The long war in Iraq and Afghanistan and frequent deployments to the war zone have placed especially heavy pressure on military personnel and their families. Challenges peculiar to the warrior class have come to the attention of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. The organization has begun offering a military track to speak to post-traumatic stress disorder and other needs as part of its Biblical counseling ministry.
Executive Director Randy Patten contacted Chaplain John Murdoch, director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries, asking if he would be willing to help initiate this specialty. Three chaplains joined Murdoch for NANC’s annual conference in Walnut Creek, Calif., Oct. 3–5: Chaplain Bill Gasser, Navy Reserve, assigned to a Seabees unit; Chaplain Michael Taylor, USN, assigned to the USMC Mountain Warfare School; and Chaplain Mark Worrell, Army, assigned to The Old Guard at the Arlington National Cemetery. All three chaplains have served tours of deployment. Gasser addressed a plenary session on “How to Minister to Returning Veterans in Your Church,” and Murdoch moderated a panel discussion with Gasser, Taylor, and Worrell on “Ministering to and Counseling Military Families.” Murdoch also conducted a workshop called “Reaching Your Community through Chaplaincy Ministry.”
- Read about the ministry of Chaplain Mark Worrell in “Ministering to The Old Guard” and “Hawaiian Vow Renewal” and about Bill Gasser in “Chaplain Gasser in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait”
At the close of the conference, Randy Patten voiced his appreciation for the chaplains’ assistance, as their material was well received. Jim Patten, conference director, affirmed that attendees made positive comments “about the emphasis, the chaplains’ role in the conference, and the general awareness of military.” He says, “Thank you for serving in this way!”