Conversation: Scott McChrystal
Chaplain Col. (Ret.) Scott McChrystal is the military/VA representative for the Chaplaincy Department of the Assemblies of God. He spoke recently with Managing Editor Ken Horn.
tpe: You came from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Tell us about your ministry there.
McCHRYSTAL: I left West Point in August 2005 after seven years of service. As senior chaplain and senior advisor on all religious matters to the superintendent of the academy, I helped craft a religious program to meet the needs of all people at West Point — cadets as well as staff, faculty and other workers. I also ministered to faculty and staff who are shaping the lives of 4,000-plus cadets. To quote Colin Powell, West Point really is the wellspring of Army values.
tpe: What led you to the chaplaincy?
McCHRYSTAL: I was reared in a good home, but not a Christian home. My father was a career Army officer. After college I spent a year in Vietnam as an infantry officer and a total of 10 years on active duty. I was teaching at The Citadel when God drew me closer to himself.
I had been saved in 1973, but in 1980 at an AG church one night I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and called into ministry. In 1982 Judy and I came to Springfield, Mo., with our two children and I attended Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. In 1985 I entered active duty as a chaplain. WeÕve never doubted GodÕs call.
tpe: YouÕre teaching a class at AGTS now.
McCHRYSTAL: ItÕs wonderful to meet with young people who feel called by God to the military, to the VA chaplaincy, and help them develop their call. Our future rests on the quality and number of chaplains that we get into the military.
tpe: What is your vision for the Assemblies of God military and VA chaplaincy?
McCHRYSTAL: There has never been such an opportunity to reach military men and women and families. I want to support our military chaplains and their families on active duty, in the reserves and in the National Guard. I want to assist our VA chaplains in the critical ministry they do for veterans.
For both military and VA chaplains, I desire to network with them, get them more support and enable them to multiply their ministries. Second, I want to see our Fellowship place more chaplains in existing vacancies. Third, I want to minister to the approximately 25 million veterans in the United States now, many of whom have been involved in the war on terror.
In my opinion, the key is to network with our churches as a means of ministering to our veterans. Virtually every community in America has veterans who need support. I pray that the Chaplaincy Department can partner with districts and local churches to touch those veterans and their families. In a similar way, I pray that we can partner with our foreign missionaries all over the world who are doing great ministry for our military overseas.
tpe: How can our readers pray effectively for our military, our chaplains, and our veterans?
McCHRYSTAL: Pray that God will use our military to do His will without any more violence than necessary, while remembering that the enemy — the people we fight — are human beings too. God loves our enemies as much as He loves us. Pray for individual servicemen and women that they would sense our support for them and for their families. Finally, pray for the leadership of our Fellowship and our nation to guide us as theyÕre guided by God.
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