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Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Evangelism?

Can Army chaplains evangelize? This is a question that I've been asked many times, and Mark True has raised it in the comments section of my last post. It's a great question, and, in light of being deployed to a mostly Muslim nation in the near future, it's a question that pertains to my job.

The answer is yes AND no. On the one hand, I can preach all about Jesus in chapel and Bible studies, just like I would on the civilian side. I can't control who comes to chapel or to a Bible study (just like we can force people to come to church), but we can certainly invite them.

On the other hand, there are restrictions like there would be in any workplace. In most jobs, you probabaly can't just walk up and get in someone's face about Christ. You have to be sensitive to the situation and open to the Spirit opening the door. We are not supposed to go out and try and convert the non-Christian soldiers, but if they ask about Christ, I am free to share what I believe. This means that evangelism begins with simply getting to know the soldiers in my unit, loving them, serving them, and letting them know that my hope an strength comes from Christ.

Now sharing Christ with Iraqis or Kuwaitis (depending on where I end up) would be a different story. First of all, my contact with civilians will be very limited, as I understand. Of course, I haven't been deployed yet, so that remains to be seen. But, the Army does not want to be seen as being in Iraq for the purpose of converting the Iraqis. Moreover, there would be very little chance for follow-through. Hence, the real ministry is with the soldiers- that is the flock to which I am called and it's best to focus on what you can do and look for opportunities for the Spirit to move in those opportunities.

The best thing is to represent Christ in all that I do. As a Christian chaplain, I wear the cross, and my actions speak volumes about my faith. Because of some of the restrictions on direct evangelism, the most important call is to show Christ through my life, and allow others to ask the questions. The Holy Spirit will work through both our words and our actions.

1 Comments:

Blogger Mark true said...

Chris:

Thanks for the update. I really am convicted by your statement "the most important call is to show Christ through my life, and allow others to ask the questions." If we truly have Jesus in our heart, this is how we should live our life on Earth.

7:56 AM  

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