A Bi-Vocational Opportunity for Church Planters & Pastors
By Ted Richard
Imagine working 2 days each month bi-vocationally, and getting full medical benefits for you and your family for under $300 per month. Now consider the fact that this job would also allow you the opportunity to teach the Bible, share the gospel, counsel, and serve others for the glory of God. Too good to be true? Maybe for some, but what I speak of is chaplaincy in the U.S. Air Force Reserves (AFRC). My name is Ted Richard and I am one of the co-pastors at The Church at Blue Ridge in Greenville, SC, and I am also an Air Force chaplain in the 315th Airlift Wing (Charleston, SC). The Lord surprised me with this calling in 2017, when I learned of the shortage of chaplains in the AFRC, and that suicides amongst reservists were at an all-time high.
After spending the past year, completing the application process, I am convinced that this is an excellent option for planters and pastors with our theological convictions, shared leadership model, and sending culture. For example, chaplains in the AFRC are embedded with the airmen, as opposed to having a centralized chapel position, like those on the active duty side. This means that chaplains are expected to be out among the people, building relationships while spending time in their job locations, and learning how to best serve their spiritual and emotional needs with the gospel. I can already see how church planting has prepared me to be an AFRC chaplain, and how being a chaplain can make me a better pastor.
The good news is that you most likely have the qualifications and experience required to be accepted into the chaplaincy, which includes an M.Div. and ordination. The remaining qualification is simply an endorsement by a denominational organization, like the North American Mission Board (NAMB). The great thing about endorsement in the AFRC is that as a chaplain, you will never be asked to perform a function that violates your conscience or the statement of faith of your church or endorsing agency. If you are interested or have questions, please go to the website listed below or feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information: (https://afreserve.com/chaplain/divisions-of-service).