by 1LT Carolyn Martin, USA
It has been a struggle for me over the year and a half I have been a platoon leader.
The good Lord blessed me with great NCOs and soldiers, but there is not a single Christian in the group. The closest I got was a PSG who grew up in the church and turned his back on it because of its hypocrisy.
So began my self-questioning. How do you share the Gospel with your platoon without crossing some EO line or offending someone? How do you stand up for Christ without standing on someone’s foot? It is such a fine line to walk.
I started with the language issue. I simply made it clear that foul language and coarse joking were unacceptable around me. Folks still slip up, but they know to watch how they speak to others.
Then I focused on being a servant leader and letting my feet do the talking. I don’t waste my soldiers’ time. I pay attention to their problems. I train them hard and make sure they get time off (which is amazingly hard to do in the MP Corps today!). My safety briefs for the weekend include abstinence as the best option.
People know where I am on Sunday. I volunteer with the Chapel Youth program in my free time. I give God credit for good things that happen in my life and express faith in Him when things go downhill.
I make sure my life leaves no room for the “Sunday Christian” comment. I am always ready with an explanation of my faith, but no one asks, and I don’t push.
The Lord knows I am not perfect, and I am sure I am far from the “ideal standard” of Christian Leader Outreach, but that is the system I have slowly figured out during my platoon leader time. I suppose the best TTP is to get an accountability partner to keep you straight in servant leadership and personal lifestyle, but I have not been blessed with an accountability partner since West Point.
First Lieutenant Carolyn Martin is a platoon leader with 212th Military Police in Kitzingen, Germany. She spent nine months in Kosovo, and was a part of the OCF group.