The Military Pentecostal Resource Leader Training and Certification Program is an effort by the Church of God to greatly enlarge and enhance the scope of ministry offered to Church of God and Pentecostal members serving in our country’s armed forces. While we enthusiastically support the role of the military chaplain, we recognize the enormity of the task they face in providing ministry to a congregation of such diverse backgrounds and that is constantly being deployed to remote locations of the world. We want Church of God men and women to be able to sustain and grow their faith in the military environment while assisting their peers to do the same. Recognizing the special demands of ministry in a military environment, we are seeking to train and certify qualified NCOs and officers to serve as “Pentecostal Resource Leaders”. In the absence of a Church of God chaplain, we will look to these men and women to help provide spiritual support to the Church of God personnel in their unit, ship, or installation. If the unit is fortunate enough to have a protestant chaplain then the MPRL will still be prepared to stand alongside of their chaplain to provide whatever support he/she may require.
We believe the potential impact of this program is enormous and almost impossible to overstate. Several examples illustrate this fact.
First, during the Gulf War the Church of God had 11 chaplains helping to serve the more than 500,000 military personnel that were deployed in support of those operations. Our offices were in contact with more than 2,500 Church of God men and women who were deployed from our Christian Servicemen’s Centers in Europe. These men and women were trained and motivated to make a difference. Chaplain (COL) David Peterson served as the U.S. command chaplain for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Chaplain Peterson, in reflecting on the tremendous success of the spiritual side of the Gulf operation, reported that the wide religious coverage provided to the troops simply could not have been possible had we not enjoyed the great partnership between the military chaplain and the soldier/lay leader. Everywhere in the region Bible studies, prayer groups and worship services were supplementing the regular services offered by the chaplains.
Second, the U.S. Navy makes it a requirement that every ship that leaves port must have a trained and certified “lay leader” to assist with the spiritual needs of the men and women on board. They have produced an exhaustive 186 page “Lay Leaders Manual” to guide non-chaplain personnel in the fulfillment of this important mission.
Third, the U.S. Air Force has declared, as part of their Chaplaincy Services “Strategic Plan,” that they will intentionally seek to involve non-chaplain spiritual leadership to help meet the diverse religious needs of Air Force personnel.
For an more indept introduction and overview of the MPRL, click here
or go the the MPRL Introduction and Overview page.
The final illustration was given to me recently by an army chaplain reporting on the service of one of our certified MPRL's deployed to Bosnia. The chaplain wrote: “. . . Have had frequent opportunities to work with SSG Jorge Martinez, and have always found him to be supportive of our spiritual and religious program. SSG Martinez has assisted me in a variety of ministry efforts to our soldiers to include conducting a field worship service, Bible Study and fellowships. He has multiplied my ministry and been a constant source of encouragement. SSG Martinez does have my full blessings in his pursuits as a Lay Minister and Leader through your organization.”