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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...



 
AGTV video
Connections: Chaplain James J. Puchy

Chaplaincy in Action

Chaplain (Col.) James J. Puchy, U.S. Army (retired) is the executive director of Armed Services Ministry for the American Bible Society. Dr. Puchy recently visited with Editor Ken Horn.

evangel: You were in the military prior to entering the chaplaincy, which is somewhat uncommon. I would think there were some doors open to you simply because you had that prior experience.

PUCHY: Yes there were. Few chaplains have had the opportunity to command soldiers as a platoon leader. That gives you some understanding of the pressures of leadership in the military, so you can then speak into it and give other leaders wisdom for the decisions they have to make.


evangel: You bring that rich military background to what you’re doing now for the American Bible Society. Tell us what the Armed Services Ministry of the ABS does.

PUCHY: We create and distribute resources that help prepare an environment where people can experience the life-changing message of Christ. The grand goal of all this is the complete transformation of individuals, families, communities and nations into the image of Christ.


evangel: You mentioned families. We often think about the men and women in our military, but you also minister to the family.

PUCHY: I had the opportunity to start three different chapel programs during my military career. And it was because we needed to have a contemporary expression of worship within the military community. We found that this would attract young families and young soldiers into our fellowships.

The pressures on a military family are immense. Just think about the stresses of continual transition and movement, especially on the children, during deployments. Dad or Mom may be gone for a year, missing birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Combined with the pressures of being at war, tremendous stress can fall on the family.

The military has many programs to address the needs of the family. One, called Strong Bonds, is led by chaplains and focuses on marriage enrichment and relationship encouragement. During my time at the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, we were successful in changing federal law ensuring that we could take care of those families and ensure that they could get more strength, encouragement and resilience in the turmoil that accompanies their life in the military.


evangel: You also served in the Pentagon. How is a Christian’s faith worked out in a place like the Pentagon?

PUCHY: Amazingly, there are wonderful ministries that happen in the military and in the Pentagon. We have an army chaplain named Dan Minjares who is the pastor for the Pentagon. He holds many different Bible studies each week, including a senior-level Bible study. Resources we developed through the American Bible Society are used during that time.


evangel: Talk specifically about some of the resources you’ve helped develop through the ABS.

PUCHY: One partnership that we have formed is with Military Community Youth Ministries. We’ve created something called ResilientLife.com, a website where military teens can go to find wisdom from God’s Word for specific moments and situations in their lives. As we’ve already mentioned, life can be turbulent for teens from families in the military.

We’ve also begun a partnership with Gallup to develop an online inventory that individuals can use to find their top five strengths. From there it explores how to use those strengths in a team setting. The theology behind that says that you don’t need any particular strengths to be resident in one person, but you do need them resident on a team.

If we have collaborative partnerships in the body of Christ, we’re stronger together than we are apart. We rely on one another’s strengths to build up the kingdom of God. When we know who we are in Christ, we’re doing what God created us to do and we’re worshipping Him with every breath.

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