentecost Sunday

May 28, 2000: Tim LaHaye: Prophecy-based fiction

May 14, 2000: Natalie Grant: The best testimony

April 30, 2000: Alvin Worthley: Ministry to the 'fourth world'

April 23, 2000: Robert Spence: The meaning of Easter

April 16, 2000: Stephen Pfann: The Dead Sea Scrolls

April 9, 2000: Eddie Rentz: Teens, TV, music and parenting

March 26, 2000: Lillie Knauls: Single and satisfied

March 19, 2000: Terry Lindvall: Christ and culture

March 12, 2000: David Yonggi Cho and Thomas E. Trask: World Assemblies of God Congress and 2000 Celebration

Chaplains needed

(November 26, 2000)

Captain Charles W. Marvin, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy, (Ret.), became director of the Chaplaincy Department in Assemblies of God Home Missions in 1998. He spoke recently with Ken Horn, managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Evangel: What is the Assemblies of God chaplaincy ministry?

Marvin: The Chaplaincy Department commissions its ministers to work outside the Assemblies of God. Most of what we do is done in public institutions and occupational areas not normally accessible to clergy.

More than 350 chaplains are serving, including 150 who are either military active duty and reserves or Veterans Affairs chaplains. More than 185 institutional and occupational chaplains serve primarily in prisons and in health care. Other chaplains are at racetracks and rodeos, and in motorcycle clubs. These chaplains are Assemblies of God ministers.

Many of those we lead to Christ may never darken the door of an Assemblies of God church; however, we do count on local pastors and their churches to be receiving places — especially for those who come to the Lord in prison.

Through Light for the Lost, Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade, the Pentecostal Evangel and Global University, we provide Bibles, literature and opportunities for religious education.

Evangel: Give us a profile of a chaplain.

Marvin: A chaplain is a man or woman who becomes burdened for the military population, the prison population or the people in hospitals, motorcycle clubs, racetracks, rodeos or in the trucking industry. And so they prepare to work in an environment that may not be receptive, and they find or create opportunities for caring and working their way into people’s hearts.

Evangel: What can local churches do to support chaplains?

Marvin: Our institutional/occupational chaplains can and should be involved in sectional meetings and district functions, as their schedules permit. Military chaplains may never be stationed in their districts, so district officials need to view them as their missionaries.

Also, pastors and churches must pray for their chaplains and for those who leave their churches to serve their country. Sometimes young people leave home to get away from Mom and Dad’s religion and from God and church. And, surprise, they run right into the arms of God through the ministry of one of our chaplains.

We’re grateful for the monetary support we get on National Prison Sunday in September and Military Personnel Day the Sunday before the Fourth of July. This is used for literature and to support our work in institutional/occupational and military/VA chaplaincies. Chaplaincy ministries are one of the best deals the Assemblies of God has going for ministers, because chaplains are paid by federal or state governments and other public institutions. This represents about $10 million annually.

Evangel: What is the need for men and women to enter the chaplaincy?

Marvin: I referred recently to the 1998 reported statistics for the Assemblies of God. I took the number of conversions reported by our chaplains and compared them to district reports. If the Chaplaincy Department were a district, we would have ranked 17th of 58 districts in the number of conversions reported in 1998.

We need people who can qualify academically, and with pastoral experience and ordination. We need people who are able to articulate our doctrine, yet respect the right of people to worship God as they choose.

Evangel: What about women in the chaplaincy?

Marvin: More women are needed. The government, the military and other institutions will take qualified female chaplains in a heartbeat if we can provide them.

Evangel: How does a chaplain touch lives?

Marvin: If I were to call almost any chaplain, he or she would tell me about a specific case during the past week in which he/she has led someone to the Lord, prayed with a couple to rededicate their lives or nudged someone closer to an encounter with God. That sums up where a chaplain’s influence is — with those outside the church.

 

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