Ministry to the Armed Forces
Since the Civil War, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod pastors have served as military chaplains. Today, the LCMS’ Ministry to the Armed Forces supports 173 chaplains. Among these chaplains, 70 are active duty LCMS chaplains and 80 are serving Reserve and National Guard units. Currently, one of these Reserve/Guard chaplains is mobilized in Bahrain. LCMS’ Ministry to the Armed Forces also supports 23 Civil Air Patrol chaplains.
Our active duty members usually work on a base or post, with a large support staff to care for their needs, such as financial counseling, baby-sitting, health care, etc. However, our reserve community and their families are often located large distances from those support structures. Our hope is that our LCMS congregations can reach out to these families, especially when their loved ones are deployed, and help care for many of their needs.
LCMS’ Ministry to the Armed Forces initiated Operation Barnabas in 2007 as a response to the ever-increasing needs of returning servicemen and women. The program’s goal is to equip and encourage LCMS congregations and their members, as well as local Operation Barnabas district counselors, for compassionate care and Gospel-sharing outreach to our military members, families and veterans.
Operation Barnabas is a network of care to our nation’s military members, families and veterans. We reach out to all branches of the military, with a special emphasis on our Reserve members and their families. You may ask: “Why is it called Operation Barnabas?” Barnabas was Paul’s companion, who helped him in his missionary journey. His name means “son of encouragement.” We hope to encourage our military and their families with the Gospel in action.
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Help our Lutheran servicemen and women stay spiritually strong by enrolling them in the Ministry-by-Mail program. The LCMS is the only denomination to support its members serving in the Armed Forces in such a direct way. Servicemen and women receive materials in an initial packet when their name is put into the program, then they regularly receive copies of Portals of Prayer. To add a member or update an address, call 800-248-1930, ext. 1337 or complete the online form.
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