How NOT To Become An Air Force Chaplain

Here is an article by a pastor who struggled with whether to become a chaplain or not. Ultimately, his religious convictions would not allow him to live in the world that other faithful chaplains operate. He decided that he would rather express his brand of Christianity at every time and every place over and against the needs of others and, rather than be humble enough to serve in the difficult environment in which chaplains serve, he left. I am glad that he had the courage to realize that he was not cut out for the difficult and rewarding vocation of being a military chaplain. But, he should stop short of being critical of the rest of us because he obviously hasn't spent time with the many faithful chaplains with whom I serve. Also, I know the chaplains whom he accuses in his article and he for one is mistaken of their intentions and two most who served there during this time, don't even remember him.

Please note, when you read his article you will see that he looks into a chaplaincy career because he couldn't get hired as a civilian pastor. He writes, "Having been unable to find a full-time ministry position in the civilian world (which is very common in the United States due to the unequal ratio of trained ministers to open church positions) I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2004 with the hope of finishing seminary and then applying for the Air Force’s Chaplaincy Program." You need to know that this is never a reason to come to the military ministry. If you are a Christian, you must come out of desire to serve the LORD and for a love of his people in the military. If you come from another faith group, the latter still applies in my opinion and you must serve your god and faith according to your convictions. For, it takes a brave heart to stand alone, to swallow one's pride and allow God to work, even in our silence. I resent his condemnation of my fellow chaplains, especially those who are Christian, whom he chastises in his article. He knows very little of our heart to care for "ALL" Airmen and be pastor to some. He seemingly has no understanding of how we ensure the 1st Amendment rights of everyone and how we personally attend to the 1st Amendment rights of a few as their pastor. He is perfectly suited to be doing what he is doing, but he is wrong when he levels criticism where he was unwilling to tread as a pastor.

I include a link to his article, not because it has merit, but so that you can see what a total lack of understanding about what we do looks like. How will he reach the people he wants to reach if he is not one of us? How will he touch lives down range? The answer is, he can't. He gave up that opportunity, but we who serve in this difficult ministry, soldier on.  He has given up on those Airmen and seeing them daily in the workplace. He has given up any opportunity to walk where they walk, eat what they eat and be where they are as their chaplain. And, we who choose to serve, we who have taken the challenge to be here (because he is not here), we are sometimes silent, but we serve a God whose Name is famous throughout the earth, and we are the ONLY ones who serve our military men and women as chaplains in harm's way. He does not. Click the link below and see how "not to become an Air Force Chaplain."


Kristi said...

I'm interested in this article but the link doesn't seem to work. Is it me?


Hey Kristi, thanks for the heads up. I've fixed the link.

Andrew Young said...

I have to admit, despite the fact that the article you linked to was designed to discourage people from becoming military chaplains, it actually had the opposite effect on me. It made me feel more called to become an Air Force chaplain, because there is a need for chaplains who can be there for those of diverse faiths in their times of need without feeling a need to force their own beliefs on those individuals. Likewise, your blog has also helped me to see that there are chaplains in the military who are willing to meet people where they are. Thank you!


Andrew, Thanks for you kind words and I'm glad the blog has been helpful to you. Peace, Z