Outreach through Chaplaincy
Pastors Mark and Esther Butler are the pastors of Harvest Bible Church and have been in the ministry for 30 years. They are graduates of Rhema Bible Training Center, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. They were pastors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for 13 years before moving to Stockton, California, in 1994. Pastors Mark & Esther have two boys and one daughter Adam, Aaron, and Sarah.
Several years ago I was praying and I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart. He asked me a question? He said, "If Harvest Bible Church was gone would the community miss you or even notice you are gone?" I had to answer with probably not. And so began my quest to make a difference in my community and city. We looked for projects that we could involve our church and help out in.
I asked the Lord for a specific way I could personally get involved. It wasn't long after I was asked by a Presbyterian Pastor friend to become a Fire Chaplain for the city of Stockton CA. I really didn't feel qualified because I didn't know what would be expected of me. But I knew it was an open door and I asked so I was going to walk through it.
It has given me a great opportunity to be in the community with the firemen and to reach them with a spiritual influence that I didn't have before. My primary responsibility is to the firemen and whatever spiritual need they may have. I do a ride along at least once a month which means I go with them on their calls. (Yes I get to ride on the engine and the truck!)
Through this door God opened another door for me to become the Senior Fire Chaplain for another group which has opened doors for my whole County. Yes this takes time and energy and money but the fruit has been great and I am a voice to not only my community and the city but the County.
I just finished my National Fire Chaplain certification and it has helped give me a lot more influence. Being a Fire Chaplain may not be something you would be interested in but there is something you and your church can get involved with in your community that will speak to it louder than any sermon!
You and your church are gifts to your city so don't hide them! God has a plan and a purpose!
This scripture has helped to me to keep myself in focus to my calling. "I am glad to give you myself and all I have for your spiritual good, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me" (1 Corinthians 12:15, TLB).