A Place to Grow and Serve
The first Sunday after I arrived in RAF Upper Heyford, England, the Lord revealed to me that I should be a man of prayer. Specifically, He commanded me to pray for the people on the base and to pray for the chapel.
I asked the base chaplain about fellowship opportunities. He introduced me to Lieutenant Konrad Kern and Staff Sergeant Claudie Woolsey. They told me about a Bible study sponsored by OCF. Claudie said that the following Thursday he was going to have the first Christian Military Fellowship (CMF) Bible study at Upper Heyford.
I was immediately accepted into the family of believers. They encouraged me to get involved in chapel as well as CMF. Because of their encouragement, during the next three years I served as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, usher, and youth sponsor. I helped out wherever I could.
Since I was in the military, I felt that my church home should be the chapel. It became my desire to serve God through serving the chaplains. As a single, I found doors open for ministry to young single men and women.
Chaplains are always looking for volunteers. As I've supported them, I've found them to be very supportive of my programs.
During my three years in England, I met seven men from different denominations, experiences, and theological backgrounds. All of them loved God and preached Christ crucified. They all told of His love, condemned sin, and taught righteousness. I found that they were real people with gifts and needs like everyone else.
There were problems in the chapel, but there are always problems when people get together. What convinced me to stick it out was Jesus' high priestly prayer, in the seventeenth chapter of John. He prayed for all believers to be one, as He and the Father are one. He asked the Father to keep us in the world, but to protect us from the evil one. He prayed that we would love one another.
Without this chapel experience, I wouldn't have learned to love brothers and sisters from other denominations and experiences. I enjoyed rich fellowship with these people. As we studied together, we learned why each one believed the way he did.
Because we served in the chapel, we could witness to our peers who attended chapel but hadn't yet come to know the Lord Jesus. We made ourselves available and open for ministry to our companions and fellow workers in the military.
A chaplain who fails to teach biblical truth will be encouraged to listen to someone who loves and prays for him, someone who teaches one of his Sunday school classes, and is his friend. If these things do not move him, pray for him more.
We're linked with praying believers all over the world who are in the Armed Forces of the United States. Besides this, we're linked with similar fellowships in many other countries. The prayers of one righteous man avail much! Think of the power behind thousands of believers praying for your chapel and your chaplains!
We should be chapel Sunday school teachers to present sound biblical teaching to our children and other's children. By singing in or directing the chapel choir, we can influence the music produced in chapel. Chapel fund councils and parish councils are committees that need our voices. We can be greeters and ushers to show Christ's love with a handshake, a welcome, and a smile.
I know the power of prayer, for I saw it in action at my base in England. I saw God answer prayer for many people who were saved and for others who renewed past commitments that they'd made to the Lord. I also saw the chapel grow both spiritually and in numbers. I praise God for the Spirit-led chaplains who continued to arrive at my base, wanting to serve and minister Christ's message of love, salvation, and peace.
The chapel offers us a place to worship, to serve, and to enjoy Christian fellowship. It also is a vehicle through which God's people can make an impact for Christ in many lives. We should use this vehicle to its fullest potential.
Adapted from Command magazine 1982. At that time Greg Holm was a student at Rockmont College in Denver, Colorado, working at the CMF home office.