Military chaplains have been an integral part of the U.S. military since 1775, “bringing God to soldiers and the soldiers to God.” Military chaplains must meet stringent qualifications, including a master of divinity (or equivalent) degree, pastoral experience, and the ability to pass the military physical and security clearance. Though noncombatants, they deploy with the military to every base and combat zone to minister to our uniformed men and women.
Many nonmilitary institutions (such as the VA, hospitals, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and large corporations) have also recognized the value of providing religious professionals for their personnel, and have included the position of chaplain on their salaried staffs. For the most part, institutional chaplains must have an MDiv and other advanced training, but the physical requirements are less demanding than those of military chaplains.
Locally, police and fire departments, emergency response teams, and small hospitals often ask area pastors to serve as volunteer chaplains. Until recently, the pastor’s life testimony and service were enough to credential him to serve with community organizations. Increasingly, however, these organizations are requiring a national religious body to endorse the pastor as qualified to be a community service chaplain.
Prisons, hospitals, athletic teams, and service organizations also turn to individuals (often within their own membership) to serve as volunteer chaplains even without advanced degrees or ordination. It is enough that a church body endorses them and that their lives demonstrate a relationship with the Almighty. The job description may be as simple as opening and closing meetings in prayer and visiting hospitalized members. But the position gives the layperson a platform for ministry within a specialized setting.
The GARBC is happy to endorse chaplains on each of these levels, enabling them to touch lives with truth at points of greatest need.
Endorsement is a professional credential that affirms to the military or civilian employer that a chaplain has met the basic requirements of his faith group (in our case, the GARBC) to provide ministry in a specialized setting. It represents a level of mutual accountability and support between the chaplain and the GARBC and a standard of excellence to the using agency.
About Manning Brown
He graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in telecommunications. In addition, he holds an MEd from Pennsylvania State University and MA from Air Command and Staff College.
Manning and his wife, Jennifer, were married in 1988 right out of college, and shortly thereafter left for active duty with the Air Force. In nearly 22 years of service, they moved multiple times, including two tours in Germany. Manning spent four years on missile combat crew in the Minuteman III ICBM, before career broadening into Air Force Recruiting Service and later as a public affairs officer. In that time he served as a squadron commander, and when he retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2010, he was the deputy director of public affairs for U.S. Air Forces Europe. In addition, he had three deployments in the course of his career: one in Turkey and two in Iraq. Since retiring from the Air Force, he worked three years at Baptist Bible College (now Summit University) as an administrator and adjunct faculty member. In 2013, he and Jennifer moved to the Chicago area, where he assumed responsibilities as director of marketing and communications and then, in 2015, director of chaplaincy.
While in the military, Manning had numerous opportunities to serve the Lord in churches and chapels literally around the country and the world. Licensed and ordained while on active duty, he has taught and preached the gospel in a variety of environments.
In his role as director of GARBC Chaplaincy Ministries, he ministers to the needs of our chaplaincy families and communicates to the churches of our fellowship the opportunity for outreach through military, institutional, and community service chaplaincy.
Manning and Jennifer have two grown sons, Connor and Austin.