The worst of circumstances often bring out the best in people. While headlines today are consumed with COVID-19 updates, many headlines also highlight positive responses to this pandemic: extra measures of care and compassion for those unable to currently fend for themselves; creative ways to keep kids occupied at home; certainly, a greater appreciation for first responders, medical staff, those who stock grocery store shelves, and those who keep critical services operating without interruption.
At the front line of this battle are chaplains. Through Regular Baptist Chaplaincy, the GARBC endorses nearly 100 chaplains, who serve in a variety of environments and at all levels of government to provide trusted counsel in times of uncertainty, care in times of need, and comfort in times of crisis.
As our nation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis continues to expand, so too does the opportunity for our chaplains to minister at the tip of the spear.
During the past couple of weeks, some of our chaplains who serve in the National Guard and reserves have been activated to minister to soldiers and airmen as they assist state and federal response. One state’s activation of its guard forces included the unprecedented mandate that chaplains be among those called to duty, an indicator of the emotional and spiritual stress of this crisis.
For active duty chaplains, they too must learn how to minister through unconventional means. Like most churches across the country, chapel services must now be held virtually, relying on streaming technology to worship and preach. Hospital chaplains face the challenge of providing critical one-on-one care while complying with social distancing protocols. Community service chaplains are seeking ways to minister to and care for first responders, who face physical and mental exhaustion as they work more than 12-hour shifts with little downtime.
As an association, we have been blessed with the privilege of endorsing chaplains for 53 years. Today we are witnessing another chapter of their unique call to serve and minister. As we pray for our nation, its leadership, and those who are ensuring our safety and security during this time of crisis, pray also for our chaplains as they strive to take care of those who are taking care of us.