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Opening Doors of Ministry: Open Bible Chaplains

Open Bible Chaplain Ministries opens the door of ministry beyond the walls of our churches and meets the needs of the unchurched by providing an ecclesiastical endorsement for qualified candidates. Currently our ministry works as an umbrella for different types of ministry including military chaplaincy, institutional chaplaincy, and corporate chaplaincy.

Military Chaplaincy

The military chaplaincy meets the needs and requirements of service members who serve in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. This can be a very demanding form of ministry with time spent in training and forward deployment into areas of operation that further and maintain America’s national interests. The military chaplaincy offers a Chaplain Candidate Program (CCP). This program allows chaplain candidates to become familiar with military life and its requirements and policies while obtaining a Master of Divinity Degree, thereby meeting federal requirements for consideration. After this education and fulfillment of a two-year post-graduate ministry requirement as a senior pastor, the candidate may then apply for the military chaplaincy as a Reserve, active duty, or National Guard chaplain.

Institutional Chaplaincy

The second variation of chaplaincy is found in the institutional arena. These chaplains reach their congregations as chaplains in the Veterans Administration, the Federal Prison Administration, the local police force, fire and emergency services, or a local hospital. The requirements for each discipline varies according to federal, institutional, or local guidelines and mandates. Federal institutions require a Master of Divinity from an accredited institution as well as ministry experience. Local law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) have their own requirements, as do local hospitals. Hospital requirements vary from hospital to hospital; however, a large number of hospitals require candidates to have a Master of Divinity, ordination credential, and a minimum of two to four hours of clinical pastoral education by an accredited association. Local hospitals in rural areas have their own requirements for ordained pastors.

Corporate Chaplaincy

Finally, there is corporate chaplaincy. Open Bible President Randall Bach met with Marketplace CEO Doug Fagerstrom and worked out the requirements for Open Bible ministers to become affiliated with Marketplace Chaplaincy. This ministry provides an environment rich for ministry as chaplains are able to visit individuals at their places of business. Marketplace requires potential Open Bible candidates to be ordained and recommended by their regional executive director, who in turn refers the candidate to Marketplace Chaplain’s Director of Church Relations. If a candidate is selected, Marketplace provides them training for ministry in a corporate context.

In all these disciplines, chaplains minister at the “frontlines” of our society, meeting the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of individuals outside a church setting both in the U.S. and abroad. 

If you would like more information or would like to discuss opportunities in a particular chaplains program, or if you are a current chaplain and we have lost contact over the years, please contact me by email at obcchap@gmail.com or call (678)551-4516. I will be happy to discuss ideas and point you in the right direction. 

Meet some of the 33 pastors currently serving as Open Bible chaplains!


MILITARY CHAPLAINS


Chaplain Doug Lumpkin, D. Min. 

serves as a Chaplain for Air Force Special Operations Command and is currently stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He provides religious observances and spiritual care to active-duty members and their families. Additionally, Dr. Lumpkin advises military leaders on issues of religious faith, ethical decision-making, moral reasoning, and morale concerns.


Chaplain Ben Hines (shown here on the right)

meets the needs of military families as the Director of Family Life Ministries for Fort Lee Army Base in Virginia. His duties include training, clinical supervision, and mentoring 15 chaplains regarding pastoral care, counseling skills, and family enrichment programs. He also serves as an advisor to the Fort Lee Garrison Chaplain on soldier and family care and prevention programs for over 27,000 soldiers and family members. As the Director of the Fort Lee Family Life Center, Ben provides individual counseling, marriage counseling, and family counseling to military members and their families and civilians employed by the Army and their families.


Kristina N. Goecker

recently completed a Master of Divinity and the US Air Force Chaplain Candidate Program. As a chaplain candidate, she had the honor of learning about the ministry and the calling of a chaplain from many outstanding chaplains in multiple locations. She was recently assigned to the reserves at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, as a Reserve chaplain. For the next two years, Kristina will be serving at a local church and as a Reserve chaplain, and then transition to become an active-duty chaplain.


CORPORATE CHAPLAINS: MARKETPLACE CHAPLAINS


Karen Bobst

serves as the Director of Operations for Marketplace Chaplains in Washington and Oregon, overseeing 50 chaplains serving in nearly 40 companies in her region. She looks forward to assisting company leaders as they care for their employees through the chaplain care teams she serves with. One employee recently said, “Prior to meeting Chaplain Carol, I had never before in my life heard there was a God . . . .” Karen says that hearing this statement from an employee who is served by Marketplace Chaplains in the greater Portland area has been by FAR her most rewarding moment.


Kwabea Francis

provides chaplain care for Vitas Healthcare, a role she has filled for the past five and a half years. She has had the honor of walking with patients and their families as they cope with illnesses and the dying process. In addition to this, within the past two years Kwabea took a second position as a Chaplain for Marketplace Chaplains. She recently received a promotion as Director of Operations in the South Region, where she will continue to pour into the lives of individuals at their worksites while supporting and leading chaplains in the South Florida area.


Dean Schrock

is a board certified chaplain (BCC) in Vancouver, Washington, and serves as a chaplain coordinator at a local county jail that houses 650 inmates. He shares the gospel of Jesus Christ and ministers with men and women on a daily basis who are looking for hope. Dean also serves as a chaplain with Marketplace Chaplains, visiting three companies a week. In addition he is a volunteer chaplain with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and with the local police/fire department. He states, “A chaplain is a light in the darkness of one’s neighborhood.”


Nancy Vencill

serves with Marketplace Chaplains in Bellbrook, Ohio. She said, “As a Marketplace chaplain, I have been called on to help individuals dealing with broken marriages or spousal abuse, grieving foster parents, people contemplating suicide, and children on the autism spectrum. I’ve sat with those suffering grief from a job loss, a child’s death by train, devastating news from the doctor, and so much more. I have arrived at a funeral under the impression that I was to read a letter only to find out that the spouse needed me to direct the entire service. I have had the opportunity to invest in the lives of custodians, warehouse employees, administrators, CFOs, CEOs, and everything in between. I look for ways to engage, listen for the Holy Spirit to give me insights to probe a bit deeper, and then watch the Lord unfold people’s stories!”


Dr. Ralph Vencill

is lead pastor at Bellbrook Community Church and also serves as a chaplain for Ohio’s Hospice, the nation’s largest not-for-profit hospice organization. Ralph began working for Ohio’s Hospice six years ago, and began by providing after-hours visits for people needing spiritual support. Approximately five years ago Ralph began serving as a full-time chaplain, providing spiritual support to 16 nursing home facilities and numerous home patients. He has helped some people reconnect with their faith and others establish a first-time relationship with Jesus Christ. Part of the hospice philosophy is a quality end-of-life experience, which means that addressing the spiritual aspect of an individual’s life is an important element of care. Ralph has been able to help people come to a place of peace, facilitating a smooth end-of-life process.


Duane Sayre

has been in ministry with Open Bible for more than 35 years, serving in San Jose, California, for the past 25 years as the senior pastor at San Jose Open Bible Church. He served 20 years with the San Jose Police Department as a community chaplain and currently serves with Marketplace Chaplains in two separate locations. He states, “I have found serving as a chaplain to be a divine way to touch the lives of people in our community that may not have a pastor in their lives. God has allowed some amazing connections to form through these wonderful opportunities to serve Him in the community and in the workplace.”


INSTITUTIONAL CHAPLAINS


Greg Carr

serves as the lead chaplain for the Crisis Care Chaplaincy in Bismarck, North Dakota, overseeing 14 volunteer chaplains who serve with the Bismarck Police, Burleigh County Sheriff, Metro Ambulance, Bismarck Fire, Bismarck Rural Fire, Lincoln PD, Burleigh Morton Detention Center, and Dispatch. The chaplains provide spiritual and emotional care for these agencies and for those in the general public when their paths cross. Duties include assisting in death notifications, suicide prevention, critical incident stress debriefings, Bible studies, and one-on-one meetings with inmates and officers. About 40 percent of his time is spent at the county jail overseeing spiritual needs, providing church services, counseling, and Bible Studies to inmates and correctional officers. Other duties involve cultivating relationships with various agencies, mentoring chaplains, and fund-raising.


By Chaplain Terry Meek 


Chaplain (Col.) Robert Terry Meek (Ret), shown here with his wife, Leslee, is the National Director of Open Bible Chaplain Ministries. Terry served for more than 27 years in the Army and has a combined total of 33 years and 5 months in Active and Reserve service. Among his numerous awards, he was a two-time Bronze Star recipient and a two-time Legion of Merit recipient. He and Leslee have two children, Seth, with the Hopkinsville Police Department, and a daughter, Terri Barbee, serving as the Director of Social Works Services at Western State Hospital, and two grandchildren. In his spare time, you will find Terry golfing with his bride.

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